Last season, the Britannia Stadium witnessed a record breaking moment. Wayne Rooney had scored the record breaking goal with a fantastic free kick. That goal had made him the top scorer for United breaking Sir Bobby Charlton record that stood for several years. The goals also helped United to secure a point at Stoke City last season. Wayne Rooney had moved to Everton and the new United under Jose Mourinho is expected to win at Britannia Stadium since 2013 when Javier Hernandez scored the winning goal en route to their title win that year.
They had perfect start these season with 3 games played and 3 wins and no goal conceded. The team is looking solid and perfectly balanced. In these games too saw Ander Herrera in the starting line-up for the first time this season. United attacked but it is Stoke City who had scored the first goal via their new signing Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting late in the first half however United had responded swiftly with an equalizing goal via Marcus Rashford.
In the second half, Henrik Mikhartyan again had shown how he had adapted to the Premier League when had made an assist for Romelo Lukaku to score the second goal. Now, both had been in terrific form for United this season where Lukaku had played in 4 games and scored 4 goals and Mikhartyran also had played in 4 goals and made 5 assists and he is now top in assist chart in the Premier League.
However, United unable to hold on for victory as Stoke City new signing Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting again had scored a double to make the score 2-2. United had a great chance to win the game when Anthony Martial had made a terrific cross for Lukaku but unfortunately these times he had missed his chance. After the results, United still at the top of Premier League via goal difference and still undefeated however they had conceded 2 goals and their perfect winning streak had ended. Still, they are many positive that can be taken from the game based on the comparison from the last season.
First David De Gea had shown that he is a world class goalkeeper with an unbelievable reflex save from Eric Maxim Choupo Moting. A save that truly can be a contender for save of the season. Lukaku had proved that he is a terrific signing as not only he is able to be clinical goalscorer but also making some terrific off the ball movement to penetrate the Stoke City defense. With Rashford and Martial, United had a pace, power and great finishing ability from all of them this season if compared to the last season where only Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the sole goal scorer of the team.
The midfielder trio of Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, and Paul Pogba is flexible trio were three of the team able to defend well, support the attacking with their defense splitting passes and Pogba had been more in the penalty box ala Paul Scholes in his prime. However, the same can’t be said about the defense in these games. Where in the previous 3 game, they had been looking solid but they are not that solid in these game as their mistakes had led Stoke City to score against them.
However, the credit must be given to Stoke City too as under Mark Hughes they are physical, solid in defense and have a good height in the set pieces situation which makes them one of the hardest teams to beat in the Premier League. Even after they are trailing behind, Stoke City continuously pressured United to score the equalizing goal with finally they had via set pieces. Based on the performance yesterday, many of the top team will have some difficulties to beat them at the Britannia Stadium.
Back to United, after these game they have a tough fixture this month as they will start their UEFA Champion League campaign against FC Basel at Old Trafford, Everton in Premier League in home which saw the return of Wayne Rooney to Old Trafford where he can have a great reception from the Old Trafford faithful, League Cup third round against Burton, Southampton away, travelling to Moscow for a match against CSKA Moscow and ending this month fixture with a home game against Crystal Palace.
The game will come thick and fast this month with UEFA Champion League and the League Cup sandwiched in between. How United played in all these fixtures will determine their improvement compared to last season. Although United did not play that bad last season as they had many draws, especially at Old Trafford last season. In these time Zlatan Ibrahimovic can be expected to return to Old Trafford as he signed a new contract and another new signing Victor Lindelof will be expected to make his debut especially in the European game and maybe if Mourinho had confidence that he had adapted to the Premier League will saw him making his debut too in the Premier League.
United is expected to improve their game as Manchester City had shown that their mean business in this season when they had thrashed Liverpool 5-0. When Guardiola had successfully implemented his style of play and his player fully understand this, his team can be beautiful to watch, scoring many goals and can be unstoppable. For now, only both red half and blue half and Tottenham Hotspur is showing that their mean business where Chelsea unable to emulate their fabulous start last season, Arsenal had their ups and down, and Liverpool had been brought to earth by their thrashing to City.
Stoke City now become a bogey team for United as, since 2013, United had not won at the Britannia Stadium. Every record is set to be broken and United will be expected to win at Britannia Stadium under Mourinho but for now, the record books said that United had not won in Britannia Stadium since 2013 the last year where United had won the Premier League under Sir Alex Ferguson.