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Final score: Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City

  • United close the gap behind Manchester City to 12 points after easy win at Old Trafford.
  • Antonio Valencia opened the scoring on his return from injury with a vicious strike.
  • Anthony Martial added a superb second before half-time.
  • Romelu Lukaku provided fine finish for his side's third.
  • Paul Pogba turns in man of the match display to dominate the Potters.
  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan left out of Manchester United squad amid transfer speculation.
Paul Pogba

Full-time: Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City

Or not. It's a poor effort that sails comfortably over the bar and the final whistle goes.

Pogba threads another ball through for McTominay but he is crudely blocked off the ball by Martins Indi. We are two minutes into injury time here and Pogba will surely be given the chance to cap a wonderful display with a goal from the free kick.

United fall asleep at the back and Diouf can chest down a lofted ball from Shaqiri inside the box. His touch takes it away from Smalling and opens up the room to shoot but De Gea again reacts well to keep it out. Diouf is onto the rebound but under pressure from Shaw, he fires wide.

Another stunning ball from Pogba frees Valencia down the right with Rashford screaming for it in the six yard area. It reaches him, but he's forced to improvise and does well to flick the ball goalbound but Butland again gets in the way.

And here's United's final change, Mata is off to make way for Scott McTominay.

Here's a couple of changes for United now, Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini on for Martial and Lingard.

Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku is in on the act.

Brilliant from Lukaku. Lingard lays off to Martial who turns and fires a pass into the Belgian, who controls it superbly on his chest 10 yards out from goal. Bringing it down, he turns inside his man, working the space to pull the trigger and does just that, firing into the bottom corner.

Goal! Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City (Romelu Lukaku, 71)

Here's Stoke's final change: Crouch is replaced by former United player Mame Biram Diouf.

Ireland is next in the book after cleaning out Mata. From the free kick, Shaw is presented with a chance to score his first ever senior goal but fires well wide.

Lukaku is taken down by Martins Indi and wins the free kick, but feels there should be more action against the Stoke defender. Instead it is him who is shown the yellow.

Now Lukaku has a go, shimmying across his man firing low towards the near post but Butland is down quickly to block.

Shaw does superbly down the left, bombing down the flank and slipping a neat pass inside two men. Lingard is on the end of it and does well to hold off his man and lay it off to Mata but he fires over the bar. Should have been three there.

Nearly a third again! Lingard's excellent pressing forces an error from Zouma at the back and Lukaku races forward. He slides the ball across to Lingard on the edge of the box, who in turn slips in Mata to his right. The Spaniard shoots across goal but his effort won't creep inside the post.

Here's a change for Stoke, Ramadan Sobhi is onto replace Choupo-Moting.

Should be three for United. Pogba emerges down the inside left and pops a ball into the middle for Martial. The Frenchman's touch lets him down however and allows Wimmer to get a block in. It nearly breaks to Lukaku who is lurking but Butland gets there first.

Lukaku can't hook a pass over for Pogba who tried a one-two with the Belgian and instead opts for the shot himself, lashing a half volley on target but it is straight at Butland.

Barely a touch for Stoke in these opening few minutes. Pogba almost frees Martial down the middle, finding his countryman's clever run inside from the left but Butland scampers out just in time to get their first.

And we are back underway for the second-half.

Half-time: Manchester United 2-0 Stoke City

Terrific save from De Gea! Right before the half-time whistle, the United goalkeeper springs down to his far post to brilliantly deny Shaqiri.

A minute of stoppage time added on here.

United have been occasionally sloppy in this half, but at times they have been majestic too. This was one of those moments. Lukaku again finds space out on the right, cutting a cute ball back infield to Pogba. The Frenchman slides another excellent ball across goal, slightly behind him perfectly into the path of Martial, who sweeps a stunning effort into the top corner from 25 yards out. Beautiful strike.

Goal! Manchester United 2-0 Stoke City (Anthony Martial, 37)

Pogba finds Shaw's run down the left with an outrageous ball with the full-back able to pull it back to Martial in the box but Zouma makes a good block.

Almost a sensational combination between Mata and Valencia inside the box but a slip from the former prevents him getting on the end of it. Martins Indi was close by as he fell, but Mata was quick to insist to the ref there was no foul from the Stoke man.

Lukakau spins past his man having pulled out over to the right and lifts a superb cross in, looking for Mata's far post run but it's just about headed away by a Stoke player.

After that bright start, United have turned a bit sloppy here. A lot of overhit passes about at the moment.

Close from Stoke again! The free kick is wasted but Stoke recycle it, flinging a cross into Crouch who manages to nod the ball across goal where Zouma tries to force it on goal, only to be denied by a superb block from Phil Jones.

Stoke now win a free kick a good 30 yards out.

Another big chance for Stoke! Ireland is again slipped in by Shaqiri but he pings his effort wide. United looking far from solid at the back, Stoke are finding plenty of room inside the box.

Mata lifts it straight into the wall however and Stoke clear.

Pogba slides a pass into Lingard but the England man is taken out by Allen just as he goes to return the pass. United have a free kick from about 30 yards out with Pogba and Mata eyeing it up.

Half a chance for Stoke as Stephen Ireland is picked out in the 18-yard box, completely unmarked. Making his first start since April 2015, his first touch is still a little rusty, inviting pressure and sending a wayward shot wide.

What a stunner from Antonio Valencia! On his return, he has lashed United into the lead, and remarkably, he has used his left foot! Pogba spreads the play out to the right, leaving Valencia one-on-one with the young Stoke full-back Tymon. He fails to show him down the line - not usually a problem with Valencia, he rarely bothers using his less-favoured left. He does tonight, however, cutting inside and hammering a superb effort past Butland.

Goal! Manchester United 1-0 Stoke City (Antonio Valencia, 8)

Some appeals for a United penalty; Mata curls an inviting ball into the box with Martial cutting across to reach it but he goes down under pressure from Bauer. Was the new Stoke signing holding him back there? Maybe, but the referee isn't interested and waves play on.

Apart from a couple of fouls, Stoke haven't touched the ball since kick-off.

United win a free kick upfield after Shaqiri sticks out a leg to trip Lingard.

And Stoke City get us underway.

And here come the teams, out of the tunnel onto the pitch with the heavens opening above Old Trafford. Kick-off is minutes away.

So what does Henrikh Mkhitaryan's omission tonight mean for his future? Read the latest here.

So, Jose Mourinho has essentially explained Henrikh Mkhitaryan is not involved tonight because his future at the club is in doubt. In case you had you've had your head in the sand for the past five days, the Armenia international has reportedly been offered to Arsenal as part of a deal for United to sign Alexis Sanchez.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Jose Mourinho on Henrikh Mkhitaryan's absence tonight

I would be lying if I say it's a pure tactical decision. It was just a choice of the players that we know, in this moment, they have 100 per cent their heads in Manchester United.

"No doubts about the future. I don't think it's easy for a player to play when there are doubts about his future. It's added pressure that a player doesn't need, so I think it's the best for him and for us, while the doubt is in the air, to protect him.

Eddie Niedzwiecki makes seven changes to his side tonight – his last one before new boss Paul Lambert takes charge tomorrow. New signing Moritz Bauer comes straight into the starting XI at right-back and with Erik Pieters ruled not available, Josh Tymon comes in for just his second starting appearance on the left.

United's nemesis at the Britannia Stadium earlier this season in Jean-Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting also comes back into the starting XI.

With the possible exception of Luke Shaw over the still-suspended Ashley Young, that looks like Jose Mourinho's strongest starting XI to us. Antonio Valencia returns as expected, with Anthony Martial given the nod on the left after overcoming a minor injury problem.

In all, Mourinho has made three changes to his last Premier League side that beat Everton and six to the one that overcame Derby County in the FA Cup last time out.

As mentioned, there is no Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the squad tonight - that's despite his manager saying he would be involved. Could something be in the works there?

Stoke City team to face Manchester United: Butland, Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Tymon, Fletcher, Allen, Shaqiri, Ireland, Choupo-Moting, Crouch

Subs: Grant, Wimmer, Afellay, Adam, Diouf, Ramadan, Edwards

Despite Jose Mourinho suggesting he would be involved, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is left out completely this evening.

Manchester United team to face Stoke: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Shaw, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Lingard, Martial, Lukaku

Subs: Joel Pereira, Lindelof, Rojo, Fellaini, Herrera, McTominay, Rashford

BREAKING: Anthony Martial has shaken off a knock and starts for Manchester United this evening.

United's Under-23 side are also in action against their Arsenal counterparts this evening. 17-year-old Angel Gomes is among the starters in that contest.

Will Manchester United line up like this tonight?

Manchester United XI vs Stoke City

With everyone fresh from an overdue rest, Jose Mourinho can pretty much name his first-choice starting XI tonight. The only notable absences we have are the still-suspended Ashley Young and Anthony Martial, who was deemed a minor injury doubt earlier this week.

No Alexis Sanchez either....

Stoke City's woes are clearing up at the back somewhat. Erik Pieters and Bruno Martins Indi are back in contention for the Potters tonight with January signing Moritz Bauer, who arrived from Rubin Kazan last week, in line for his debut.

Saido Berahino meanwhile is expected to be included tonight. He was so keen on the clash at Old Trafford in fact that he showed up a day early on Sunday. That is what he'll be arguing anyway.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is seemingly being offered as bait in United's hopes of clinching a deal for Alexis Sanchez in this month. Worryingly for the Armenian's Old Trafford prospects, Mourinho did not rule out his departure in a recent press conference, simply stating every player has their price.

The former Borussia Dortmund star is in contention to start tonight, however. Saturday he is training, Sunday selected and Monday play," Mourinho said of Mkhi.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Anthony Martial is United's biggest injury doubt ahead of kick-off. The 22-year-old was part of the training camp in Dubai last week but returned to Manchester with an unspecified knock that could rule him out tonight.

Anthony Martial

Jose Mourinho has had to reshuffle things at the back over the last month with injuries and suspensions kicking in. A hamstring injury suffered to Antonio Valencia in the win over West Brom on 17 December and Ashley Young's three-match ban for landing a dig on Southampton's Dusan Tadic meant the manager was without his first-choice full-backs in the opening weeks of 2018.

Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw have been filling in on the right and left respectively in their absence but Valencia is expected to come back into the starting XI tonight having recovered from his knock. With Young still unavailable, Shaw has the chance to continue impressing down the left.

Antonio Valencia

With the future of Alexis Sanchez casting a shadow over proceedings, it is important to remember there is an actual Premier League match taking place this evening. Manchester City's defeat to Liverpool on Sunday hasn't exactly blown the title race back open again with Pep Guardiola's side still 15 points clear at the summit of the Premier League.

But the manner of that defeat at Anfield yesterday and the chance to reduce the gap to a mere 12 points means it is surely game on for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho. The manager is one of the (very) few who still believes a title challenge for his side is possible; they cannot afford to pass up on the chance to keep that dream alive tonight.

Stoke City will be eager to impress new manager Paul Lambert, however. The former Norwich City and Aston Villa boss will be watching from the stands tonight following his appointment earlier this afternoon; he doesn't officially start his new gig until tomorrow. Will that appointment give the Potters a timely lift? They could do with one.

Stick around, all your team news is on the way.