A superb performance by Stoke made United look like amateurs. Here’s how it unfolded:…
If foreign players want to know what the Premier League is like, then a Boxing Day 12.45 kickoff requires FLOODLIGHTS! ALL of them. Gloomy but barmy – and that’s not just the United manager, Louis Van Gaal, it’s also the weather forecast. He’s under pressure. He needs a win. Now!
Mark Hughes hinted strongly that Geoff Cameron would not be fit, and so of course he returns to an otherwise unchanged bunch of maniacs, the same 11 who started against the other Manchester side. Stoke wiped them out, can they do the same against United. A United with Rooney only on the bench!
0.28 Handball by Mata in Stoke penalty area. United’s black kit with orange strips on shoulder is quite pleasant
2.50 Attacking Stoke win a corner, and typically waste it (see Palace report).
4.30 Bojan blasts over, but more significantly Shaqiri moans at him, & they seem to be falling out.
6.25 De Gea struggling to take goalkick due to wind (not turkey, gale-force)
12.02 Just noticed the white smear round the bottom trim of the United shorts. Looks like Christmas cake icing is running down their legs.
14.02 Blind gets ball in face, and takes it out on Shaqiri, who is running rings around him.
18.47 1-0, Bojan scores from cross from Johnson! Johnson dispossesses hapless Depay who tries to head the ball back to the keeper in comic fashion.
19.43 The sun comes out! Omg!
19.58 “Sacked in the morning!” reverberates round Brit.
25.07 2-0 Arnie hits a rocket with his RIGHT foot to the top left side of net. The Brit thunders, and United fans look sick!
25.25 Whelan is standing screaming at his team mates in the opposition half of the centre circle stopping United kicking off, as Stoke players continue to celebrate.
26.12 The sun comes out again! What is going on!??
28.02 Fellaini misses a sitter, it clips harmlessly into Butlands gloves.
33.05 Martial dives beside Shawcross, ref not fooled, crowd sing “That’s just embarrassing!”
35.04 Arnie breaks free, but just misses, raising his arms to the heavens.
39.52 Martial does something really dumb, tries to hit a volley in this wind. Meanwhile, Arnie is treated for a bang on his “man-bun”, something I never thought I’d hear myself saying.
45.+0.56 Mark Hughes erect on touchline with look of a guy making a point to United board: “You should’ve hired me!”
45.+1.45 Blind falls over! You gotta laugh. Yep, we did.
Half time 2-0 to Stoke.
48.09 Attendance announced as 27,426, 2555 poor sad United supporters. Bojan is booked for diving, but he just lost his balance, jumped up immediately & didn’t even appeal! Duh!
49.15 Stoke City Tweet to complain about the Referee’s consistency, decision making that is, not that he’s made up of over 80% water
54.20 Rooney, who is on for Depay, could be going off again if he upsets the ref anymore.
55.40 How much did Mata cost? Can’t control the ball in a gale?? How much does he earn?
57.41 Ashley Young, playing right back(?) finally does something good, beating his man & crossing…but it’s offside. Stoke fans pass verdict on United, true but unrepeatable
58.00 Arnie falls over the ball with one player to beat! We can forgive him. Martial crumples in a heap after being blocked by Van Ginkel (on for Whelan).
63.17 Butland saves impossibly from Fellaini point blank shot! Amazing! Diouf on for Shaqiri.
71.55 Ashley Young almost caps his awful performance with an own goal under pressure from Arnie, but De Gea saves his bacon. Young then falls over under pressure from Erik! Adam comes on for Cameron.
76.55 Stunning attacking football from Stoke against the worst United display in generations.
83.20 Adam tries chipping keeper from halfway line! Typical.
84.20 Butland saves dramatically to his left. United haven’t lost on Boxing Day for 18 years…oops.
87.23 Shawcross’ tackling against these top players is sublime. Bojan gets man of match from sponsors, but it could be any of the Stoke players.
90+0.30 Van Gaal looks sick on bench, quickly glances at watch. Stoke fans called for Jose Mourinho! Naughty!
90+3 2-0. It’s all over, and Stoke really have blown away an awful United side by 2-0, but it could easily have been 5 or 6! Who’d have thought this day would ever arrive?