Manchester United vs. AFC Bournemouth Preview

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PREVIEW: Manchester United vs. AFC Bournemouth

Date: Saturday 4th July 2020 3pm

Venue: Old Trafford

Competition: Premier League

Channel: BT Sport

Official: Mike Dean

 

As Katy Perry says in her hit song ‘Firework’, “Just own the night like the Fourth of July”.

 

As the UK reduces its social distancing from two metres to one, Man United welcome relegation strugglers Bournemouth in order to reduce their distance on the Top 4. Since Project Restart, United have been the inform team in the league with confident wins over Sheffield United and Brighton and Hove Albion and they were helped when their chances of Champions League qualification were significantly increased with both Leicester and Chelsea losing to Everton and West Ham respectively and Tottenham losing pace with a loss to Sheffield United. The race for Champions League qualification is shown below.

 

As for Bournemouth, they are in deep trouble and despite only being a single point away from 17th placed Watford, their remaining fixtures proves that even getting that point will be a tough ask. With home games against Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and a south coast derby with inform Southampton and trips to Man City and Everton, it’s hard to see where the points will come for Eddie Howe’s men.

 

Both teams have places to fight for with major financial implications on the line, but can Bournemouth finally find their feet and claim a surprise victory at Old Trafford and upset Champions League chasers Manchester United?

 

Last Meeting

The last meeting is one reason for United fans to be cautious, with Bournemouth recording a 1-0 victory over ‘The Red Devils’ at The Vitality.

 

November 2nd saw the two sides down on the south coast with neither team knowing what they would be fighting for come the end of the season. In a game that won’t win any entertainment awards any time soon, Bournemouth grabbed a goal on the stroke of half time through Josh King, a player that could have easily swapped sides for the upcoming encounter on Januarys’ transfer deadline day. That goal proved to be enough as ‘The Cherries’ walked away winners in a less than thrilling encounter.

 

For United, these were pre-Bruno Fernandes days, which is becoming a whole separate era in ‘Red Devil history’, and without Paul Pogba due to injury too, the creativity was lacking.

 

For Bournemouth, the last meeting is something to hold on to but with United at full strength and full form, this game might be a big problem for an out of form less than strong ‘Cherries’ side.

Team News

For the first time, in a few years at least, the team news is something to look forward to and with bated breath. Solskjaer finally knows his strongest side and without any injury concerns as of yet, he can confidently pick that side. But should he continue playing this team or switch a few players up to rest them in a game that should be a breeze for Ole’s men?

 

Formation

Let’s not waste time. 4-3-3. Anything else is a stupid idea. Go with what works.

 

VERDICT: 4-3-3

 

Goalkeeper

David De Gea earnt himself an UP in the converted Ups and Downs article against Brighton. He had nothing to do until the 70th minute where he made two wonder saves in the final 20 to maintain his clean sheet. That sort of concentration is what a keeper needs. De Gea has been questioned recently but with back to back clean sheets and having only conceded one since the restart, he’s got to stay in the net to continue to build up his confidence since the Spurs error.

 

VERDICT: David De Gea

 

Defenders

Right Back is a position that shouldn’t be debated. Aaron Wan Bissaka has been one of the best defensive signings for United in a long while and he offers Solskjaer and the United fans confidence when wingers attack down the right. AWB is a must in that right back position especially against a more than likely wide Bournemouth side.

 

Bournemouth aren’t the most threatening team and with injury concerns up top, I reckon risking a shake up at the back is what United should do. I believe a start for Eric Bailly would be beneficial for Solskjaer’s men in order to give Maguire a rest, having played every minute since the restart.

 

United should then test the partnership of Bailly alongside Lindelof. A defensive partnership is crucial to success at a top club and the Lindelof Bailly connection is just fantasy at this moment so against a Bournemouth team with a lack of attacking threat, now will be a good time to test this duo and give captain Maguire a much-needed rest.

 

I am a very outspoken fan of United youngster Brandon Williams and since Project Restart he hasn’t featured anywhere near as much as United fans thought. Shaw is finally hitting a stride in the team but also requires a rest so having Williams is ideal as he is a great replacement for the former Southampton man and he will show that against Bournemouth. Brandon Williams completes a changed and risky defensive.

 

VERDICT: Aaron Wan Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams

 

Midfielders

Ole has teased changes for this match but I have my fingers crossed that he wasn’t referring to the midfielder. United’s midfield three have been raved about since lockdown and you can see why. They compliment each other and each one’s style allows the other two to reach their potential. No changes required in terms of the defensive midfield please Ole. Matic starts.

 

Paul Pogba is playing some of his best football since signing from Juventus and with him missing so many games due to injury pre-pandemic, he has a lot more to prove and that is why United should keep the World Cup winner in the team. Yes, he makes a huge impact off the bench but why sideline the most talented player in your ranks even if the opposition looks weakened? Got to be Pogba for me.

 

I have a really bad feeling that Ole will bench Bruno Fernandes. He has played a lot of minutes recently and despite only playing 60 on Tuesday, I still feel Bruno will be given a rest. I can’t express how much of a bad idea that could be. United were in prison before his arrival and he isn’t just a key to unlock but blow the walls open. Even against Bournemouth it’s a must win for Ole and the team and a must win means a must start for the Portuguese magician.

 

VERDICT: Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes

 

Forwards

You now that bad feeling I just talked about? Yeah, it’s back. I can just see me loading up Manchester United Twitter to Daniel James’s name in that right-wing position. Firstly, its worth saying that if it wasn’t for Dan James, United wouldn’t be as much in a Champions League fight as they are. With that being said, I don’t feel more passionately about any position than this one. Mason Greenwood played his best game yet against Brighton and that should be rewarded with praise and not a start on the bench in the next game. Ole, I’m warning you, don’t do it. Don’t start Dan James.

 

This is an interesting one. If there was one player that hasn’t been as in form as he can be since lockdown, it’s Marcus Rashford. His heroics off the pitch sadly hasn’t transferred back onto the football field but that doesn’t mean I advocate him being rested. Before his injury, Rashford was one of the best wide players in world football and I believe he will return to that form in good time. Keep him playing and his form will come.

 

Martial has had an inconsistent start since lockdown but he is the right man for the job. He is capable of scoring goals a plenty, Sheffield United case in point. Ighalo is a good but he should only be used off the bench when the Frenchman is fit. Martial can have a fantastic game so I say play him.

 

VERDICT: Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial

 

Bournemouth News

Callum Wilson is the notable emission from ‘The Cherries’ squad due to the second half of his suspension after accumulating his 10th yellow card against Wolves. Bournemouth started Dom Solanke to partner Josh King against Newcastle but after losing 4-1, I think we can put that one down as a failure. Solanke hasn’t scored for a Premier League goal for Bournemouth so who knows how many more chances Eddie Howe will give the Englishman.

 

Injury concerns for Simon Francis and Charlie Daniels will also cause Bournemouth a few problems defensively. ‘The Cherries’ will be far from full strength which will give United confidence going into this encounter.

 

Can United avoid an upset and put aside Bournemouth? Leave your thoughts below

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