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Stoke deliver United Boxing Day KO’

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Stoke City's striker Marko Arnautovic (L) celebrates with forward Xherdan Shaqiri (C) and striker Bojan Krkic after scoring during an English Premier League football match against Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium on December 5, 2015. PHOTO/AFP

Stoke City’s striker Marko Arnautovic (L) celebrates with forward Xherdan Shaqiri (C) and striker Bojan Krkic after scoring during an English Premier League football match against Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium on December 5, 2015. PHOTO/AFP

STOKE-ON-TRENT, December 26- Louis van Gaal’s position as Manchester United manager is in serious jeopardy after his side’s wretched form continued with a 2-0 defeat at Stoke City on Saturday.

Pre-match media reports suggested Van Gaal was one defeat away from the sack and the 64-year-old Dutchman saw his team’s run of games without a win extended to seven at a windswept Britannia Stadium.

A weak back header from Memphis Depay enabled Glen Johnson to tee up Bojan Krkic for Stoke’s opener in the 19th minute and Marko Arnautovic brilliantly slammed home the hosts’ second goal seven minutes later after Bojan’s free-kick hit the wall.

It is United’s worst run of results since an eight-game winless streak between December 1989 and January 1990, which could cost Van Gaal his job 18 months after his appointment as the successor to David Moyes.

Van Gaal, who dropped captain Wayne Rooney to the bench, had described the fixture as “must-win”, having stormed out of his pre-match media conference due to the speculation about his future.

In the last month United have slipped out of the Premier League’s top four and been eliminated from the Champions League in the group phase following a 3-2 defeat at German side Wolfsburg.

They were knocked out of the League Cup by second-tier Middlesbrough in October.

United face Chelsea at Old Trafford on Monday and the defeat at Stoke is likely to fuel speculation that the 20-time English champions will turn to Jose Mourinho, who was sacked by Chelsea last week.

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