Manchester United will be aiming to continue their upturn in form when they take on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
Premier League football resumes this weekend with Gameweek 11, the penultimate matchday before the final international break of 2019. Manchester United will be in action first up this weekend, as they make the trip to the south coast to lock horns with Bournemouth at Dean Court in Saturday’s lunch-time kick-off.
Bournemouth have started the 2019-20 season in pretty much the same fashion as they had last term. The Cherries are currently placed at 9th on the Premier League table, having lost just three of their 10 games so far. But, Eddie Howe’s men have seen their form slide in the last one month, failing to win each of their last 5 games in all competitions, with goals coming at a premium.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have showed signs of resurgence in recent weeks. The away hoodoo is slowly starting to become a thing of the past, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s charges finally putting an end to their troubles on the road, winning each of their latest three away fixtures.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a come-from-behind 2-1 win for Manchester United, with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford producing the goods. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Eddie Howe does not have any fresh injury concerns to deal with ahead of the visit of Manchester United. On Saturday, the Bournemouth manager will be without three first-team players, with Charlie Daniels (knee), David Brooks (ankle) and Junior Stanislas (knee) sidelined with their respective injuries.
The positive update on the aforementioned absentees is that Brooks is inching closer to his return to action, with the 22-year-old slated to be available later this month. In his absence, Ryan Fraser and Harry Wilson will be the two wide men for Bournemouth.
Fraser has been a shell of his creative best this season and Howe will need the Scot to rediscover his peak form in order to trouble Manchester United on Saturday. Wilson, meanwhile, will supply the pace on the right wing. Fraser and Wilson will flank Jefferson Lerma and Lewis Cook, who will have to keep things tight in the middle of the park.
Callum Wilson will be the key player for Bournemouth, leading the line for the hosts. Joshua King will play off the English international, with his movement holding the key in disrupting a constantly improving Manchester United defence.
At the back, Diego Rico will continue to deputise in the absence of Daniels, with Nathan Ake, Steve Cook and Adam Smith being certain starters in the defensive line for the Cherries. Aaron Ramsdale is an automatic pick in goal for Bournemouth, and the impressive young goalkeeper will likely be a busy man between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Ramsdale; Smith, Steve Cook, Ake, Rico; Harry Wilson, Lerma, Lewis Cook, Fraser; Callum Wilson, King
Manchester United might have turned a corner in the past fortnight as far as results are concerned. But, injuries continue to plague Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad, with the manager sweating over the fitness of three first-team regulars ahead of the trip to Bournemouth.
Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford all picked up knocks in the 2-1 win over Chelsea and are facing a race against time to make the starting lineup against Bournemouth.
Other than the trio, Diogo Dalot (hip), Axel Tuanzebe (hip), Luke Shaw (thigh), Nemanja Matic (knock), Paul Pogba (ankle) all remain sidelined for the foreseeable future, while Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are long-term absentees due to their respective knee injuries.
David de Gea ought to return in goal after being rested in the midweek fixture against Chelsea. The team ahead of him, meanwhile, might line up in a different formation, with Solskjaer likely to revert to the 4-2-3-1.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka will start on the right side of the Manchester United defence, while Ashley Young should return on the opposite flank, despite an impressive performance by Brandon Williams. Lindelof and Maguire are likely to start, although Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are backup options in case the two cannot shrug off their respective knocks.
In the midfield double pivot, the absence of Matic and Pogba means there is no looking past Scott McTominay and Fred. Fresh off being named the Manchester United Player of the Month for October, McTominay will be in-charge of stifling the Bournemouth attack while the resurgent Fred will look to transition from defence to midfield smoothly.
Andreas Pereira ought to return to the starting lineup, replacing Jesse Lingard to reprise the no. 10 role. Daniel James has grown to become a key player this season and will start on the right side of the Manchester United attack, with Anthony Martial leading the line against Bournemouth. If Rashford is not fit to start, James could move to the left, with Lingard keeping his place in the side.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; McTominay, Fred; James, Pereira, Rashford; Martial
1. Manchester United to win @ 2.15
2. Anthony Martial to score anytime @ 2.87
1. Manchester United to win to NIL @ 4.00
- Bournemouth won their first Premier League game against Manchester United, beating them 2-1 in 2015. But, the Cherries are winless in the seven subsequent meetings, losing six times (D1).
- Bournemouth have failed to score in their last three Premier League games (D2 L1). They last went four without a goal in league competition back in March 2012, and have never done so in the Premier League.
- Manchester United have failed to keep a clean sheet in their past 10 Premier League away games, one short of their longest such run in the division (between August 2002 to January 2003).
- Bournemouth have won just two of their last 11 league matches at home (D5 L4), and have drawn three of their five games at the Vitality Stadium this season.
- Only four players have scored a Premier League goal for Manchester United this season, a joint-low for the division.
Player to Watch
Manchester United have not been renowned to score goals by the bagfuls this season. But, in the presence of Anthony Martial, they seem to look like a completely different unit. It is hardly a coincidence that Martial has played some part in each game in which they have found the back of the net more than once.
The Frenchman has either scored (3) or assisted (1) a goal in each of his four Premier League starts this season and has had a hand in 16 goals in his last 20 starts in the competition. His movement brings the likes of Marcus Rashford and Daniel James into the game, creating space for the duo to exploit.
Add to it the fact that very few are as clinical as him in front of goal, and it becomes clear that Martial is perhaps, the most important player for Manchester United at present. And, against Bournemouth, the striker’s output will hold the key once again for the visitors.
Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester United
After a strong start to the season, the goals are starting to dry up for Bournemouth. While they are still in a decent position on the Premier League table, the Cherries are lacking the cutting edge, with Ryan Fraser’s slip in form being especially concerning for the hosts.
Manchester United, on the other hand, are finally starting to find some stability this season, with Anthony Martial helping turn their fortunes around. The Frenchman will be crucial for the visitors once again on Saturday, with his and Marcus Rashford’s form making United the favourites, if only slightly so.
Expect another smash and grab affair, much like the corresponding fixture last season, with Manchester United failing to keep a clean sheet on the road again. But, the Hard Tackle predicts Ole Gunnar Solskjaer & co. to come out on top in the end, grabbing a 2-1 win to climb up to fifth on the standings.