Stoke City 2-0 Manchester United: Van Gaal on the brink
- United without a win in 7 games
- Stoke now 3 points behind United
- 3-straight PL defeats for United
Stoke City beat Manchester United 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday as Louis van Gaal’s Boxing Day was a miserable one.
First half goals from Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic did the damage as Stoke have now beaten Chelsea, Manchester City and now United at home this season.
Mark Hughes’ side move on to 26 points with the win, while United remain on 29 points and are in a monumental rut having now lost four games in a row in all competitions for the first time in a season since 1961.
Van Gaal is in real danger of losing his job with United’s directors reportedly telling him to win at least two of their three festive fixtures to survive being sacked. Well, United and LVG have lost the opening two.
[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]
Stoke looked composed and dangerous on the break early on with Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri making plenty of runs in-behind United’s defense at a blustery Britannia Stadium. The away side had a few chances but it was Stoke who raced into an early 2-0 lead to pile the pressure on Van Gaal.
First a lovely dinked ball from U.S. international Geoff Cameron found Glen Johnson in-behind Memphis and as the United attacker tried to head back to David de Gea he got it all wrong to let in Johnson who squared the ball to Bojan to make it 1-0.
[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]
Inside 25 minutes it was 2-0 as a foul on the edge of the box saw Bojan line up a free kick. His effort smashed into the wall but the rebound fell to Arnautovic 25-yards out and the Austrian sent a missile into the net as the Britannia went wild. 2-0 to Stoke as Van Gaal and his coaching staff sunk into their seats.
A free kick from Memphis was parried out to the crowd of players in the box and Fellaini’s follow-up went straight at Jack Butland with the goal gaping. Arnautovic was clean though in the 35th minute after a great ball from Bojan but he smashed his effort just wide as Stoke threatened to run away with things in the first half.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Wayne Rooney came on at half time to try and rescue the situation and United improved with Ashley Young whipping in a great cross that just missed everyone.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
Butland drilled a long punt forward which set Arnautovic free but the Austrian fell over the ball when bearing down one-on-one with United’s last man and they were almost made to pay for that miss.
After that Rooney turned inside the box and sent a superb cut-back to Fellaini six-yards out but Butland made a terrific reaction stop from the Belgian’s effort and Stoke remained 2-0 up and threatened on the counter in the closing stages.
Butland agains saved well from Anthony Martial and Juan Mata late on but Stoke easily held on for yet another impressive home victory to hammer another nail in LVG’s managerial coffin.