9 clearances, 2 interceptions; Chris Smalling continues impressive return to form

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling impressed against Stoke City on Tuesday night.

Manchester United racked up another home win on Tuesday night, defeating Stoke City 2-1 at Old Trafford, with goals from Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata handing the Red Devils all three points.

One of the lingering concerns for United is over their defensive options, but one player stood out against the Potters to ease fans concerns.

Chris Smalling came in for heavy criticism from United fans after his rash sending off in the Manchester derby, but has bounced back, putting in a superb show against Stoke.

  PositionTeamWon TackleTotal ClearanceHead ClearanceInterceptionMins Played
Chris Smalling DF Man Utd 1 9 7 2 90

Smalling, who started at centre back alongside Marcos Rojo, was impressive throughout against Stoke, and the stats back that assertion up.

One won tackle isn't particularly impressive, but nine clearances - seven with his head, which is always important against Stoke - was a great display from Smalling.

Alongside two interceptions as well, this is the kind of display that United fans have been wanting from Smalling, but now he has to be more consistent.

The former Fulham star needs to build on this display in the coming games, and prove to Louis van Gaal that he can be the answer to United's defensive woes.

With Jonny Evans and Phil Jones still out injured, Smalling certainly has the opportunity to make himself a regular in the United back four - the chance is there, go and seize it.

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