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Ratings: Rooney saves the day for United as the team failed to deliver

Manchester United were visitors at Britannia Stadium at Stoke looking forward to maintaining their unbeaten run in all competitions and with a late minute free kick, Wayne Rooney perfectly managed to do that. The target, however, was another with Liverpool losing to Swansea so we could move closer in the standings. As the teams were revealed, the only surprise was Martial as he didn’t even make the bench and his absence was obvious.

With a system that seemed a clear 4-3-3, United had a poor game today, probably missing Carrick to give the chance Herrera and Pogba to go upfront easily. It must be said that Fellaini did have a good game as he was unlucky not to score with his head. Manchester United despite not shining was dominating all over the place as De Gea didn’t have much to do.

Rather than a great build up play from Stoke City, United seemed to have forgotten to defend as Smalling was the man to clear that chance but a last touch from Mata saw the ball going past David De Gea. The Spaniard on the other side missed two clear unforgivable chances that would have changed the way the game went. Point was that nothing was working for United. Mkhitaryan, usually boosted with energy seemed to have his mind somewhere else, not moving, making the game a bit frustrating.

It seemed one of those games of last season, where United wouldn’t do good enough to score, losing the tracks to the top four making it even harder for the team to achieve the goals that has been set. Showing the reasons why United are not title contenders this season, the players were trying to keep the run of the game going with a furious Mourinho on the sidelines. The changes he made were doing poor except Rashford who added pace to a side that wasn’t running fast enough to make Mark Hughes’ side struggle.

A great Ander Herrera was keeping Stoke away from the United half while the two fullbacks seemed to have forgotten to push. The game was getting near end and the team and fans were getting used to the fact that the game was gone, but Wayne Rooney had something else in mind. A beautiful free kick left Lee Hart stunned, as the goalie couldn’t do anything. Full Time, United keep their unbeaten run alive, yet not performing in high standards to comfortably win the game. Congratulations to Wayne Rooney who is now, all-time leading scorer of Manchester United.

As United draw, here are the player ratings for today’s game:

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

A moment of distraction in the zone created insecurity that saw the Spaniard beaten in the end. The defence and his feet let him down. Besides the goal, he didn't have much to do during the game.

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25 Antonio Valencia

After those words from Mourinho we surely expected a lot from him in the first half. Quiet half overall as his brilliant crosses were surely missed. Great defending from the Ecuadorian but yet again wasn't the Valencia of always. Needed a wake-up call.

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4 Phil Jones

A few unstudied movements from the defender, but yet a good performance. Good clearances and gives security, his game is getting mature game after game. Good defending in both halves.

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12 Chris Smalling

It's not just this game and he knows it. He is past his best and it was his work to close that chance that was unfortunately converted in own goal by Mata. Besides this he did well in a Stoke counter attack in the end of the first half. Gave away another Stoke chance in the second half.

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17 Daley Blind

Having the Dutch at left meant that United would do well in the wings especially where we have lacked imagination. As usual, this isn't an issue for him but his defensive skills are however so often put in question and rightly so. All of the game he didn't look comfortable.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

For everyone's surprise the Belgian had a good game, a couple of chances upfront and surely is doing his job well. The contract extension has boosted his confidence and that was reflected in his game. However, a player like him was holding a bit the team. Substituted by Rashford.

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21 Ander Herrera

People should understand that he is not Carrick, but Herrera. United's best player on the pitch by a mile. He is everywhere, tackles, battles for the first ball and has won his personal battles. A real leader in that midfield even when Carrick is absent. Helps the team upfront and looks to enjoy it.

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8 Juan Mata

An own goal in his account today and two important chances missed that could have leveled the game early in the first half. Quiet and simply not the Mata we are all used to. Probably one of his worst performances as a United player. Substituted by Rooney.

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6 Paul Pogba

It's the second game in the row where he has under-performed. Those critics are getting into his head affecting his game. Same problem, can't keep possession, but on the other side two good chances that should have gone in. Selfish at times, Pogba needs to be incorporated more into team play.

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22 Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Not sure what was going through his mind during the game. He constantly tried to move wide up front, but simply not good enough today. A day to forget for our midfield Armenian as he wasn't a threat for Stoke, not creating or helping the team. Substituted by Lingard.

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9 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

He didn't score and didn't help the team much. Quiet during the game and we can't point the finger at him for not scoring. No one was helping him in the cause as both Valencia and Blind were poor on crosses today. Even a player like him has his quiet days.

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Substitutes

19 Marcus Rashford

Gave the team what they were lacking, the pace in the wings that constantly threatened Stoke. However, he can't do it alone. Seemed that the team was being comfortable with the way things were going and Rashford wanted to change this.

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10 Wayne Rooney

Another average game by the United captain, not sure what got into him but the English wasn't making it right until injury time. A superb and perfectly executed free kick now makes him the all-time leading scorer of Manchester United and on the other side United are yet to be unbeaten.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Moves well and quickly but has difficulties in creating a build up play, the reason he came in, that would help United to score. Missed a great chance with the ball that hit the post.

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