Manchester United beat Stoke 3-0 at Old Trafford

A Paul Pogba-inspired Manchester United cruised to victory as incoming Stoke boss Paul Lambert watched his new side’s struggles continue at Old Trafford.

The France midfielder created first-half goals for Antonio Valencia and Anthony Martial, added to by Romelu Lukaku after the break as Jose Mourinho’s men cut Manchester City’s lead at the top of the Premier League to 12 points.

United might have had an early penalty when Martial was felled by Stoke debutant Moritz Bauer, but referee Anthony Taylor waved away protests.

Two minutes later, Pogba charged forward and found Valencia, who cut inside Josh Tymon and fired into the top corner with his left foot.

Martial collected Pogba’s pass and bent a superb finish past goalkeeper Jack Butland from 20 yards for the second – before Lukaku rifled home the third late in the game.

Stoke did create several chances. Midfielder Stephen Ireland – starting his first game since April 2015 – should have scored from 12 yards but fired wide, and goalkeeper David de Gea made excellent stops to deny Xherdan Shaqiri and substitute Mame Biram Diouf.

The Potters, beaten by three or more goals for the seventh time this season, remain in the relegation zone, a point adrift of fourth-bottom Southampton.

Meanwhile, Manchester City have decided not to pursue their interest in signing Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

The club have decided the cost of pursuing the 29-year-old would be prohibitively expensive.

It is understood the wages being demanded by Sanchez would have put him ahead of all City’s star men, something the club decided they would not do.

Manchester United are favourites to sign the Chile international after indicating they are willing to meet the Gunners’ £35m asking price for the forward.

Chelsea are also interested in the player.

They claim the overall package being negotiated is higher than the £60m for which Arsenal agreed to sell Sanchez to City in the summer.

City still believe Sanchez would prefer to join them, given his past relationship with Guardiola and the fact he pushed to join them in the summer.

However, they view it as highly unlikely Sanchez will drop his financial demands to a level that would allow them to resume talks.

  

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