Stoke City 2-0 Manchester United
In a week that hasn't exactly seen much Christmas spirit aimed towards Louis van Gaal no amount of mince pies and wine will be able to hold the critics from the door as once again United succumbed to defeat in the most demoralising and depressing fashion.
It was imperative that van Gaal stopped the rot and quickly. So, with that in mind, he chose a side that had the huge responsibility of possibly saving his job. The starting XI he went for was: De Gea, Young, Jones, Smalling, Blind, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, Mata, Memphis and Martial.
Van Gaal produced a surprise by dropping Rooney to the bench and bringing back Herrera. The move could be with one eye on the Chelsea match on Monday or just down to form. With Schweinsteiger serving the final match of his ban Carrick was preferred to continue in the middle ahead of Schneiderlin. Jones was chosen again to partner Smalling at the back with Young continuing his role as the right wing back.
Martial had the opportunity to keep his goal scoring on the rise as he would spearhead the attack with the support of Memphis and Mata.
It was a blustery Britannia Stadium that welcomed both sets of fans looking to blow off their Christmas day festivities and get right behind the two teams. The main concern for the away fans had to be the form of Stoke's mercurial player Shaqiri.
United got the game underway with Fellaini starting the match playing in the number 10 position with Herrera lying deeper in the midfield, which bearing in mind the conditions wouldn't suit any high balls up to the Belgian.
The hosts started the brighter of the two sides as United struggled to get into a rhythm. Once they did get some movement going it was Herrera, who had the first effort from distance that didn't really trouble the keeper.
It was clear from the outset that like most teams playing United this season Stoke were not afraid of a Red Devils team that was clearly short on confidence.
United were guilty of providing the opposition far too much time on the ball and the home side seemed to enjoy running at the visitors with Shaqiri especially in the mood against Blind on the right wing.
Memphis almost sneaked a curling free-kick past Butland at his near post in the 18th minute, then up at the other end within a minute the Dutch winger badly messed up a back header that was so awful it allowed Johnson to set up Bojan to put Stoke in the lead.
Manchester United Views is a Manchester United blog written by Miles Dunton, with lost of blog posts all about Manchester United. Check out his full blog at http://milesduntonmufc.blogspot.co.uk/.
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