Manchester United continued their winning streak to three wins in three, adding to the tally a fourth consecutive clean sheet in a 3-0 win against the troubled Stoke City side. Goals came Antonio Valencia, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku, to claim their 15th league win of the season.
It was a good, composed win from the Reds in front of their fans, the way matches against weaker Premier League sides should be won. There were not many problems in containing Stoke, while offensively United looked very good. Martial’s first half strike was a thing of beauty, while Lukaku’s score-sealing goal will be good for his confidence.
Paul Pogba Dominating In Style
This was one of those vintage Paul Pogba performances. The Frenchman shined throughout the match, collecting two assists in the process. This was his third Premier League match of the season in which he made a brace of assists and he is the only player to do such thing so far. Pogba controlled the match almost on his own, driving his team forward and making things happen in the final third.
Alongside two assists, United’s number six also created another four chances for his team-mates. He had the most touches of all the players (96) and his long balls changed the rhythm of play. Pogba completed eight of ten of long balls, which only goes to show how much impeccable he looked this Monday night.
He is now on 10 Premier League assists this season while playing only 13 matches. There are 15 more until the season ends and Pogba might even challenge for league’s all-time single season record.
Antonio Valencia Back With A Bang
It was good seeing Antonio Valencia back in the starting lineup on its own, but when he opened the scoring just nine minutes into the match, it was almost too good. The Ecuadorian’s final Premier League match before getting injured was the 2-1 win away at West Bromwich Albion, after which he was forced to miss the festive period. He was not in matchday squads in loss against Bristol City and consecutive draws against Leicester, Burnley and Southampton.
Finally, Manchester United won their matches against Everton and Derby, making sure his absence was not so bleak. Valencia had a very good even without the goal he scored. He was as commanding and attacking-minded as always, making the most out of Josh Tymon’s poor first half at left-back.
Stoke’s Troubles Continue
Things are not looking well for Stoke City at the moment. They are sitting in 18th, with one point less than the first team above the relegation zone (Southampton with 21 points). While that might not sound too bad, especially since eleventh placed West Ham are just five points ahead of them.
Yet, this was their 13th loss of the season and now only bottom-placed Swansea have lost more matches. With three goals conceded at Old Trafford, their goals conceded column now reads 50, by far the worst record in top five European leagues. At this rate, they will pass the mark of 80 goals conceded, but if there is anything positive in that it is that Swansea stayed up last season after conceding 80 goals.
Paul Lambert was announced on Monday as their new manager and a lot of work is ahead of him.