Manchester United will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to rock-bottom West Brom as they travel to face Bournemouth on Wednesday.
It’s official! To the dread of the Manchester United fans, their neighbours Manchester City have secured the Premier League title. But, the manner of United’s concession of the title – a 1-0 loss to rock-bottom West Brom in what was one of the most disappointing performances of the season – would have hurt the fans.
Nevertheless, this week will be crucial for United, with the second place at stake, along with a spot in the FA Cup final. Jose Mourinho would hope to go into the match against Tottenham with some momentum, making the tie against Bournemouth a must-win clash.
Bournemouth themselves, have been very inconsistent this season and rightly find themselves stacked right in the middle of the Premier League table. Still with 38 points, Eddie Howe would be looking to cross the 40-point mark as soon as possible to confirm their Premier League status for the next season.
Manchester United looked wobbly against West Brom and Bournemouth might want to take advantage of the visitors’ vulnerability. Their last encounter at Dean Court saw Manchester United prevail with a scoreline of 3-1. Ahead of their latest meeting, we take a closer look at the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
After the 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool, changes are necessary and Eddie Howe is likely to ring in the changes for the tie against Manchester United on Wednesday. Two players who are certain to miss the match are Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas, both of whom are still reeling with their respective injuries.
Tyrone Mings lacks match fitness and is unlikely to feature against Manchester United. The 5-4-1 did not work against Liverpool and Howe will reinstate the four-man backline while also being more adventurous going forward.
Ryan Fraser will be the one to be pushed forward to convert the five-man backline into the usual back-four. Fraser will take his place on the right, with Jordon Ibe likely to drop to the bench.
Marc Pugh should come in on the left side, with Josh King being pushed forward to play his preferred role as the second striker, off the back of the frontman – a role likely to be played by Callum Wilson, as Jermaine Defoe should be afforded some rest.
Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Begovic; Francis, Steve Cook, Ake, Daniels; Fraser, Lewis Cook, Gosling, Pugh; King; Wilson
While Sergio Romero is the only injury concern for Manchester United, Jose Mourinho has already iterated that he will drop some players from the abject 1-0 defeat at West Brom, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and other high-profile players likely to be given a reality check by the manager on Wednesday.
The defence could finally see Eric Bailly return to the starting lineup while we could see Victor Lindelof being retained by the manager. Luke Shaw could also be handed a shock start after not being in the recent matchday squads, a welcome change after it seemed like the Englishman is destined for the exit door.
Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez are all likely to be dropped for the Wednesday tie, which could mean a return to the starting lineup for the young stars – Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. It will be interesting to see the front four of Martial, Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku at work again after their early-season exploits.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, McTominay; Rashford, Lingard, Martial; Lukaku
1. In the 4 away defeats in the Premier League, Manchester United have just scored 1 goal in total.
2. Clinical difference – Despite United taking 1.5 shots per game more than Bournemouth in the league, the Red Devils have scored 22 goals more than the home side.
3. Lively Encounter – Both the teams have gotten on the scoresheet in all but one of their last 5 encounters, with Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth in December 2017 the only time either team has kept a clean sheet in the aforementioned matches.
4. Manchester United have, in fact, failed to score in just one of their previous 13 meetings in all competitions, the only time being a 2-0 loss to Bournemouth in the FA Cup in 1984.
5. Romelu Lukaku has a brilliant record against Bournemouth, scoring 7 goals in 6 appearances against the Cherries, with his side winning 4 of those matches.
Players to Watch
Marcus Rashford & Anthony Martial
This is one of those rare times when we go with two players instead of one. Much has been made of the duo’s future at Manchester United, with even Jose Mourinho stating that he can only start 11 players despite having an abundance of talent available. The duo though, are likely to be afforded starts after United’s insipid display against West Brom.
Rashford and Martial have both been linked with summer exits – a dreadful potential sight for Manchester United, with the two players being fan favourites. On Wednesday, they can show Jose Mourinho just why they deserve a larger chunk of playing time compared to the other members of the squad.
Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester United
Manchester United are likely to come out of the gates quick, especially if Jose Mourinho fields the quartet in attack as aforementioned. United are likely to race ahead to a good lead by half-time and we should see a dominant performance by the visitors on Wednesday.
But, a clean sheet looks unlikely, given their recent defensive troubles. We expect a repeat of the scoreline from when Manchester United visited Dean Court.