Radamel Falcao Manchester United
Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao brought back Manchester into the game.Reuters

Stoke City took the game to Manchester United as it finished 1-1. Stoke started the game brightly, taking an early lead with Ryan Shawcross coming up with a neat finish to find the back of the net.

Had it not been for Radamel Falcao, Manchester United would have started the year on a wrong note, losing their first match of the season.

Of late, Manchester United have not been in great form drawing three of their last four matches after winning six consecutive matches. The Red Devils currently lie on third place with 37 points from 20 matches.

Possession wise, it was Manchester United, who dominated the game thoroughly, where the Red Devils enjoyed 66 per cent possession. Despite that, they failed to create more chances to win the game.

In fact, one would have to say that Manchester United were a luckier side as Mame Biram Diouf came very close to goal, but struck it wide, while the former Liverpool player, Peter Crouch struck the woodwork with his header during the second half.

Louis van Gaal said, 'I think Stoke were closer to the victory with the ball on the post, and the first chance from Diouf was also not a little chance,'

'So they had two major chances and we didn't create so much in spite of the time and space.

'But it's more difficult because we are not so tall. (Steven) Nzonzi is taller and Crouch is taller, so it's not so easy. The opponent is always taller than us, 'reported Daily Mail.

Manchester United did not live upto their expectations with players of such high quality on the pitch. Wayne Rooney, Radamel Falcao, van Persie were thought to make Stoke's life miserable, but it was disappointing with only two attempts on target, the same number as that of Stoke.

If United play a similar game against Southampton next week, the Saints are going to make them pay as they must be high on confidence after the victory against Arsenal on Thursday.

But, one also needs to make a special mention of Ryan Shawcross, who came with a man of the match performance. He defended solidly to make Manchester United's attacking line look foolish.

The race for the EPL title is just getting interesting with Chelsea losing their game against Tottenham, and City winning their match against Sunderland. They both have 46 points from 20 matches. Had Manchester United had a good run in their last four matches, they would have been close to the title leaders.