Premier League
Man Utd3Stoke0

Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City

Anthony Martial
Anthony Martial scored his ninth goal of the season for Manchester United

Manchester United kept in contention for a top-four Premier League place and gave manager Louis van Gaal a rare night of relaxation as Stoke City were outclassed at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal and his players were jeered after defeat by Southampton in their previous home game - but it was all a sharp contrast here as United, inspired by youngster Antony Martial, won at a canter.

Jesse Lingard headed in Cameron Borthwick-Jackson's perfect delivery after 14 minutes to end a shocking sequence of 11 matches without a first-half goal at home stretching over a period of eight hours 40 minutes.

Martial scored the goal his performance merited with a fine curled finish shortly after before setting up the third for Wayne Rooney from close range eight minutes after the break.

It was a win United's performance fully deserved and the victory margin could have been even greater, leaving them in fifth place, five points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

Magnificent Martial

As Manchester United have struggled through this colourless, painful season there has been one shaft of light offering real hope for the present and the future.

Anthony Martial's £36.5m signing from Monaco, when he was only 19, in September was regarded as a gamble by Van Gaal.

On this night of rejuvenation at Old Trafford it looks even more like money well spent.

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I'm a very happy coach - Van Gaal

The wisdom is that the rangy youngster will end up playing as a central striker, but Van Gaal has used him regularly from wide positions and, stationed on the left flank here, he tortured Stoke's defence and made former England defender Glen Johnson's night a misery.

He showed all the pace and athleticism that will be an asset to United for years to come as he was a threat all night, showing wonderful technique and composure to curl in a right-foot shot for the second goal then showed calmness and vision to lay the third on a plate for Rooney.

It was his sixth goal and third assist in the league, with the promise of plenty more to come. He departed to a deserved standing ovation with 11 minutes left.

Some of United's work in the transfer market since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson has been justifiably criticised - not a bit of it with Martial.

Relief at last for Van Gaal

Anthony Martial goal
Manchester United's second goal involved six players, started in their own box by Michael Carrick (16) and finished with a superb curling strike from Anthony Martial (9)

Manchester United's 64-year-old manager has been a besieged figure this season, seemingly facing a crisis and an uncertain future on a weekly basis, scrutinised once more on Monday when neighbours Manchester City announced the world's most coveted coach, Pep Guardiola, would be joining them in the summer.

He received a subdued welcome as he made his way down the Old Trafford touchline to his technical area before kick-off, acknowledging a smattering of applause with a couple of waves.

Van Gaal was able to make the return journey at the final whistle with cheers ringing around Old Trafford after their most impressive performance in months, a display designed to support his theory that things will eventually get better.

It has been a good few days for Van Gaal, with a potentially hazardous FA Cup fourth-round trip to Derby County safely negotiated last Friday and now this convincing victory.

Old Trafford elated

When Lingard stooped to head in Borthwick-Jackson's superb cross after 14 minutes, the roar that went around Old Trafford was tinged with relief and delight.

How United and Van Gaal needed that. The first groans of frustration had surfaced moments earlier when Chris Smalling drove into Stoke City's half but lost momentum because of lack of movement from his team-mates - but the pressure valve was released by Lingard's goal.

Old Trafford was in buoyant mood for the rest of game, United's supporters able to sit back and enjoy their team exerting total control and playing with a fluency rarely seen this season.

Man of the match - Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial
One goal, one assist: Anthony Martial ran the show for Manchester United

What they said:

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal: "I think we have played in the first half attacking- wise very good. In the second half we were more controlling and we didn't give any chances away against a team like Stoke. That is remarkable because they always make it difficult."

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Stoke were poor - Hughes

Stoke boss Mark Hughes: "We didn't start in the right manner. We conceded early on, were too passive and for the first goal we didn't get close enough to people. Avoiding going 1-0 down early on is what you talk about before coming to Old Trafford, and unfortunately we conceded another poor goal for the second."

What's next?

Manchester United travel to Chelsea on Sunday (16:00 kick-off), while Stoke host Everton on Saturday (15:00 GMT).

The stats you need to know:

  • Jesse Lingard scored Manchester United's first first-half goal at Old Trafford since they netted one against Wolfsburg in the Champions League in September 2015
  • It was the first time since April 2015 against Manchester City that the Red Devils had scored twice in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League game at home
  • Wayne Rooney scored his 99th Premier League goal at Old Trafford
  • Rooney scored and provided an assist at Old Trafford in a Premier League game for the first time since Boxing Day 2014 against Newcastle

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 36DarmianBooked at 55mins
  • 12Smalling
  • 17Blind
  • 43Borthwick-Jackson
  • 27FellainiSubstituted forHerreraat 80'minutes
  • 16Carrick
  • 35Lingard
  • 8MataSubstituted forPereiraat 88'minutes
  • 9MartialBooked at 60minsSubstituted forDepayat 79'minutes
  • 10Rooney

Substitutes

  • 7Depay
  • 20Romero
  • 21Herrera
  • 28Schneiderlin
  • 30Varela
  • 33McNair
  • 44Pereira

Stoke

  • 1Butland
  • 8Johnson
  • 26WollscheidSubstituted forBardsleyat 30'minutes
  • 5Muniesa
  • 3Pieters
  • 6Whelan
  • 14Afellay
  • 19Walters
  • 27BojanSubstituted forIrelandat 60'minutesBooked at 85mins
  • 10Arnautovic
  • 25Crouch

Substitutes

  • 2Bardsley
  • 7Ireland
  • 9Odemwingie
  • 11Joselu
  • 18Diouf
  • 22Shaqiri
  • 29Haugaard
Referee:
Roger East
Attendance:
75,234

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home15
Away10
Shots on Target
Home5
Away0
Corners
Home2
Away5
Fouls
Home13
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester United 3, Stoke City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Stoke City 0.

Foul by Ibrahim Afellay (Stoke City).

Chris Smalling (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Andreas Pereira replaces Juan Mata.

Foul by Marc Muniesa (Stoke City).

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

Booking

Stephen Ireland (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Stephen Ireland (Stoke City).

Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Glen Johnson (Stoke City).

Memphis Depay (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Ander Herrera replaces Marouane Fellaini.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Memphis Depay replaces Anthony Martial.

Ibrahim Afellay (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jesse Lingard (Manchester United).

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Chris Smalling.

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

Foul by Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Anthony Martial.

Attempt missed. Glen Johnson (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Offside, Stoke City. Erik Pieters tries a through ball, but Peter Crouch is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Phil Bardsley (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Glenn Whelan.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Michael Carrick.

Offside, Manchester United. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson tries a through ball, but Anthony Martial is caught offside.

Foul by Stephen Ireland (Stoke City).

Juan Mata (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Phil Bardsley (Stoke City).

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Phil Bardsley (Stoke City).

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Stephen Ireland replaces Bojan.

Booking

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Phil Bardsley (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Anthony Martial (Manchester United).

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jonathan Walters (Stoke City).

Michael Carrick (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Wayne Rooney.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester24148244261850
2Man City24145546232347
3Tottenham24129344192545
4Arsenal24136537221545
5Man Utd24117631211040
6West Ham24109538281039
7Southampton249783224834
8Liverpool249783034-434
9Stoke249692428-433
10Watford239592726132
11Crystal Palace2494112529-431
12Everton2361164034629
13West Brom247892331-829
14Chelsea237793234-228
15Bournemouth2477102939-1028
16Swansea2468102332-926
17Norwich2465132846-1823
18Newcastle2356122541-1621
19Sunderland2454152847-1919
20Aston Villa2427151840-2213
View full Premier League table

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