Manchester United were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Stoke City earlier tonight, in a game where Jose Mourinho’s men had plenty of chances to bury the visitors.
The Red Devils were made to wait until the second half for the opener despite a catalogue of opportunities, with substitute Anthony Martial curling home from inside the box.
Joe Allen rescued a point for Stoke by scoring from close range, after a late mix-up in the United defence.
United rue missed opportunities
The result will feel more like two points lost rather than one gained for United, who will be disappointed not to have made the most of their numerous opportunities. The home side produced a number of clear cut shots on goal and should have found the back of the net more than once throughout the match – leading the total shot count 24 to seven.
Paul Pogba missed a number of big chances throughout the match, sending an attempt wide in the first half before hitting the crossbar in the later stages of the game, a header that could have given his side all three points.
Lee Grant the difference
Brought in on loan from Derby County, Lee Grant in only his second Premier League appearance was outstanding from the early stages of the match – denying Zlatan Ibrahimovic at his near post in a one-on-one situation. He was far from finished in the first half, making a brilliant reaction save to deny Jesse Lingard from close range and keeping the Potters in the game heading into the break.
With his side having more of a say in the second period, Grant was not as busy as the opening 45 minutes but was still on hand to smartly save another Ibrahimovic effort that was destined for the bottom corner. If not for the performance of Grant, it may have turned out to be a very long day at the office for Stoke.
A game of two halves
The first half saw United attack at will, dominating possession and putting the Potters under constant pressure. Mourinho’s side could have easily headed into half time well out of sight if they had been more clinical, with Stoke under constant pressure and offering very little at the other end.
After the interval, Stoke began to find their feet in the contest and multiple set-pieces put the hosts under pressure, but unfortunately Mark Hughes’ men could not break the deadlock. Substitute Anthony Martial made an instant impact, curling an effort past a helpless Grant to score a goal against the run of play which brought Old Trafford back to life.
As we see so often in the Premier League, the drama was still yet to come. Allen smashed home into an empty net after Jonathan Walters hit the crossbar and David de Gea spilled Geoff Cameron’s initial deflected effort.