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Brilliant Pogba, Average Mata – The best and the worst rated Manchester United players vs Stoke

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Final Score: Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City

A goal apiece from Antonio Valencia, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku continued Manchester United’s fine form in 2018, as the Devils defeated Stoke with something very less to defend.

United were always the dominant side since the first whistle and the return of Antonio Valencia proved to be the final icing. It all started with the Ecuador international scoring with a peach of a finish before Anthony Martial made it two with a finish of the highest order.

Striker Romelu Lukaku eventually hammered the final nail in Stoke’s coffin with a low drive into the bottom corner and with that being done, United now see themselves three points clear of the third and fourth placed teams in the table – Chelsea and Liverpool respectively. Also, with City finally being beaten, the difference between United and City is down to 12 points. There’s still a long way to go, but positives are always there.

Having said that, here we take a look at how Manchester United players fared on a rainy night at Old Trafford.

Manchester United Player Ratings

David de Gea 7/10

Had a nervy start to the game as his first attempt at catching the ball was parried by Crouch and it almost ended into the net. However, made a brilliant save from Shaqiri’s drive from right at the edge of the area, while in the other half, denied Mame Biram Diouf as well.

Antonio Valencia 7.5/10

Opened the scoring in as early as the 9th minute with a brilliant left-footed drive. Making his first appearance after mid-December, Valencia seemed tireless throughout, making constant runs into Stoke City’s half. He never shied away from doing his defensive duties as well.

Phil Jones 7/10

Another great performance from Jones. He hardly had any nervy moment, with his only heroic highlight coming in as a block from a goal-bound attempt from Choupo-Moting.

Chris Smalling 6.5/10 

Was given the task of keeping Peter Crouch away from goal. Had a couple of nervy moments but never really allowed the towering attacker to grow into the game. A solid performance, yet he somehow seemed like the weakest link in United’s defence.

Luke Shaw 7/10

Had troubles dealing with Bauer and Shaqiri’s runs initially, but the duo failed to test his resilience as the English international upped his game as time progressed.

Nemanja Matic 7.5/10

Matic was always going to be a tricky customer for Stoke and the Serbian duly delivered what was promised. He was at the heart of United’s defence and it was his agility which cut down Jones and Smalling’s task. He’s like that silent guardian who does his job and no one bats an eye.

Paul Pogba 8.5/10

Safe to say Paul Pogba was the anchor of everything positive Manchester United did on the evening. Be it his long diagonal exchanges or his short one-two, the Frenchman was in red-hot form and was untouchable throughout the game.

Two assists on the night and a man of the match performance sums up how reliant United are on Pogba.

Juan Mata 6.5/10 

Was deployed on the wings but was a constant menace for Stoke’s defence. Didn’t do anything wrong for the entirety of the game apart from missing a couple of glorious opportunities right in front of the goal. The Spaniard almost added a third but his goal was rightly ruled offside. The rating could have easily been more had he had converted the chances he received.

Jesse Lingard 6.5/10

Manchester United’s December Player of the month, Lingard had a rather quiet night. Much was expected of the Englishman and although he didn’t disappoint, he wasn’t at the top level either.

Anthony Martial 7.5/10 

Martial scored United’s second with a peach of a finish. Came close to adding another, only to be denied by Jack Butland’s quick reaction save. The Frenchman was undoubtedly United’s most pacey outlet and he indeed delivered what was promised.

Romelu Lukaku 7/10

Finally the Belgian got on to the score sheet with a well-worked goal. Besides, he combined well with the likes of Pogba, Lingard and Martial. Was booked for going head to head with Bruno Martins Indi after being on the receiving end of a foul in the second period. Safe to say his team game has improved a lot.


Marouane Fellaini N/A 

Came on to replace Jesse Lingard in the final 10 minutes.

Marcus Rashford N/A

Replacing Martial in the final 10 minutes, Rashford had one brilliant chance to make it four but somehow spurned it.

Scott McTominay N/A

Replaced Mata in the final moments. It is good to see McTominay receive some first-team action.