Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao rescued a 1-1 draw at Stoke on New Year's Day, extending his team's unbeaten run to 10 matches in the Premier League and providing a timely demonstration of what he can offer the Red Devils.
Ryan Shawcross put the home side ahead before the Monaco loanee showed his poacher's instinct to level the score.
Recent reports imply that the Red Devils will decide whether to make Falcao's move permanent in April, giving the 28-year-old significantly longer than first expected to impress the club's hierarchy. Following his cruciate repair last summer, it has taken a while for Falcao to return to full fitness. In recent weeks, however, he has be able to show glimpses of his world-class ability,
As usual, the Colombian international was prepared to put in a shift against Stoke, showing his readiness to chase every loose ball. He was only afforded one shooting opportunity throughout his appearance, but he finished with aplomb. It was a performance of great industry from the centre-forward, whose clipped close-range finish was thoroughly deserved.
Whether Manchester United will offer Falcao a long-term deal remains to be seen. There's no doubt the marksman is among the Premier League's best poachers, it's just a question of whether he can cope with the physical demands of English football.
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Falcao found himself dispossessed on seven occasions against the Potters, while his first touch let him down four times. While his poor control proved costly at times, he still held the ball up reasonably well, completing 84% of his passes and finding success in one attempted dribble.
In general, playing against a Stoke City side renowned for their bullish playing style, it is fair to say the former Atletico forward looked capable of living up to the challenge. In fact, it was a real surprise to see him removed on the hour mark because of Louis van Gaal's chosen strike partnership, he was by far the most productive.
This was Falcao's third goal in seven starts for the Red Devils since his summer move - a scoring rate that will fill him and his manager with confidence, if his recent injury troubles are taken into consideration. Supposedly, this is a player far from his best form, and still, he already appears fully capable of taking the English top flight by storm.