Manchester United scramble point at Stoke thanks to Radamel Falcao goal

The momentum is no longer with Manchester United and they can count themselves a touch fortunate to have escaped with a point on a blustery afternoon at the Britannia Stadium. Peter Crouch, a thorn in United’s side throughout, had a strong penalty appeal turned down in the second half, when the ball clearly struck Chris Smalling on the hand, and the former England international also saw a header come back off the upright.

After six successive victories prompted talk of United joining the title race, Louis van Gaal has now endured the frustration of watching his side draw three of their last four matches. The United manager has railed against the manic Christmas schedule – the sight of Ashley Young pulling a hamstring in the second half will strengthen his argument about the fixture pile up – but the Dutchman could have no complaints about the result here.

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