Sitting bottom of the Premier League with just two points, the last fixture Stoke City wanted this weekend was probably a trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly the fixture Mark Hughes’ side faced as they took on a Jose Mourinho side that were looking to go third in the league table.
But things didn’t exactly go to plan for Mourinho and co. during the 90 minutes.
Despite numerous glorious chances, the home side couldn’t find a way past 33-year-old Lee Grant in the Stoke goal during the opening 45 minutes.
Anthony Martial did eventually break the deadlock in the second-half but Joe Allen's goal meant the Red Devils had to settle for a disappointing point.
While the end result - a United win - wasn’t too surprising, there were plenty of things that raised our eyebrows during the 90 minutes.
So, we identified eight surprising things that occurred this afternoon at Old Trafford during United's 1-1 draw with Stoke.
The 1-1 result
Well, this doesn't need much explaining. United were expected to comfortably brush aside rock-bottom Stoke. But didn't. Anyone that said that they exected a draw from this match is either a genuis or a liar. Proabably the latter.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed an absolute sitter
The Swede turns 35 tomorrow but he hasn’t lost his ability to put the goal in the back of the net - represented by the fact he’s already scored six goals this season. So, when he was one-on-one with Grant inside two minutes, you’d have expected to see him score. But, somehow, he didn’t.
It was goalless at half-time
Manchester United were 4-0 up at the break against Leicester last week but couldn’t find their way past Stoke in the first half today - something you certainly wouldn’t have expected.
They had chance after chance in the first-half with Ibrahimovic (above) and Pogba missing this sitter from inside the box. How did Stoke go in at the break level?
Ryan Shawcross didn’t let Zlatan Ibrahimovic score
Remember when Shawcross played against Ibrahimovic for England against Sweden? Yeah, it didn’t go very well. The Stoke defender hasn’t played for the Three Lions since because Zlatan embarrassed him so much and scored a hat-trick during the 4-2 defeat. Shawcross obviously learnt his lesson and didn’t give the Swede too much space throughout the 90 minutes.
Joe Allen ran the show
Liverpool fans may not be too surprised by Allen’s performance at Old Trafford but many people would have been. The Welshman looked excellent on the ball, dictating play and keeping possession for Stoke. He allowed Hughes’ side a foothold in the match and looked to get the better of Pogba for large periods. He also scored the all important equaliser.
Jose Mourinho waited until the 65th minute to make changes
With United failing to break down a stubborn Stoke side, you’d expect Mourinho to be keen to ring the changes. The Special One is no stranger to making early changes - even at half-time if need be - but he decided he would wait until 25 minutes remaining to bring on both Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney. Although it worked out fairly well with the pair linking up for Martial to give United the lead.
David de Gea's made a terrible mistake
De Gea is considered one of one best goalkeepers in world football but he won't want to look back on his mistake against Stoke this afternoon. Glen Johnson's shot was deflected but he could only parry the ball into Peter Crouch's path, whose shot found it's way to Allen to convert from two yards. Oh dear.
A dull atmosphere
Mourinho has often called on his supporters to make plenty of noise in their home matches, but they were unusually subdued against Stoke this afternoon. Maybe some of them were still nursing hangovers with the early kick-off but you could often hear the Stoke supporters mocking them for their lack of noise. Mourinho wouldn't have been impressed.
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