Man U vs. Bournemouth
Venue: Old Trafford
Kick off: 3PM
Relegation-threatened Bournemouth make the long journey to Old Trafford today to face a Manchester United side on the brink of breaking into the Premier League’s top four.
Bournemouth lie 19th in the table on 27 points – one adrift of safety – whereas United are two behind fourth-placed Chelsea, having amassed 52 points from 32 matches.
Having gone into the coronavirus-enforced shutdown off the back of a stellar run of form, questions were naturally raised as to whether Man United would have been able to keep that momentum going after a three-month break.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have answered those questions in perfect fashion and have now gone 15 games unbeaten in all competitions, and the Red Devils will be aiming to win their fourth game on the bounce when they play host to an out-of-sorts Bournemouth side this afternoon.
United built on their FA Cup quarter-final success over Norwich City with a dominant 3-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in midweek, with Bruno Fernandes bagging a brace after Mason Greenwood broke the deadlock on the South Coast.
Furthermore, Solskjaer’s men look well on their way to making Old Trafford the fortress it once was in the days of Sir Alex Ferguson – United have gone five games without conceding on home soil and have notched up 13 goals in their last four home outings.
With Chelsea and Leicester City both suffering defeats last time out, the United faithful will certainly feel that their side are capable of a top-four finish for only the third time in seven seasons, although their current fifth-placed standing may prove to be enough for a Champions League berth should Manchester City’s European ban be upheld.
In contrast, Bournemouth have shown little signs of revival since the English top flight resumed, and the Cherries were condemned to their fourth defeat in a row as Newcastle United revelled in a 4-1 victory at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday.
Eddie Howe was without his top scorer Callum Wilson, but even if the Englishman had featured in this fixture it would have made little difference as Bournemouth’s defensive frailties were exposed once again.
The Cherries are now winless in seven since their 2-1 victory over fellow strugglers Aston Villa at the start of February, and they have lost six of their last seven fixtures in the Premier League – the outlier being a 2-2 draw with Chelsea at the Vitality.
In fact, Frank Lampard’s side were the last team that Bournemouth managed to triumph against away from home, with the Cherries currently on a seven-game losing streak on their travels, and Howe’s men have only amassed 13 points on the road all season.
However, Bournemouth did manage to record a 1-0 victory over Solskjaer’s side when the sides locked horns in the reverse fixture, with former United protege Joshua King netting the only goal of the game back in November.
Man U possible XI: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, Matic, Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial.
Bournemouth possible XI: Ramsdale, Stacey, Mepham, Ake, Smith, Brooks, L. Cook, Lerma, Gosling, Stanislas, King.