Man United made a positive start to the match and went in front after 14 minutes played when Lingard headed home a Cameron Borthwick-Jackson cross. Martial then spurned a good chance to make it two for United before Marouane Fellaini blocked Glen Johnson’s goalbound strike. United were enjoying themselves in what was a hugely encouraging first half and Martial eventually doubled their advantage with a superb curling effort.
Rooney wasted no time in adding a third for United following the break, tapping the ball into the net after Martial’s low cross. It proved to be the last goal of the game as United wrapped up a convincing win.
Lingard has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Old Trafford this season and he continued his good form with a goal against Stoke.
Showing good anticipation to get on the end of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s excellent cross, Lingard nodded in from close range to give United the lead. It was the first time that United have scored in the first half at home since September and it was just reward for their enterprising start.
The Frenchman followed up his superb display against Derby last time out with a stunning goal at Old Trafford.
After excellent work from Mata and Rooney, Martial picked up the ball on the left hand side of the pitch before curling in to the opposite side of the goal. It was a sensational finish and one that embodied the promise that Martial has shown since his arrival in the summer. There is no doubt whatsoever that Martial will be a special player in the coming years.
Excellent first half
United played with a conviction, intensity and pace that has been sorely lacking in recent months in the first half of the match against Stoke.
Louis van Gaal’s side went into the break with a two-goal lead, something which has been a rarity lately, and it could have quite easily been three had Juan Mata’s header not been off-target. The shackles were taken off his players by van Gaal and the reward was there for all to see.
Where was this Rooney in 2015? The United captain now has seven goals in seven games and his form has been unrecognisable compared to the sort of displays he was putting in last year.
The Englishman appears to have been galvanised after being dropped against Stoke in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day and van Gaal deserves credit for the role he has played in Rooney’s turnaround in form.
You can stick your Guardiola up your arse!
United supporters were in fine voice at Old Trafford and their chant about Guardiola was a funny one as their side put on an excellent display, albeit ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek.
Van Gaal has been under huge pressure as of late but it looks like he has responded to criticism by allowing United to express themselves more freely. The result is a performance of the calibre of the one against Stoke and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that this is how United must play going forward.