The in-form Reds are back in action as the struggling Cherries make the long journey to Old Trafford.
United are coming off an impressive 3-0 win on the seaside against Brighton. The game saw Mason Greenwood find the net once and Bruno Fernandes score twice – the second of which was a delightful counter-attack move that had shades of Fergie’s teams.
The win also saw them extend their unbeaten record to 15 games in all competitions.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, couldn’t have picked a worse time to play this fixture. Since the restart, they’ve lost all three of their games. They are coming off a spectacular 4-1 reverse at home to Newcastle.
They are in somewhat of a free fall and they’re currently in 19th place.
Here’s all the essential info ahead of the game:
Defenders Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are once again ruled out. The former is still a few weeks away from a comeback. The latter looks set to miss the remainder of the campaign which is a blow. Either have yet to feature since the return of football last month.
However, promising versatile Under 23s full back Ethan Laird has been drafted into the senior squad as planned.
Angel Gomes will no longer be involved with the squad in any capacity. He left the club on 1 July when his contract expired, after choosing not to renew.
Other than a couple of knocks, Ole has more or less a full squad to choose from.
Eddie Howe will be unable to call on the services of striker Callum Wilson. The England international serves the second of a two-game suspension, due to an accumulation of 10 yellow cards over the course of the campaign.
We could see a frontline of Dominic Solanke and former Red Joshua King who both started against the Magpies. The Norwegian, having just returned from an ankle injury, will be hugely motivated to do well against the club he grew up playing for.
On the defensive side, defenders Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis remain out with knee injuries. There are one or two other knocks from their midweek encounter.
It’s safe to say there could be some game-time decisions.
AFC Bournemouth 1 – 0 Manchester United 0
It was a day to forget at the Vitality Stadium earlier in the season. The Reds crashed to a 1-0 defeat, courtesy of a goal by former Academy graduate Joshua King. He struck a well-taken goal on the stroke of half-time and the visitors never recovered.
Going into the game, United will undoubtedly be fancied to win and extend their unbeaten run to 16 games in all competitions. There’s an opportunity to climb to third and go level on points with Leicester City. It’s seemingly the club’s aim and it should be.
The manager has hinted he could be freshening things up for the mid-afternoon clash with games starting to pile up and players expectantly picking up knocks. We could see a few who didn’t start on Tuesday make the team sheet come kick-off time and they will be looking to impress.
Meanwhile, Eddie Howe has an unenviable task in front of him. Having lost all three games since the restart (four, if you count before), his side seem to be struggling all over the pitch. They’ve struggled to score goals all season and have leaked in far too many on the other end.
You have to wonder where their next points will come from. On a positive note, they’re still only one point adrift of safety. Teams around them don’t look capable of winning too many games either. So, it might come down to who picks up the odd crucial point more than the other(s).
Saturday’s match will certainly not be an easy affair, with Bournemouth currently battling for every available point in their efforts to avoid the drop.
Eddie Howe has already said his troops are motivated to prove their doubters wrong and the home side should negate any complacency that creeps into their minds. Ole will be mindful of the changes he makes having witnessed what happened at Norwich in the FA Cup last weekend.
It should be a fascinating battle at The Theatre of Dreams!
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