Manchester United closed the gap on runaway league leaders Manchester City with a 3-0 victory over Stoke on Monday Night Football.

City’s lead now stands at 12 points after goals from Antonio Valencia, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku swept aside Stoke, who had their new boss Paul Lambert watching on from the stands.

The former Aston Villa and Norwich manager would have taken heart from the performance in the first half where the visitors created multiple chances but either spurned them or were denied by David de Gea, who was keeping his 13th clean sheet of the season.

Stoke remain in the relegation zone, one point from safety, while United move three points above Liverpool and Chelsea in second.

United did not have to wait long for their opener as their first shot resulted in a goal.

United were in front with their first shot on goal on nine minutes when Valencia, back after a month out injured, rifled home an effort from just inside the area with left-foot.

Stoke responded well, but Stephen Ireland fired two opportunities wide, the second after he had been left all alone from 15 yards out.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting then latched onto a loose ball in the box but his shot was blocked behind by Phil Jones.

Martial made Stoke pay when he added a second seven minutes before the break.

Paul Pogba provided the assist with a crisp pass that was swept home by Martial from 20 yards.

David De Gea had to be alert to deny Xherdan Shaqiri just before half-time but that was the last of the Stoke threat as United bossed the second half.

A third goal came and wrapped up the points 18 minutes from time.

Martial’s pass was controlled by Lukaku, who held off two defenders and fired home a powerful effort.

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