5 Things We Learned From Stoke City 2 - 0 Man United

Louis van Gaal Has To Go

The visitors never looked comfortable in this game. From the off they struggled to cope with the conditions and the opposition. The Potters can mix it with the big boys comfortably. They have the aerial and physical prowess to be a threat and in their exciting from three they can pull teams apart at will at times.

However, they did not help themselves at all. Memphis’ weak header for the Stoke opener was pathetic. Any Sunday league clogger would have hooked the ball away but the Dutchman made the horrendous decision to attempt to head it back to his ’keeper. This is a team that look detached and without ideas. It’s time for Van Gaal to go.

Much like Chelsea the players look as though the relationship between themselves and the manager has totally broken down. There’s a Portuguese fella who might bring in the New Year in Manchester.


This Could Be The End For Burnt Out Rooney – Even If Van Gaal Goes

Louis van Gaal made a decision that many thought he should have made weeks or even months ago, he dropped his captain. However, even if Jose Mourinho does come in, a self-confessed Rooney fan, it must be time to roll back the England skipper’s influence.

Rooney has scored just twice this season and it appears that the former Everton man is on the wane. It will be interesting to see of his absence is an extended one.

The Red Devils didn’t look massively better for his absence and the problems at the club run much deeper than a floundering 30-year-old. Nevertheless his 45 minute cameo had the hallmarks of a man who had over indulged yesterday and was just ‘running it off’.


 Manchester United. Not Struggling, Just Average

Whatever happens at old Trafford over the next 48 hours it is going to be difficult to see how they can get out of this slump. It’s seven games without a win now for the Red Devils and a win does not exactly look forthcoming.

Put simply, they just aren’t very good. The team is unbalanced, the players aren’t good enough and the current manager appears to be stuck to the bench, even when his team are 2-0 down away from home and he’s on the brink. It shouldn’t really matter, but it feels like it should.

How do you find goals from a team that has scored just 22 times this season? We all know that the free flowing, exciting Man United team is a thing of the past but realising they are now just an average side chasing the top four is a hard pill to swallow for their supporters.


Maybe It Is Time For Shawcross To Play For England

The former Manchester United defender showed his old club exactly what they are missing in this game. He was super, both on the floor and in the air, foiling pretty much everything thrown at him.

He stepped in and dispossessed the pace duo of Memphis and Martial with ease and he didn’t allow Fellaini to have his usual joy in the air.

The Potters have conceded just twice from open play when Shawcross has been on the field and it wouldn’t be going too far to say he is their most important player. His reputation as a bit of a hard man seems to have seen him exiled from the England set up but on current form it is hard to name a better English centre half.


Jack Butland Could Get Stoke Into Europe

The England goalkeeper has probably been the finest in the top-flight this season. He wasn’t troubled at all in the first half, in fact Man United did not have a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.

In the second period the Red Devils did create a few chances but the young stopper was more than equal to them, pulling off a particularly good save when Fellaini looked all set to score.

Mark Hughes has developed a brilliant core at the Britannia and Butland is pivotal to that. Keeping hold of him in the summer will be a nightmare but for this term he could be decisive in whether Stoke make it in to Europe or not.