A Disappointing Show From Rashford – Manchester United Player Ratings Against Stoke City

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Following a run of three wins in three different competitions, Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by a resilient Stoke City side at Old Trafford in Sunday’s early kick-off in the Premier League. The narrative to this contest was quite different though.

Thursday’s 1-0 win over Zorya Luhansk at the same venue was a performance reminiscent of Louis van Gaal’s ill-fated tenure at the club. That evening, United’s movement was slow, laboured and devoid of precision. However, those undesirable qualities were banished as quickly as the third minute when Zlatan Ibrahimović had the goal at his mercy, following a neat build-up involving Paul Pogba. Instead of bending his shot towards the far post, the Swedish striker struck the ball too close to goalkeeper Lee Grant, thereby allowing the 33-year-old to repel it.

From that point onwards, it was a one way traffic as Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard all came close to breaking the deadlock, only for Stoke’s inspired shot-stopper to thwart them each time. It was a largely frustrating half for United as they felt they should have had a healthy lead heading into the interval.

Stoke grew in confidence in the second half and as the game wore on, fancied an opportunity or two. Once again, the duo of Allen and Shaqiri proved dangerous and one particular move saw Stoke leave United’s backline at sixes and sevens. As had been the case in the first half though, the shot, taken by Allen, did not trouble De Gea.

20 minutes into the half, Mourinho had seen enough and made a double change, replacing Mata and Lingard with Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial. It reaped instant rewards as Martial orchestrated a move down the left and after a deflected clearance in the box, he curled a superb strike past Grant. It was the least the hosts deserved for their efforts and the Old Trafford faithful expected them to spur on thereafter.

Stoke were not to be denied though. Right-back Glen Johnson tested De Gea with a shot from distance. The Spaniard uncharacteristically spilled the strike and the resulting move saw Allen bundle the ball over the line to stun the home supporters. Pogba came close to winning it for his side in the dying moments of the game but Stoke held on for a precious point, their first at this ground since 1980.

Here is how the Red Devils fared on a frustrating afternoon at Old Trafford:

1. David de Gea (5/10):

Made routine saves from Cameron and Allen in either half but spilled Johnson’s shot which led to Stoke’s equalizer. A rare mistake by United’s No. 1 that cost his team dearly.

2. Antonio Valencia (6/10):

Picked up a booking for an unnecessary challenge on Eric Pieters and was caught out of position on an instance. Improved in the second half.

3. Eric Bailly (7/10):

Put on a solid display and made strong challenges. Showed great awareness on certain occasions.

Bailly

4. Chris Smalling (7/10):

Nullified the threat of Wilfried Bony although he struggled to cope with Allen and Shaqiri’s movement at times.

5. Daley Blind (6/10):

Put on a good shift at left-back and was thoroughly tested by Shaqiri. His ill-judged clearance from a comfortable position proved to be the catalyst to Stoke’s equalizer though.

6. Ander Herrera (6/10):

Was largely influential in the first half, with as many as 72 touches. Played the role of a quarterback and distributed the ball evenly and quickly. Could have seen red for a malicious challenge on Allen in the second half.

7. Paul Pogba (6/10):

Looked more dynamic with Herrera shielding the back-four but wasted three good opportunities to score. Ought to do better in that department.

8. Juan Mata (6/10):

Played an important role in the first half by linking up with Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Herrera effectively. Almost scored from a sublime chip over Grant’s head. His influence waned in the second half, though, and was ultimately substituted for Wayne Rooney.

9. Jesse Lingard (6/10):

Lingard

Felt aggrieved not to have scored in the first half from an Ibrahimovic pass. Made darting runs past Pieters although Mourinho opted to bring on Martial in his place shortly after the hour mark.

10. Marcus Rashford (5/10):

Had a poor game. Made plenty of wrong decisions in possession and failed more often than not while taking on his counterpart. His only bright moment came in the form of a cross that was smacked on to the crossbar by Pogba late into the game.

11. Zlatan Ibrahimović (6/10):

Ought to have scored with his first chance of the game. Worked tirelessly by dropping deep and allowing the likes of Pogba and Mata to make strides forward. Had a shot glance just wide of the far post in the second half. In short, just not his day.

Substitutes:

1. Wayne Rooney (6/10):

Got into good positions in higher areas of the pitch and played an indirect role in Martial’s goal. Still, leaves a lot to be desired.

anthony-martial-united_3799348

2. Anthony Martial (7/10):

Made an instant impact by running at defenders and scoring a sublime goal. Drove at Glen Johnson and drew a foul, although United couldn’t capitalize on that.

3. Memphis Depay (5/10):

Looked way off the pace with the ball at his feet. Needs regular game time to make a desired impact.