Manchester United Lights Up Stoke, Now ONLY 12 Points Behind City
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A day after Manchester City was beaten for the first time in the Premier League, Manchester United flexed its muscles with some pretty goals against Stoke City. The Red Devils pulled within 12 points of their league-leading rivals. So, do we have a title race? Don't be silly.
Manchester United throttled Stoke City 3-0 at Old Trafford on Monday night, moving three points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea in second place. At 50 points from 23 matches, the Red Devils closed the gap on Manchester City. And while 12 points is not insurmountable with 15 matches to play, it’s fairly inconceivable for United to catch its crosstown rival at this point.
But, at least we’ve got more of a race than we did this time last week, when we weren’t sure if City would ever lose.
For its part, Jose Mourinho’s side played some great football at times in its quest to make the top of the Premier League table somewhat interesting. Much of it was down to Paul Pogba pulling the strings for Manchester United vs Stoke.
It started in the ninth minute through Antonio Valencia. After some good work from Pogba to send the ball over to Valencia, the Ecuadorian did the rest, cutting inside onto his supposedly weaker left foot and curling in a wonderful strike that had pace and accuracy.
Welcome back Antonio Valencia! What a goal! pic.twitter.com/T5XGEkwYMi— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 15, 2018
Pogba added a second assist in the 38th minute, sending a square ball to Anthony Martial. The United forward struck the ball sweetly, placing it in the top right corner where three goalies couldn’t even reach it.
— NBCSN (@NBCSN) January 15, 2018
Martial then turned provider in the second half, though his assist wasn’t exactly elegant. Romelu Lukaku was nonetheless able to control the pass fired into his groin area, hold off his defender and fire into the bottom left corner for a 3-0 advantage in the 72nd minute.
As much as we’d like to see a thrilling title race in the Premier League, the strong performance for Manchester United vs Stoke doesn’t mean the team will challenge Manchester City for the crown in May. Last we checked, City doesn’t have any more trips to Anfield and United won’t be hosting tepid teams like Stoke every week.