Manchester United 1-1 Stoke: Five talking points
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 02/10/16 3:42pm
From goalkeeper heroics to frustration for Pogba, we look at the talking points from Manchester United's draw with Stoke.
Jose Mourinho's men looked on course for all three points after substitute Anthony Martial had curled home a fine opener on 69 minutes but Joe Allen capitalised on a David de Gea slip-up to share the spoils.
Here, we look at the talking points from the match...
Tale of two keepers
It was a tale of two keepers at Old Trafford on Sunday - but on this rare occasion it was David de Gea who came off worse from his duel with his opposite number. The Spaniard - who had dealt comfortably with four tame efforts earlier in the match - produced a poor parry from Glen Johnson's 82nd minute shot which sparked a goal mouth scramble and allowed Joe Allen to tuck in a vital equaliser from close range.
It was a costly mistake and contrasted with a superb display by Stoke City's Lee Grant at the other end of the pitch. The 33-year-old, unable to get into Derby County's starting line-up regularly last season, joined Mark Hughes' men on loan in the summer as back-up to Jack Butland and Shay Given but starred on just his second-ever Premier League appearance.
Grant made eight saves in total, the joint-most recorded by a goalkeeper in a Premier League game this season, and was cited by Jose Mourinho as the reason his team didn't win by six or seven. From his double save to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the opening moments, to his acrobatic tip-over from Juan Mata and reaction-block to deny Jesse Lingard, Grant showed off a full range of shot-stopping skills.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Paul Pogba. The world's most expensive player struggled to influence proceedings before seeing a potential match-winning header in the final stages cannon back off the woodwork.
The Frenchman had fewer touches than centre-back Eric Bailly (58), with his 56 involvements almost half the total number he had against Southampton (107) on his first Premier League appearance this season.
Pogba did come up with four key passes and should have recorded an assist when he played through Ibrahimovic early on, but there's no question, the big-money buy isn't having the instant impact many expected he would at Old Trafford.
While his positional play occasionally left midfield partner Ander Herrera exposed, Pogba repeatedly tried his luck from range - four speculative efforts from outside the box against Stoke - but he remains on one Premier League goal this term. From 19 efforts, he has one of the worst conversion rates in the division. Mourinho needs to find a way to get more from him.
Martial makes his mark
Anthony Martial cut a frustrated figure at the final whistle and his mood was understandable after his goal, which looked like the match-winner, was cancelled out late on.
The Frenchman had sparked United back to life when he was brought on with a little over 20 minutes to play. With his first touch he drove at the Stoke defence, played the ball into Wayne Rooney in the box, picked up the rebound and curled home a superb strike, reminiscent of his goal against the same opposition last season.
Mourinho had spoken in midweek about Martial's ability to impact a game from the bench and his goal sparked a flurry of chances, which saw Ibrahimovic, Rooney and even Eric Bailly go close to doubling United's advantage. After this livewire performance, the 20-year-old will hope to have more chances from the start.
Plenty for Mourinho to mull over
At this stage last season Manchester United were top of the Premier League with 16 points from seven games - three points more than they have right now. However, they were impressive in the opening 30 minutes against Stoke and for a short spell after Martial's goal, with Mourinho keen to point out that only a failure to convert their chances cost them a comfortable victory.
Indeed, United created five clear-cut chances against Stoke - they had only created eight in their previous six Premier League games, according to Opta - and Mourinho described it as their best performance yet.
However, he'll know United will have to go up a level again when they take on Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool next time out in the league. It will be a huge test of their credentials - and they can't afford to be so wasteful in front of goal.
Allen impresses in midfield
Joe Allen's goal may not have been the finest of his career but it was just reward for an impressive performance in the centre of midfield.
The Wales international did more than most to try to stem the constant flow of Manchester United attacks and the former Liverpool man will have taken plenty of satisfaction from netting at Old Trafford.
By drawing five fouls he regularly earned his team-mates breathing time and he rarely gave the ball away, recording the second-best passing accuracy of Stoke players. After starring at Euro 2016, he'll be a key man for Hughes this term.