Analysing Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's influential display for Stoke City against Manchester United
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting played a starring role as Stoke City managed to take a point at home to Manchester United. This was the fifth successive occasion that United had failed to pick up a victory at the Bet365 Stadium as the home side once again showed themselves to be a difficult team to beat. It was touch and go as to whether the Cameroon international would be passed fit in time, but he pulled through and delivered the best performance of his short Potters’ career.
The 28-year-old arrived under the radar as one of the attacking replacements for Marko Arnautovic. There were some supporters that thought the club were skimping out as he was available on a free transfer. However, he showed today how good he is and Mark Hughes will be hoping that the former Schalke man is more consistent than the player he is replacing.
It was an afternoon to remember as he scored the two goals that won his side a point. The first was great movement to get in behind the Manchester United back four, but the two passes in the build-up gave him a simple task of finishing the move off. The finish was a confident one and gave him momentum to get better as the game progressed.
Stoke like to have attackers with physical presence and Choupo-Moting showed that he can handle himself in the air with an excellent header to equalise in the second half. The marking was poor from Phil Jones, but take nothing away from the finish. During the match, the Cameroon international attempted six shots and offered a real threat in the final third.
Choupo-Moting is willing to make things happen and doesn’t shy away from taking responsibility in the attacking half. He completed four dribbles against Manchester United and one of them was a superb piece of individual skill in the second half, as he moved his team a long way up the pitch. Like any attacker, the 28-year-old is much more effective when he is confident and he was at his best on Saturday.
Hughes likes to coach players with attacking flair, but he expects them to do their bit when the team doesn’t have possession. Choupo-Moting works hard and is happy to contribute defensively. This was always going to be a tough fixture against Manchester United and every player was going to have to run themselves into the ground to get a result. He completed four ball recoveries on Saturday and made two clearances.
This was a complete display from the Cameroon attacker and it will have whetted the appetite of every Stoke City supporter watching the game. They have had their fair share of mercurial attacking talent in recent seasons and won’t want to get carried away based on this single performance. However, if Choupo-Moting can deliver consistency, he could turn out to be one of the best value signings of the summer transfer window.