David de Gea 6.5 – Nearly cost the hosts a goal with a poor attempt to pluck a cross away from Peter Crouch’s head, but atoned with a brilliant save from from Sheridan Shaqiri just before half time.
Antonio Valencia 7 – Those who were at Old Trafford on Monday, January 15, 2018 witnessed a moment in history that hadn’t happened before and, I’d venture, never will again: an Antonio Valencia screamer with his left foot. A smooth return after nearly a month out, with the Ecuadorian bombing down the right at will.
Chris Smalling 6 – Endured a few shaky moments in the first half, lacking positioning and presence on the ball, but did recover as the game went on.
Phil Jones 7 – A solid display at the back from start to finish. Imposed himself at set pieces and brought the ball out of defence with composure.
Luke Shaw 7 – The Englishman’s resurgence continues. Helped to sustain the home side’s attacking thrust on the left hand side with a series of darting runs and looked untroubled defensively.
Nemanja Matic 7 – Kept a lid on Stoke’s attacking threat with ease, winning the ball off blue shirts all evening and moving the ball along with intent.
Paul Pogba 8 – By the end, the Frenchman was toying with Stoke City. Not just a few players – everyone. This was one of those nights when 21 men simply danced to the beat of his drum, mere spectators or support acts to a masterclass of technique, confidence, execution, and sheer entertainment. He really is a joy to watch.
Juan Mata 7 – Produced a wonderfully nimble display, picking up the ball in pockets of space and probing away at Stoke all game. Could have been more ruthless in front of goal at times but his execution outside the box was as flawless as ever.
Jesse Lingard 6.5 – Took up good positions and displayed his usual intent going forward at No.10, but this was a rare occasion where the Englishman wasn’t the star of the show, producing a few too many misplaced passes and not seeing as much time on the ball.
Anthony Martial 7 – A scintillating display from start to finish. The Frenchman brimmed with energy and verve as he rampaged down the left hand side with reckless abandon, crowning it all with a perfectly placed finish into the top corner in the first half. For Arsenal to ever think they could prize this talent away from Old Trafford is an insult of the highest order.
Romelu Lukaku 7 – This a display that impressed in more ways than one. The Belgian deservedly claimed his 17th goal of the season, holding off about three players in the process, but it was the work he did outside the box that caught the eye: pushing players off the ball, producing smart flick-ons, forcing Stoke back with his raw power on the ball. A proper striker’s display.