Manchester United dropped their first points of the new league season after they shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw against Mark Hughes’ Stoke City. After keeping three consecutive clean sheets, the defence was a particular letdown as United’s extended their recent winless streak at the Bet365 Stadium.
The game was also Ander Herrera’s first from the starting lineup, but the fans did not take a liking to the Spaniard’s performance on Saturday. The 2016/17 Player of the Year struggled to show his dominance over the likes of Joe Allen and Darren Fletcher in midfield, and he cut a frustrated figure until he was substituted in the 72nd minute.
Marouane Fellaini was omitted from the squad due to a minor calf strain sustained on international duty with Belgium and the United faithful want him back ahead of Herrera for the next fixture.
Herrera on the pitch, first points dropped. This is no coincidence.
— Mike (@MikeLUHG) September 9, 2017
We are a completely different team with Herrera. A much worse team.
— Nikos Pappas (@nikos1977) September 9, 2017
Herrera rusty as hell.
Valencia couldn't cross.
But let's make Darmian scapegoat because it's convenient.
— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) September 9, 2017
Can't believe am saying this but i would have preferred Fellani in than Herrera
— Anthony (@Antoinejr10) September 9, 2017
No surprise we're so lethargic and slow with Herrera back in the side. Too easy this for Stoke.
— BM (@IconicUnited) September 9, 2017
Fellaini would've offered 10x more than Herrera today.
— MVP (@DatGuyDezza) September 9, 2017
i don't wanna see Herrera in the 11 again when we're fully fit
— Kabelo. (@onekabelo) September 9, 2017
Jose Mourinho obviously wanted to be a little circumspect with the style of play against the Potters, but Herrera’s inclusion forced Henrikh Mkhitaryan out wide, where he failed to make any influence. With late substitutions, United pushed the Armenian into his preferred number ’10’ role, but they could not sneak in the winner against the Staffordshire outfit.
Manchester United have still made a strong start to the league campaign, and the draw takes them to the top of the standings with 10 points – just ahead of Manchester City on goal difference. United will now shift their attention to European football where they make their Champions League return against Swiss champions Basel on Tuesday night.