EPL: Louis van Gaal drops Wayne Rooney in 0-2 defeat

Updated: 28 December, 2015 09:29 IST | PA Sport |

Manchester United lose 0-2 to Stoke - their seventh game without a win - as embattled manager Louis van Gaal benches skipper and talismanic striker Rooney for the first time in his 18-month reign

Stoke-on-Trent (UK): The pressure increased on Louis van Gaal after Manchester United were handed an embarrassing beating at Stoke.

Wayne Rooney, who was brought in the second half against Stoke, looks dejected as he walks off after the loss on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
Wayne Rooney, who was brought in the second half against Stoke, looks dejected as he walks off after the loss on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images 

Bojan Krkic took advantage of a terrible error by Memphis Depay to put Stoke ahead and Marko Arnautovic scored a 25-yard screamer as Van Gaal 's position came under even more scrutiny after going seven games without a win.

Do not be fooled by the 2-0 scoreline. This was a comprehensive win for Stoke, one that caused glee among the home supporters who branded United "boring" throughout.

"You're getting sacked in the morning," the home fans chanted when Arnautovic drove his fierce shot into the top corner and one Stoke fan dressed as a cross between the Grim Reaper and Jose Mourinho waved an oversized P45 in Van Gaal's direction.

Another sorry performance
The Dutchman, who dropped Wayne Rooney from his team for the first time, demanded an apology from the media for stories suggesting he would be replaced by Mourinho on Wednesday, but it is the 2,557 United fans who travelled to the Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day who deserve an apology for this latest sorry performance.

It was clear from the first whistle that Stoke had the hunger, desire and confidence United lacked.

There was a moment of panic when Jack Butland miscontrolled Arnautovic's poor back-pass while Anthony Martial raced at the Stoke goalkeeper, but the hosts cleared.

That was the first and last sniff of goal United would have in the first period.

Daley Blind and Ashley Young had no answer to the trickery and pace of Xherdan Shaqiri and Arnautovic.

When United kept possession, they did little with it. The Stoke supporters chanted "boring, boring, boring" every time United had the ball — and they were right. The visitors were woefully short of ideas.

Depay flops
Depay, a £25million player, who scored 22 league goals for PSV Eindhoven last year, tried — and failed — to head a simple ball back to David de Gea, Glen Johnson stole in and squared to Bojan, who tapped in.

The manner of Stoke's second goal was just as embarrassing for United. Ashley Young flung his right hand up in the air to block Arnautovic's cross. Kevin Friend awarded a free-kick, which Bojan took. His shot cannoned off the wall and fell to Arnautovic, who hit the fiercest of drives into the top corner.

Van Gaal brought Rooney on at half-time and the captain added energy and fight — he caught Philipp Wollscheid in the face with his forearm while jumping for the ball — but little quality.

First Published: 27 December, 2015 06:28 IST

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