Football

Xherdan Shaqiri and Chris Smalling.

Xherdan Shaqiri nutmegged Chris Smalling with filthy piece of skill

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Quite how Sunday's clash between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford entered the half-time break goalless is unknown.

Well, it isn't, because both sides were poor in front of goal.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a one-on-one in the opening stages; Paul Pogba failed to hit the target with two guilt-edged chances from inside the 18-yard box; while Geoff Cameron's strike was straight at David de Gea when he had enough time to find either corner.

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So wasteful were United and Stoke with their goalscoring opportunities that it took a sublime piece of skill from Xherdan Shaqiri in the 43rd minute to liven the mood.

While trapped in the corner by Chris Smalling, Shaqiri twisted and turned before nutmegging the England international with an elastico (see below).

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SMALLING HUMILIATED

Smalling then appeared to foul the diminutive attacking midfielder by putting his arm out but was spared the embarrassment of giving away a free-kick by referee Robert Madley.

So, what did football fans make of Shaqiri's moment of brilliance? Here's how Twitter reacted.

TWITTER REACTS

One fan wasn't so convinced by Shaqiri's skill, somehow...

Irrespective of whether Smalling came away with the ball, he still got nutmegged - and no one likes to be nutmegged.

Shaqiri's skill was yet another reminder of the talent he possesses but he still has a lot of work to do before reaching his potential.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes recognises that the Swiss must contribute more.

Manchester United v Stoke City - Premier League

He said in mid-August: "It's a big year for Shaq, I think he senses that, but he's got the benefit of having a full season in the Premier League, and it's more difficult for creative players in the Premier League.

"This year, he will benefit immensely from the year he had last year, and we will reap the benefits. We are starting to see that now."

Only time will tell.

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
Football
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
Stoke City

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