United 1 - 1 Stoke
Valencia Bailly Smalling Blind
Lingard(Martial) Mata(Rooney) Rashford
What a poor result this is. We absolutely deserved a win but a series of fine saves by Stoke's goalie, some bad decisions by our strikers when in front of goal and the frame of Stoke's goal helped the Potters get an unmerited point. We just couldn't close the game off and then to make matters worse DDG dropped a clanger that led to Stoke's equaliser. You know its not your day when the excellent DDG makes a mistake.
I can't really complain much about the performance. I thought our players did very well but lacked the killer instinct. Some of the football played was beautiful and I agreed with Mourinho when he said that this was probably our best performance this season. We managed to carve out some great chances with some fine moves. Ibrahimovic should have opened the score after just two minutes but he opted for the near post when the far corner was a better option. Pogba missed an absolute sitter after some brilliant play by Ibra and Lingard. He also had a headed attempt hit the crossbar. Unlucky BUT, if I'm honest, I thought he should have done better there. I was not happy with his finishing but he had a decent game in the middle of the park.
The best performers from the starting XI were the players who were subbed off i.e. Lingard, Herrera and Mata. Lingard had a very good first half but faded out of the game during the second half. Very unlucky not to score a goal. Herrera was everywhere and Mata was the spark that made things happen in the final third.
DDG obviously disappointed me today and I was also a bit disappointed with Rashford. He made little contribution on the left but did look better on the right. Will definitely have better days.
The biggest plus of this game was Anthony Martial. He was put on the pitch to help us win the game and he almost did that. He showed the composure of a veteran when he scored the goal that put us in the lead. I wish our other more experienced players showed the same composure throughout the game. Anthony was a bit off so far this season so today's performance was definitely a big boost for Jose Mourinho. When Martial scored we looked like scoring another one but Stoke managed to draw level against the run of play. There were some moments during the game when Stoke looked better than us but they managed to score the leveller when we were absolutely on top of them. Oh well, football works in mysterious ways.
I don't think Mourinho could've done more today. When lady luck doesn't want to smile at you, there's not much you can do. It's all more frustrating when you you know that a win today would've put us just 3-points away from Manchester City after they lost against Spurs. After the dreaded international break, we've got the task of facing a high flying Liverpool side at Anfield. We simply have to win that game as we surely cannot let Pool get a 7 point advantage over us so early in the season. If I'm honest, I fear Klopp's Liverpool. They're playing some great football and look like scoring against anyone. Bailly and Smalling will have to be on top of their game in a fortnight. A win there and we'll be back on track. We've done well at Anfield recently. Come on United!