• Man Utd draw third game in four
  • Stoke have lost only once in six
  • United could slip 12 points behind Chelsea

Manchester United lost ground on the Premier League's top two after battling to a draw at Stoke.

A third draw in four games leaves United nine points behind leaders Chelsea, who play later on Thursday.

Radamel Falcao swept in from a corner to equalise for United after Ryan Shawcross had given Stoke an early lead with a close-range volley.

Stoke were denied a penalty when Chris Smalling appeared to handle, while a Peter Crouch header hit the post.

A point was the least Stoke deserved, with the home side coping better with the blustery conditions and looking more likely to carve an opportunity from open play.

Balls delivered into the box caused problems for United's three centre-halves, who at times were reduced to arguing amongst themselves.

United had much of the possession, but lacked the guile to break down an organised Stoke defence and now face the prospect of falling 12 points behind Chelsea.

Six successive victories had led United boss Louis van Gaal to talk of a title challenge, but dropping six points over the Christmas period leaves cementing a top-four place as the more realistic ambition.

Former Manchester United defender Phil Neville on BBC Radio 5 live

"The disappointment for United is that over the last three away games they have not been clinical enough. They have had all the possession, but sometimes I would like them to be a bit more direct rather than take the extra pass. Both teams went for victory in horrendous conditions. I think a draw was a fair result in the end."

Stoke had enjoyed their own period of consistency in December, a run of three wins and a draw only interrupted by a 2-0 defeat by Chelsea.

The Potters lost the influential Bojan to a hamstring injury in their latest win against West Brom, but that mantle was picked up by Marko Arnautovic.

It was his corner in the second minute that was delivered deep to Crouch, who nodded down for the unmarked Shawcross to score against his former club.

Another Arnautovic ball should have led to Mame Biram Diouf putting Stoke further ahead, but he fired wide when given a clear sight of goal and, soon after, United were level.

A corner from the left was helped on by Michael Carrick, with Falcao finishing from inside the six-yard box.

However, that did not provide United with the inspiration to improve, with their best chance of the second half coming when the ineffective Robin van Persie poked a volley wide.

Instead, it was Stoke who came closest to winning it, with Crouch hitting the woodwork and Diouf firing over, both from deliveries into the United area.

And the hosts were aggrieved - perhaps justifiably - when Crouch's header into the raised arm of Smalling did not result in a penalty.

Ryan Shawcross scores

Stoke scorer Ryan Shawcross joined Stoke from Manchester United in 2007

Radamel Falcao scores

Radamel Falcao scored with United's first effort on target

Radamel Falcao

The Colombian has scored three Premier League goals for United

Ashley Young

United lost Ashley Young to a hamstring injury

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes

Stoke manager Mark Hughes felt the Potters should have been awarded two penalties

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (4)

Stoke City

  • 01 Begovic
  • 20 Cameron
  • 17 Shawcross
  • 05 Muniesa
  • 03 Pieters
  • 19 Walters
  • 15 N'Zonzi
  • 06 Whelan
  • 10 Arnautovic (Assaidi - 81' )
  • 25 Crouch
  • 18 Diouf

Substitutes

  • 02 Bardsley
  • 04 Huth
  • 12 Wilson
  • 16 Adam
  • 22 Butland
  • 24 Assaidi
  • 34 Shenton

Manchester United

  • 01 de Gea
  • 06 Evans
  • 12 Smalling
  • 04 Jones
  • 10 Rooney
  • 18 Young (Rafael - 75' )
  • 08 Mata
  • 03 Shaw (Januzaj - 64' )
  • 16 Carrick
  • 20 van Persie
  • 09 Falcao (Herrera - 64' )

Substitutes

  • 02 Rafael
  • 11 Januzaj
  • 13 Lindegaard
  • 21 Herrera
  • 24 Fletcher
  • 42 Blackett
  • 49 Wilson
Ref: Michael Oliver
Att: 27,203

Match Stats

Possession

34 66

Shots

10 6

On target

2 2

Corners

11 7

Fouls

8 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Stoke City 1, Manchester United 1.

90:00 +2:17 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Stoke City 1, Manchester United 1.

90:00 +1:48

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Glenn Whelan.

90:00 +1:08

Attempt saved. Oussama Assaidi (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mame Biram Diouf.

89:39

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Erik Pieters.

89:37

Attempt missed. Rafael (Manchester United) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Ander Herrera.

82:54

Foul by Phil Jones (Manchester United).

82:54

Oussama Assaidi (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

81:20

Foul by Phil Jones (Manchester United).

81:20

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

80:38 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Stoke City. Oussama Assaidi replaces Marko Arnautovic.

79:41

Attempt missed. Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Glenn Whelan.

78:40

Attempt missed. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Adnan Januzaj with a cross.

76:32

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Wayne Rooney.

75:54

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Rafael.

75:15

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Phil Jones.

74:07 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Rafael replaces Ashley Young because of an injury.

73:42

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

73:12

Delay in match Ashley Young (Manchester United) because of an injury.

71:11

Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).

71:11

Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

69:38

Attempt blocked. Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic with a cross.

69:06

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Chris Smalling.

69:03

Attempt blocked. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

68:36

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Wayne Rooney.

68:32

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) hits the right post with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic with a cross following a set piece situation.

67:54

Foul by Chris Smalling (Manchester United).

67:54

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

67:32

Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).

67:32

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

66:47

Attempt missed. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Juan Mata with a through ball.

63:57

Attempt blocked. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic with a cross.

63:30

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Phil Jones.

63:06 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Adnan Januzaj replaces Luke Shaw.

63:02 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Ander Herrera replaces Falcao.

62:24

Offside, Manchester United. Michael Carrick tries a through ball, but Luke Shaw is caught offside.

60:57

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Geoff Cameron.

60:26

Attempt saved. Phil Jones (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Juan Mata with a cross.

59:46

Phil Jones (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

59:46

Foul by Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City).

58:36

Falcao (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

58:36

Foul by Marc Muniesa (Stoke City).

56:29

Chris Smalling (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

56:29

Foul by Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City).

54:16

Falcao (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

54:16

Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

50:29

Offside, Stoke City. Steven N'Zonzi tries a through ball, but Marko Arnautovic is caught offside.

46:12

Foul by Falcao (Manchester United).

46:12

Marc Muniesa (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Stoke City 1, Manchester United 1.

45:00 +1:03 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Stoke City 1, Manchester United 1.

44:39

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Chris Smalling.

39:05

Foul by Luke Shaw (Manchester United).

39:05

Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

37:38

Offside, Stoke City. Marko Arnautovic tries a through ball, but Mame Biram Diouf is caught offside.

37:20

Foul by Falcao (Manchester United).

37:20

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

34:03

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Chris Smalling.

32:52

Falcao (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

32:52

Foul by Marc Muniesa (Stoke City).

32:05

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Luke Shaw.

28:22

Attempt missed. Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic with a cross following a set piece situation.

27:44

Foul by Falcao (Manchester United).

27:44

Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

26:52

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Ashley Young.

25:51 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Stoke City 1, Manchester United 1. Falcao (Manchester United) left footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Michael Carrick with a headed pass following a corner.

25:26

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

22:54

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Glenn Whelan.

22:21

Phil Jones (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22:21

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

21:46

Foul by Jonny Evans (Manchester United).

21:46

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

18:41

Attempt missed. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic.

17:29

Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

16:49

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

16:49

Foul by Steven N'Zonzi (Stoke City).

12:00

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Marko Arnautovic.

10:55

Chris Smalling (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

10:55

Foul by Jonathan Walters (Stoke City).

9:42

Foul by Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

9:42

Marc Muniesa (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

8:57

Foul by Ashley Young (Manchester United).

8:57

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

7:45

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Marc Muniesa.

1:49 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Stoke City 1, Manchester United 0. Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) right footed shot from very close range to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Peter Crouch following a corner.

1:47

Attempt blocked. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic with a cross.

1:24

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Luke Shaw.

0:23

Offside, Manchester United. Jonny Evans tries a through ball, but Robin van Persie is caught offside.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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