Manchester United just can't seem to get out of gear 2 away from home. 20 games into the league season and there's just the two away wins to show for our efforts away from home. In the context of our season's targets, it's by no means a disaster to come away from Spurs and Stoke with two points. It is however frustrating when you consider how close to the summit we would have been if we had at least turned one of those draws into wins.
Over at the Brittannia, it made for difficult viewing because a lof the football was simply agricultural. United struggled to string decent passes consistently in the final third and as a result created very little. Just like in the Villa game, we were not able to push on from the equaliser. Not to get carried away though, we played so poorly at times that we could have lost the game. United were too slow going forward that Stoke hardly broke sweat in regaining their shape when defending. Our defence was yet again a sorry bag of nerves not least because Jonny Evans was determined to make a mistake that would lead to a goal.
Ironically, Stoke's comfort in agricultural football possibly saved us from defeat. When Mame Biram Diouf was through on goal at 1-0 up for the hosts, a striker in a silkier team would have found no problem bending that past De Gea and into the net. Thank heavens then that Diouf's feet were so tuned into raw football that he couldn't quite achieve the curl on the ball that was required at that particular time.
Besides the fact that we did not lose, the other positive to take away from the goal was a third league goal for Radamel Falcao. 2015 has got to be a good year for him if he is to force the club into a £50m investment. He was slightly better yesterday than he was at White Harte Lane and possibly deserved to stay on the pitch much longer than he did.
What we've managed to do is to lose our points advantage over the chasing pack with our next fixture coming up against the side that is just a point behind us.
There's no more credit left in the bank ahead of the next set of games. If we don't do better next time out, we will relinquish the comfort of 3rd place.
Incredibly without winning, we've clawed back one point on the league leaders. You will therefore hear whispers of title talk between now and 11th January. Sort out the away form and anything is still possible, but as it is, we already have a fight on our hands to keep third.