Jose Mourinho had decided to make three changes to the United side that had beaten Everton 2-0 two weeks ago, with Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku returning to the starting line-up to replace Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo and Ander Herrera. Meanwhile, Stoke caretaker manager Eddie Niedzwiecki had made five alterations to the team that featured in their last league outing, with the most notable inclusions being new signing Moritz Bauer and midfielder Stephen Ireland, who was set to make his first Premier League start since April 2015. Niedzwiecki had also handed places to Josh Tymon, Darren Fletcher and the recently returned Bruno Martins Indi, with Tom Edwards, Erik Pieters, Kevin Wimmer, Geoff Cameron and Charlie Adam all making way.
Here are the talking points of the match :
1.An Early Lead For United :
Paul Pogba cut inside from the left channel and managed to carve out a pocket of space for himself before poking a pass over to Valencia. The full-back had beaten Josh Tymon and then unleashed a curling shot from the edge of the box, sending the ball screaming past Jack Butland and into the top left-hand corner of the net.
- United Doubled The Lead Before The Half Time :
Tymon lose out out wide as he tried to push forward, allowing United to quickly hit the visitors on the counter. Pogba cut inside from the right wing and poked a pass over to Martial, who immediately curled a beautiful strike straight into the top right-hand corner of the net from 25 yards out.
- Lukaku Sealed The Win With A Brilliant Strike :
A poor pass from Shaqiri could only find Pogba, and the home side were quickly able to burst forward on a counter-attack. Martial linked up well with Lingard before firing a low cross into the path of Lukaku, who had his back to goal. He easily out-muscles both Wimmer and Martins Indi before blasting a rocket of a shot straight into the bottom corner of the net.
- Man Of The Match- Anthony Martial :
It had been a very positive evening for Martial, who had constantly caused problems inside the final third of the pitch. However, Stoke caused problems for themselves once again, as they were sloppy in possession and then were made to pay for poor defending. Anthony Martial’s goal and the assist was pivotal for the win of United.
- Vital 3 Points For United In The Premier League :
In the end, it was a comfortable evening for United, who had few problems breaking down a Stoke side that have struggled defensively all season. That was the case again tonight, as the Potters could do little about two brilliant, long-range strikes from Valencia and Martial before Lukaku returned to goalscoring form with an excellent finish in the 72nd minute. Stoke carved out a few decent chances in the first half but were on the back foot for the entirely of the second, resulting in a defeat that keeps them inside the bottom three.
With that win United kept their second position in the League Table 3 Points ahead of third placed Liverpool side.