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Stoke 2-0 Manchester United: Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic seal win for Potters

Published 26/12/2015

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal sits dejected on the bench during the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke. PA
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal sits dejected on the bench during the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke. PA
Roy Keane in the stands during the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 26, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Stoke. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic scores his side's second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 26, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Stoke. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney on the substitutes bench before the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 26, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Stoke. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata (L) vies with Stoke City's Scottish midfielder Charlie Adam (R) during the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England on December 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications..PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney (L) vies with Stoke City's German defender Philipp Wollscheid (R) during the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England on December 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications..PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal arrives for the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England on December 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications..PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Stoke City's Spanish striker Bojan Krkic celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England on December 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications..PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Stoke City's Spanish striker Bojan Krkic (2nd L) celebrates with Stoke City's Austrian striker Marko Arnautovic (L) and teammates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England on December 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications..PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: A fan wears a Christmas turkey hat with a picture of Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United, attached to it during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Marco van Ginkel of Stoke City battles for the ball with Ander Herrera of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United heads the ball under pressure from Philipp Wollscheid of Stoke City during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United reacts on the bench next to his assistant Ryan Giggs during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: A Stoke City fan wears a Jose Mourinho mask as he poses with a P45 for Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Bojan Krkic of Stoke City celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: David De Gea, Phil Jones and Memphis Depay of Manchester United show their dejection as Bojan Krkic of Stoke City runs behind the goal to celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Bojan Krkic of Stoke City celebrates with team-mates including Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Pressure increased on Louis van Gaal after Manchester United were handed an embarrassing beating at Stoke.

Bojan Krkic took advantage of a terrible error by Memphis Depay to put Stoke ahead and Marko Arnautovic scored a 25-yard screamer as Van Gaal 's position came under even more scrutiny after going seven games without a win.

Do not be fooled by the 2-0 scoreline. This was a comprehensive win for Stoke, one that caused glee among the home supporters who branded United "boring" throughout.

"You're getting sacked in the morning," the home fans chanted when Arnautovic drove his fierce shot into the top corner and one Stoke fan dressed as a cross between the Grim Reaper and Jose Mourinho waved an oversized P45 in Van Gaal's direction.

With Mourinho on the market, and United looking like they have forgotten how to win - and play attractive football - Van Gaal's position is looking more precarious than ever.

The Dutchman, who dropped Wayne Rooney from his team for the first time, demanded an apology from the media for stories suggesting he would be replaced by Mourinho on Wednesday, but it is the 2,557 United fans who travelled to the Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day who deserve an apology for this latest sorry performance.

It was clear from the first whistle that Stoke had the hunger, desire and confidence United lacked.

There was a moment of panic when Jack Butland miscontrolled Arnautovic's poor back-pass while Anthony Martial raced at the Stoke goalkeeper, but the hosts cleared.

That was the first and last sniff of goal United would have in the first period.

Daley Blind and Ashley Young had no answer to the trickery and pace of Xherdan Shaqiri and Arnautovic.

Blind, still dizzy from taking a ball to the nose from Geoff Cameron, was turned inside out by Shaqiri, who was only stopped by an Ander Herrera foul. The Spaniard was doing little to justify his place in the starting XI and gave the ball away twice in the opening 15 minutes.

When United kept possession, they did little with it. The Stoke supporters chanted "boring, boring, boring" every time United had the ball - and they were right. The visitors were woefully short of ideas.

When Stoke took the lead it came as no surprise. That it came about because of an embarrassing gaffe from a United player came as no shock either.

Depay, a £25million player who scored 22 league goals for PSV Eindhoven last year, tried - and failed - to head a simple ball back to David de Gea, Glen Johnson stole in and squared to Bojan, who tapped in.

The manner of Stoke's second goal was just as embarrassing for United. Ashley Young flung his right hand up in the air to block Arnautovic's cross. Kevin Friend awarded a free-kick, which Bojan took. His shot cannoned off the wall and fell to Arnautovic, who hit the fiercest of drives into the top corner.

Van Gaal looked on despondently. His mood would have darkened further had Arnautovic scored another when through on goal moments later but luckily for United, the Austrian shot wide.

Van Gaal brought Rooney on at half-time and the captain added energy and fight - he caught Philipp Wollscheid in the face with his forearm while jumping for the ball - but little quality.

Stoke, a club who just a few years ago were effectively branded a rugby team by Arsene Wenger, were still by far the better side. The Potters were toying with United.

When the ball went out of play for a Stoke throw, Mark Hughes demanded it be returned quickly. He did not want to settle for 2-0. He wanted to inflict a real hammering on his old employers.

There was a brief glimmer of hope for Van Gaal when Rooney squared for Marouane Fellaini, but the Belgian scuffed his shot and Butland saved. There was no way back for the visitors.

Van Gaal said his players had not performed in the first half.

He told Sky Sports 1: "My thoughts are that we don't dare to play football in first half. We gave a very bad goal away and then they score out of a free-kick indirect.

"At half-time we have spoken with each other and I have to say the second half was much better but still we have created one or two chances and then you have to score and then maybe the belief is coming back. In the second half we played better but the problem is we don't dare to play and that's my analysis.

"I'm always very faithful and I see also how (the players) have trained so they want to perform well but the circumstances are difficult, not only the wind but also with the pressure and that's why, in my opinion, we don't dare to play football. Second half we were in a losing position and we can give everything more easily and that we have done but then you have to score the first chance."

When asked if he was the man to help United rediscover their form, he said: "It's more difficult because I'm also a part of the four matches that we have lost. People are looking at me and I have to deal with that, but much more important is that the players have to deal with that because they have to perform."

And on his future he added: "It's another situation. We have lost the fourth game so you have to wait and see."

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