Premier League
Man UtdManchester United2StokeStoke City1

Manchester United 2-1 Stoke City

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport
Marcos Rojo
United defender Marcos Rojo claimed he flicked in Juan Mata's free-kick for the winner
  • Home side earn fourth straight victory
  • Stoke suffer third consecutive defeat
  • Ex-United man Diouf nearly nicks late point
  • Injured United skipper Rooney misses out

Manchester United continued their revival with a fourth successive win that strengthens their place in the Premier League top four.

The home side led when Marouane Fellaini headed in Ander Herrera's left-wing cross at the far post.

Stoke equalised through Steven N'Zonzi's low shot, but they slipped to a third straight loss when Juan Mata's free-kick from the right sneaked in.

Stoke's Mame Biram Diouf was twice denied an injury-time equaliser.

Man Utd fought to the end - Van Gaal

The 26-year-old Stoke forward, who had an undistinguished spell at Old Trafford earlier in his career, saw United keeper David De Gea claw out his header before emergency full-back Ashley Young cleared another effort off the line seconds later.

Diouf was left mystified by his failure to earn a point for the visitors, shaking his head in disbelief as he slowly trudged off the pitch at the final whistle.

A draw would have been harsh on United, who controlled the game throughout but had to rely on a piece of fortune for the winner.

Mata's set-piece evaded every player waiting in the penalty area before finding the net, although team-mate Marcos Rojo claimed he got the final touch with his head.

United boss Louis van Gaal will not be too bothered who scored. The Dutchman's team continue to build momentum, despite failing to turn almost 65% of possession into more goals.

Match facts
The Red Devils have won four consecutive Premier League games for just the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. They achieved the same feat in December 2013.The Potters have lost four of their last five away from home in the Premier League, their only success coming in a 2-1 win at Tottenham on 9 November.
Marouane Fellaini's two league goals for Manchester United this season have come in evening kick-offs.Stoke scored with their only shot of the first half against Manchester United.

Skipper Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria were both missing from United's squad through injuries sustained against Hull on Saturday.

And for long periods, the home side missed the pair's attacking guile.

Stoke rarely looked like ending a dismal run of 11 successive Old Trafford defeats, though, until Diouf and substitute Marko Arnautovic went close in the final moments.

Old Trafford lost some of its famed 'fear factor' last season as United slumped to seven home Premier League defeats in a terrible first campaign following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

Stoke threw everything at Man Utd - Hughes

That aura of invincibility appears to have returned under Van Gaal, whose team have taken 19 home points from a possible 21 since defeat by Swansea on the opening day.

Potters boss Mark Hughes indicated his side would not be afraid to "have a go" at United, but they rarely looked like carving open a makeshift home defence until stoppage time.

United controlled the tempo and deservedly led when Herrera was allowed too much time and space to pick out Fellaini, who outjumped Erik Pieters to powerfully nod in.

Hughes was furious with the space that his side allowed Herrera, but his demeanour changed when N'Zonzi calmly guided a 20-yard shot past De Gea with Stoke's first attempt on goal.

But then Mata's intervention moved United within two points of second-placed Manchester City, who travel to Sunderland on Wednesday, while 13th-placed Stoke remain four points above the relegation zone.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal:

"It was not our best performance. We were not aggressive enough in the first half, we didn't keep our position on the pitch. I was not pleased at half-time - and I told them (the players). The second half was better, we created more chances but we need to score more goals.

"Then Peter Crouch comes on, you know the long balls are coming and it is always difficult. But I'm pleased we held this result. The last few moments were not necessary, but it is always like that. We have struggled until the end in the Premier League. It is common.

"I'm happy with the result. Tomorrow we have a Christmas party and it's important we enjoy that."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes:

"On the balance of play, we were very much in the game, especially in the first half. It was a really good performance and we picked ourselves up from the disappointment of conceding early on.

"We are disappointed with the award of the second goal. We clearly think it is offside. It doesn't matter if he (Rojo) touches it, he is clearly offside and interfering with play.

"He was ahead of the ball in an offside position. The referee and assistant should have cancelled that out. We didn't allow that to affect us but the episodes at the end... it was unbelievable, demonstrating the sort of luck we are having at the moment."

Manchester United v Stoke
Marouane Fellaini scored his first Old Trafford goal for United to put the hosts ahead
Manchester United v Stoke
Steven N'Zonzi equalised with his first league goal of the season - and only his fifth strike in 85 top-flight appearances for Stoke
Manchester United v Stoke
Stoke striker Mame Biram Diouf, who scored one goal in a three-year spell at United, cannot believe he is denied an equaliser


Man Utd

Formation 4-1-2-1-2

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A Valencia
  • 12Smalling
  • 5Rojo
  • 18YoungBooked at 90mins
  • 16Carrick
  • 31Fellaini
  • 8MataSubstituted forJanuzajat 90+2'minutes
  • 21HerreraBooked at 60minsSubstituted forFletcherat 86'minutes
  • 49WilsonSubstituted forFalcaoat 78'minutes
  • 20van Persie


  • 9Falcao
  • 11Januzaj
  • 13Lindegaard
  • 24Fletcher
  • 33McNair
  • 42Blackett
  • 48Keane


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Begovic
  • 2BardsleyBooked at 41mins
  • 17Shawcross
  • 12WilsonBooked at 90mins
  • 3PietersBooked at 58mins
  • 15N'Zonzi
  • 20Cameron
  • 7IrelandBooked at 72minsSubstituted forArnautovicat 82'minutes
  • 27Bojan
  • 24AssaidiSubstituted forCrouchat 77'minutes
  • 18Diouf


  • 5Muniesa
  • 8Palacios
  • 10Arnautovic
  • 16Adam
  • 22Butland
  • 25Crouch
  • 34Shenton
Jonathan Moss

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamStoke
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 2, Stoke City 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 2, Stoke City 1.

  3. Booking

    Marc Wilson (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    Falcao (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Marc Wilson (Stoke City).

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) right footed shot from very close range is blocked.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  8. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Antonio Valencia tries a through ball, but Robin van Persie is caught offside.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Phil Bardsley with a headed pass.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Adnan Januzaj replaces Juan Mata.

  11. Booking

    Ashley Young (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Ashley Young (Manchester United).

  13. Post update

    Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

  15. Post update

    Bojan (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

  18. Post update

    Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).

  19. Post update

    Phil Bardsley (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Darren Fletcher replaces Ander Herrera.

As It Stood

2Man City1383227131427
4Man Utd147432416825
5West Ham147342317624
12Aston Villa14446818-1016
15Crystal Palace143471823-513
16West Brom143471420-613
View full Premier League table

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