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Manchester United left frustrated by Stoke

Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke City in the Premier League today at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho’s side were unchanged from the 4-1 win over Leicester City last weekend, meaning Wayne Rooney remained on the bench.

Stoke’s record at the home of the Red Devils has been awful, not securing even a point there since 1980. And Mark Hughes came into this game against his former club looking for a positive performance to ease the pressure he is feeling this season.

And he will be encouraged by the fact that despite being dominated in terms of possession, they were able to frustrate their hosts and come away with a point.

As a mark of respect, players from both teams wore black armbands to mark the passing of David Herd, who represented both sides between 1961 and 1970, making a total of 246 league appearances for both clubs.

United started the game brightly, Paul Pogba releasing Zlatan Ibrahimovic inside the first minute, the Swede’s shot stopped by Lee Grant, who had an impressive afternoon between the posts for Stoke.

Geoff Cameron produced a couple of efforts for the visitors. denied on both occasions by David De Gea. Paul Pogba then shot wide, before heading wide from Daley Blind’s corner.

Grant continued to keep out the hosts, saving well from Jesse Lingard, before tipping over an effort from Juan Mata.

Stoke were able to start the second half better than the first, with Bruno Martins Indi’s header from Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick tipped over by De Gea. The effort, however, would not have counted if it had found the net, as the offside flag was up.

Pogba, finally starting to show some of the form that persuaded United to part with a world-record transfer fee for him, and Mata were denied by Grant again, before Ander Herrera shot inches wide.

Rooney, along with Anthony Martial, came on for Lingard and Mata. And it was Frenchman Martial who finally provided the breakthrough to put United in front with a fine effort.

Blind then nearly doubled the lead, collecting Marcus Rashford’s pull-back but the shot was blocked by Martins Indi.

Glen Johnson’s deflected shot was kept out by De Gea but substitute Jon Walters kept it alive and his shot looped up off Eric Bailly onto the crossbar, allowing Allen a chance he couldn’t miss, and Stoke were level.

Late on, Grant denied Ibrahimovic once again, before Pogba headed against the post, as United failed to win a fourth straight win.

 

By Steve Osborne             @BlizzardSteve75

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