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Man Utd 3-0 Stoke – Five things we learned

Manchester United closed the gap to Manchester City to 12 points with a 3-0 win over relegation threatened Stoke. Here are five things we learned.

Antonio Valencia has a left foot

Its taken eight-and-a-half years, but Antonio Valencia has finally scored a goal with his left foot, and what a goal it was! Unlike the likes of Ashley Young and Anthony Martial who are comfortable with either foot, the Ecuador international is so one footed that that I actually had forgotten that he had a left foot.

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Lukaku is improving

Lukaku started the season on fire but his goalscoring output took a bit of a hit, drawing criticism from fans about his all round game.

The Belgian has seemed to take that criticism on board and his all round game is certainly getting better. During this game, he pulled the central defenders all over the pitch, drifting wide and dropping deeep, creating spaces for the likes of Martial, Lingard, Mata and Pogba to exploit.

 

Paul Pogba’s midfield masterclass

It was a sensational performance from the Frenchman who totally dominated both the Stoke defence and midfield.

Two assists against Stoke took his Premier League tally to 9, the joint highest in the league alongside Kevin de Bruyne and Leroy Sane.

He showed incredible vision, finesse, quality and creativity in every element of his game.

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Lambert has his work cut out

Newly appointed Stoke boss Paul Lambert sure has his work cut out to keep the Potters in the Premier League. He needs to plug the holes in what is the leakiest defence in the division. Poor defending contributed to United’s first two goals, while a sloppy surrendering of the ball led to the third.

 

Ireland has a part to play

After not starting a Premier League game for three years, Stephen Ireland slotted back into the Stoke lineup with ease, and even completed the full 90 minutes. He was one of Stoke’s better players, and could have even got himself a goal, but saw his shot creep just wide of David de Gea’s post.

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