So thanks for your company - night-night.
- 2nd Half
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
Manchester United - Stoke City
Premier League - 15 January 2018
Premier League – Follow the Football match between Manchester United and Stoke City live with Eurosport. The match starts at 21:00 on 15 January 2018. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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So United move back clear in second place thanks to three lovely goals and some decent football too. But Stoke played well in the first half and with better finishing would've made things interesting; they have more than enough to stay up.
Full-time: Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City
Pogba whips it over the bar.
Pogba slips a pass into the path of McTominay, who takes it into his stride and moves it away from Martins Indi who brings him down. Free-kick United, on the edge of the D and dead centre...
There shall be two added minutes.
But he appears again on the left and drags down the side of Bauer, opening his body to guide a nutmeg at goal, but it doesn't have the power to trouble Butland.
Lukaku looks deep and clips a fine pass into the box seeking Pogba's run; Martins Indi does well to flick the ball behind, after which Rashford wastes the corner.
Danny Higginbotham gives Pogba man of the match. Can't be arguing with that; he is a bit special.
Oh wow! Shakqiri clips a ball into the middle, which Diouf controls really well on his chest, escaping Smalling. As it drops, he lashes a shot that De Gea foots back to him, and somehow, with Ireland in the middle waiting for a pass and the keeper on the floor, he drags a miserable effort into the near post side-netting.
Lovely from Pogba, gliding into space and slotting a ball into space for Valencia. His cross is decent, for Rashford at the near post, but he has to back-flick it like Lingard did against Burnley. But he can't get the angle to send it into the far corner, allowing Butland to save.
Incidentally, I'm not judging McTominay, but as yet it's not easy to see what it is that makes him a prospect at this level.
Final change for United: McTominay replaces Mata.
Pogba turns up on the right and chucks some lollipops before finding mata; his cross is blocked behind by Allen, and the corner comes to nowt.
Fellaini and Rashford replace Lingard and Martial. Rashford has still played in every game this season, the only United player of whom that is so.
United are messing about now, looking to score a third but also looking to show off. Pogba crosses, Mata and Lukaku wave feet at it, and the ball hits the far post.
Yes, it does rather look that way.
Mourinho should get Matic, Pogba and Martial off - those are the players he can least afford to lose.
There's a loud hissing noise emanating from my screen - it must be absolutely caning it down with hail.
GOAL! Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City (Lukaku) Pogba does excellently to nick possession, setting Lingard off with a gentle touch. He carries the ball deep into the Stoke half before spreading left to Martial, who pings one at Lukaku, which is killed very well, allowing him to hold off Wimmer like a rag doll before spanking a low shot past Butland at the near post. He's earned that, he's played well tonight and done plenty of good work outside the box.
Off goes Crouch, on comes the boy Mame Diouf, as Alex Ferguson used to call him.
Sobhi gathers possession on the left, moves inside, makes an angle, and lashes over the top.
Ireland is late on Mata, for which he is booked.
Jones brings the ball out very nicely and finds Lukaku, so Martins Indi goes through him, as you would. Lukaku doesn't like it, and ends up getting booked for pushing and arguing.
United are getting closer, Lukaku turning up on the right to whack a cross-shot goalwards; Butland palms out, Lingard shoots, and Mata arrives to pirouette a finish but is well offside.
It's now hailing at Old Trafford, as Shaw goes down the left and crosses for Lingard, who does really well to hold off Allen and up for Mata, who arrives in good time only to smash over. A third goal is imminent.
Lingard, who seems to be leading the press, leaves one in on Fletcher and is booked for his trouble.
Again United should score again, excellent pressure from Lingard down the left forcing a mistake from Zouma. So Lukaku bursts goalwards and squares to Lingard who's run around the back of him. He might shoot but instead feeds Mata, shaping to curl inside the far corner, only to send the effort just wide.
Change for Stoke:Sobhi replaces Choupo-Moting/
Shaw slides a pass into space for Pogba and his low cross is a very good one, collected by Martial. His first effort is blocked by Wimmer, and somehow his second ends up in sprawling body of Butland.
Martial has the ball at inside-left and with space opening up he drives into the box before finding Mata on the left. His cross is a good one but just misses Lukaku, so Pogba retrieves the ball and has a shot deflected behind. The corner comes to nothing.
Pogba insters himself between ball and Crouch, moving it between his legs very nicely, so Crouch tugs his shorts. Sadly, they stay up.
A quiet period.
Pogba chips to Lukaku's chest, but looking to play the return, he kicks the ball against himself, so swivels and thunks a strong shot straight at Butland.
"Paul Lambert's Stoke army" chant the away end, looking to get behind a new manager I doubt any of them anticipated. Can the players respond?
Bauer fouls Lingard, so United have a free-kick which goes short to Martial; his cross is headed away firmly by Zouma.
Zouma brings the ball out of defence, but when he squares to Ireland, Pogba pounces and slides Martial in. Butland is out well, though, and smothers the eventuating shot.
A hairy moment for United, as Chris Smalling finds himself having to bring the ball out of defence. He turns this way and that, before passing sideways.
Change for Stoke: Wimmer replaces Tymon.
The players are back with us. Apparently, Manchester City have ended their interest in Alexis Sanchez, but Chelsea have initiated theirs.
When I say trademark finish....
that was a fairly entertaining first half. Stoke have come to play, and created four decent chances - more than United. But United have scored two brilliant goals and the brilliant Paul Pogba has been brilliant, so they're set to move clear of Liverpool and Chelsea in second place.
Half-time: Manchester United 2-0 Stoke City
On the stroke of half-time, Shaqiri, in the middle and just outside the box, beautifully controls a pass from Bauer, killing it. pulling it down and setting it at his feet. He then sends Jones for a bag of chips, feinting one way and turning the other to open a route to goal ... but he doesn't get the power or elevation that would have beaten De Gea, who saves very well indeed.
There'll be one added minute.
Stoke win a free-kick 40 yards out, sent into the box, and Martins Indi is there for it, but only guide his header wide.
Pogba is bossing this game at the moment. Stoke don't know whether to get close to him, and risk the gaps being exploited, or try and defend whatever he creates. It's not much of a choice.
Martial crosses to the back post, and Lukaku; he climbs and leans well, arching his back to knock down, but Lingard, arriving close to him, has overrun the play.
United's attackers are interchanging really nicely, and Martial turns up on the right before poking a pss into Lukaku ... but, er, well, um, but, his touch lets him down.
Stoke have played pretty well tonight. It's just that United have is much attacking quality that if you don't take your chances, the likelihood is that they will.
WHAT A GOAL! Manchester United 2-0 Stoke City (Martial) Tymon overruns the ball and is robbed by Valencia, close to halfway He then finds Lukaku down the line, and he holds up really well before laying back for Pogba, who rolls the ball under his studs before squaring across the edge of the box at the perfect pace for Martial to rrrrrrasp a signature sidefooter past Butland. What a finish that was!
Allen wins the ball and spreads well for Shaqiri as Shaw huffs and puffs trying to catch him. But with no options in the middle, Shaqiri can only try a hopeful cross, which De Gea collects.
Fantastic pass from the fantastic Pogba, swiped crossfield with his left foot to Shaw, almost on the by-lie. He has a look and clips back for Martial, whose shot is blocked behind. The corner comes to nothing.
Unbelievable skill - I mean "power" - from Pogba, incredible feet losing men in midfield despite being fouled. United take strength from it, and Mata nips a pass into Valencia, who backheels him a return. Martins Indi comes into tackle so Mata drags the ball outside him and collapses, perhaps slipping, perhaps anticipating contact, as they like to say. The ref says no penalty. as does Mata once he gets up.
Lingard, who is lankier than he looks, stretches into a break but his pass to Lukaku, pulling right, gives his man a lot of work to do. He moves the ball back inside, but United can't make anything of it.
This game is not unlike the one United played against Bournemouth - they got ahead but weren't good enough to go on and gave their opponents plenty of chances to equalise.
Lukaku has been quiet of late, so he appears on the right to bustle down the line before curling a fine ball into the middle which Martins-Indi has to head behind. The corner is half-cleared, after which Shaw tries a hopeful volley from 30 yards. He catches it reasonably, though nowhere near well enough to trouble Butland.
The block from Jones was every bit as good and important as De Gea's very best saves.
Ireland nicks the ball off Pogba, sneaking up from behind, so when he gets the ball back, Pogba boots him in front of the ref. Free-kick Stoke, 35 yards out, and Shaqiri takes it too quickly. Stoke, though, keep United pinned, and when Bauer crosses, De Gea finds himself pinned by Crouch on the far post and can only fumble into the middle. It looks for all the world like Choupo-Moting will score, but Jones flings himself into a terrific block to concede a corner. It's wasted.
Stephen Ireland hasn't lost the knack of finding space in the box. Bauer, who's been impressive, moseys down the right and Martial doesn't track back so Shaw has to come to him. He then moves the ball into Shaqiri, who pokes into the path of the arriving Ireland, who kind of sits down into a shot, sending it only just wide. Nice from stoke, who don't look like a side struggling for form and confidence.
"Could be the power of Pogba or the guile of Mata...", considers Alan Parry,playing spot the difference. Dearie me. Anyway, Mata curls his effort into the wall and Stoke clear. For those watching in black and white, Paul Pogba has plenty of guile.
Nice from Pogba, now on the right and moving across the face of the box. He finds Lingard, whom Allen fouls, so it's a free-kick to United, 20 yards out, right of centre...
Antonio Valencia has scored two belters this season, and Paul Pogba has two assists for rolling him square passes before them.
Poor from United, allowing Bauer to pick out Ireland in the box; no one is marking. But he can't quite get the ball out of his feet, so gently outswings a right-footed shot wide. A waste.
Mark Hughes, back in the day, had back. Nowadays Vincent Janssen is talented, so too Toby Alberweireld and Moussa Dembele. I'm not sure what this says about Mauricio Pochettino.
Fletcher drives a ball from centre to right, trying to pick out the run of Bauer ahead of him. But it's just too strong, and the pass runs into touch.
Nice from Stoke, Fletcher curling a cross towards the backpost, and Shaqiri meets it well with an overhead kick. But De Gea has plenty of time to see it coming getting behind it with a dive by his near post.
WHAT A GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Stoke City (Valencia) NOW I HAVE SEEN IT ALL! ANTONIO VALENCIA SCORES A HOWTIZER WITH HIS LEFT FOOT! United actually work the ball really well, Pogba picking up possession on the left, handing off Ireland as he makes his way infield before spreading beautifully with the outside of his foot. Valencia then came inside Tymon, presumably assuming his goal to be safe, only for the unelash of a curling, rising, screeching brute to be uncorked, flying past Butland.
United work the ball out to Mata, to comes back inside and curls a cross towards Martial, crossing the box from the left. Bauer has arms all over him, so once he's sure that he's not getting the ball, he dives. The ref reckons it's not a penalty, and fair enough, but applying the letter of the law it probably was.
Last season, this fixture was a draw, though in it United played some of their best football of the season. But their finishing was miserable, and it cost them.
Nice from United, Pogba skipping a ball towards Lukaku at inside-left. He lays off to Martial, inside the box, who crosses low, but a phalanx of defenders cut it off and Stoke clear.
Pogba strides through the middle of midfield - he doesn't look to be towards the left - finds Lukaku, who finds Lingard. Shaqiri brings him down, but United make nothing of the free-kick.
The 18-year-old Josh Tymon gets an early touch, and then Valencia lumps the ball forward at no one.
"This is the Premier League, where anything can happen," says Alan Parry. He's only missing an "and usually does". Off we go!
Here come the players! Valencia has had the armband back off Pogba - I've not a scooby why.
The rain is properly going for it. Paul Lambert is peering through it like a jilted lover in Corrie.
Sky reckon United will play 4-2-3-1, and if that's so, it's not only Martial who's being moved after playing well, but also Paul Pogba, who was superb against Everton in an advanced role on the left. Perhaps Mourinho will play a V in midfield, with Matic at its apex, and Lingard and Pogba it's two points. Or perhaps four defenders plus Matic are deemed more than enough to cope with Stoke.
Jose Mourinho manages to get out of his pre-match interview saying very little. His verdict on yesterday's game: "a good resukt for Liverpool, a bad result for Manchester City".
Meanwhile, United's left-back is Luke Shaw, starting his fourth straight game for the first time in his United career. He really should be their first choice for the next generation, but needs to take advantage of this oportunity.
Oh, whoops - in the team discussion, I forgot to note that Stephen Ireland - Stephen Ireland! - starts for Stoke! For the first time since May 2016!
Gary Neville is talking about playing against Guardiola's Barcelona thinking "you've gotta be able to get at Pique, he can't run, and Mascherano isn't a defender." Except the possession was such that you couldn't.
I doubt, though, if City can pull off a similar trick against quality opposition. In the league, for sure - we've seen it. But good as Fernandinho, De Bruyne and Silva are, they're not close to being as good as Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta were, nor do they have the threat of Messi. Which isn't to say they can't win the European Cup, they can; but they'll have to take a few shots to do so.
Mazal tov to Red News on 250 issues. A phenomenal achievement over 30 years.
it's raining in Manchester. Cue hilarious jokes.
An absolute hero of the game.
This is a shame, in a way - Mkhitaryan is a talent. The problem, though, is that he is also feeble, only good when the going's good and apparently incapable of putting in a shift. So when not on his game, he is useless, and as such, it would be no great surprise to see him emerge at Arsenal.
Niedzwiecki tells us that Paul Lambert, Stoke's new manager, popped in for a brief chat with the players before the match, but isn't otherwise involved in the game.
Meanwhile, Eddie Niedzwiecki, Stoke's caretaker manager, has prepared himself "mentally and physically" for tonight; I doubt he'll be needed in net, though. He gives a debut to new singing, Moritz Bauer, who has arrived from Kazan, while Bruno Martins-INdi is pressed into service after weeks out because Ryan Shawcross is injured. At left-back, Tymon plays because Pieters is injured.
Oh, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan isn't in the 16, deemed not to be in the correct frame of mind.
So let's take a closer look. For United, Martial passes a fitness test so starts, but despite his excellent performance at centre-forward against Everton, he's back out wide and Romelu Lukaku is back in. Elsewhere, Antonio Valencia is back after a month out, while Jones and Smalling at the centre-backs.
Evening all, and welcome to Manchester United v Stoke City!