The pressure on Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal increased with a 2-0 defeat against Stoke City at Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day.
- Stoke 2 Manchester United 0
- Bojan scores after Depay error
- Arnautovic grabs stunning second
- United lose third Premier League game in a row
- Stoke just three points behind United
The home side were well worth a win that was earned courtesy of a tap-in from Bojan and another stunning effort from a player having an outstanding season in Marko Arnautovic.
For United it was a third successive league defeat that left Van Gaal looking a little shell-shocked and the away fans singing the name of a certain Jose Mourinho.
Much like their recent performance over United's neighbours City, it was a Stoke side that came out with so much intent and United, who had Wayne Rooney starting from the bench, simply could not cope.
Indeed the Potters deservedly took the lead in the 19th minute when Memphis Depay found himself in the left-back position and tried to head the ball back to David de Gea, but the strong wind played a part as Glen Johnson nipped in and pulled the ball back for Bojan to prod home from six yards.
That advantage was doubled seven minutes later when the Potters were awarded a free-kick 20 yards out. Bojan's initial effort hit the wall but Arnautovic took a touch and lashed home a stunning strike from 25 yards that gave De Gea no chance.
Depay tried to atone for his mistake when he took aim with a free-kick from fully 35 yards but Jack Butland was equal to it.
Arnautovic then squandered a great opportunity to put the game beyond the visitors when he was played through on goal by a fine pass from Bojan but he pulled his shot wide from 20 yards.
Louis van Gaal introduced his skipper Rooney at the break and that move almost led to a goal back in the 64th minute when the England forward crossed for an unmarked Marouane Fellaini 10 yards out but his weak side-footed effort was superbly kept out by a diving Butland.
A great run from Ibrahim Affelay finished with a volley well wide as the Potters had another sight of goal in a second period where Mark Hughes' men looked to consolidate what they had after a decent period of pressure from the visitors.
Substitute Charlie Adam tried his luck with one of his half-way line specials that sailed just over, while at the other end Butland produced fine stops to deny Anthony Martial and then Juan Mata late on.