Match ends, Stoke City 1, Manchester United 1.
- Man Utd draw third game in four
- Stoke have lost only once in six
- United could slip 12 points behind Chelsea
Manchester United drew their third successive away game after coming from behind to earn a point at Stoke.
The result leaves United nine points behind Premier League joint-leaders Chelsea and Manchester City.
Radamel Falcao swept in from a corner to equalise for United after Ryan Shawcross had given Stoke an early lead with a close-range volley.
Stoke were denied a penalty when Chris Smalling appeared to handle, while a Peter Crouch header hit the post.
A point was the least Stoke deserved, with the home side coping better with the blustery conditions and looking more likely to carve an opportunity from open play.
Balls delivered into the box caused problems for United's three centre-halves, who at times were reduced to arguing amongst themselves, while the majority of possession was not enough for a visiting side that lacked the guile to break down an organised Stoke defence.
Six successive victories had led United boss Louis van Gaal to talk of a title challenge, but dropping six points over the Christmas period leaves cementing a top-four place as the more realistic ambition.
|Former Manchester United defender Phil Neville on BBC Radio 5 live|
|"The disappointment for United is that over the last three away games they have not been clinical enough. They have had all the possession, but sometimes I would like them to be a bit more direct rather than take the extra pass. Both teams went for victory in horrendous conditions. I think a draw was a fair result in the end."|
Stoke had enjoyed their own period of consistency in December, a run of three wins and a draw only interrupted by a 2-0 defeat by Chelsea.
The Potters lost the influential Bojan to a hamstring injury in their latest win against West Brom, but that mantle was picked up by Marko Arnautovic.
It was his corner in the second minute that was delivered deep to Crouch, who nodded down for the unmarked Shawcross to score against his former club.
Another Arnautovic ball should have led to Mame Biram Diouf putting Stoke further ahead, but he fired wide when given a clear sight of goal and, soon after, United were level.
A corner from the left was helped on by Michael Carrick, with Falcao finishing from inside the six-yard box.
However, that did not provide United with the inspiration to improve, with their best chance of the second half coming when the ineffective Robin van Persie poked a volley wide.
Instead, it was Stoke who came closest to winning it, with Crouch hitting the woodwork and Diouf firing over, both from deliveries into the United area.
And the hosts were aggrieved - perhaps justifiably - when Crouch's header into the raised arm of Smalling did not result in a penalty.
- 10ArnautovicSubstituted forAssaidiat 81'minutes
- 1de Gea
- 3ShawSubstituted forJanuzajat 64'minutes
- 18YoungSubstituted forda Silvaat 75'minutes
- 9FalcaoSubstituted forHerreraat 64'minutes
- 20van Persie
- 2da Silva
- Michael Oliver
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Stoke City 1, Manchester United 1.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Glenn Whelan.
Attempt saved. Oussama Assaidi (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mame Biram Diouf.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Erik Pieters.
Attempt missed. Rafael (Manchester United) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Ander Herrera.
Foul by Phil Jones (Manchester United).
Oussama Assaidi (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Phil Jones (Manchester United).
Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Stoke City. Oussama Assaidi replaces Marko Arnautovic.
Attempt missed. Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Glenn Whelan.
Attempt missed. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Adnan Januzaj with a cross.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Wayne Rooney.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Rafael.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Phil Jones.
Substitution, Manchester United. Rafael replaces Ashley Young because of an injury.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Ashley Young (Manchester United) because of an injury.
Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).