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MOTM: Marcos Rojo, the goalscorer and Man of the Match against Bournemouth

Manchester United had the chance to propel themselves further towards their target for a top-four finish in the Premier League this season, all they needed to do was beat Bournemouth at Old Trafford. The match ended with a 1-1 draw with Marcos Rojo scoring the opening goal and then Phil Jones giving a penalty to the visitors, which was scored by former United Academy star Josh King. United then were awarded a penalty with Zlatan Ibrahimovic missing from the spot. The match was full of bad blood with both Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings avoiding a red card for a stamp on the Swede, then an elbow on Mings with Kevin Friend bottling making a decision, instead sending Andrew Surman off for protesting his decision, which warranted a card and a sending off for a foul on Luke Shaw earlier in the match. United will be looking back and wondering how they can get out of the rut they are in, and will also be looking at the miss Ibrahimovic will be if retrospective action is taken.

Marcos Rojo

Marcos Rojo returned to central defence partnering Phil Jones against Bournemouth. On the 23rd minute of the match, Rojo scored the opening goal, assisted by Antonio Valencia. Throughout the match, Rojo had three shots on goal, his goal and two further shots were blocked. His passing was fantastic, a 99% success rate, which helped United dominate the match, despite not being able to score a second goal to thwart the visitor’s penalty five minutes from the end of the first half. The Argentinian put three crosses into the box, one of those finding a teammate, but amounting to nothing. Defensively, Rojo made one interception, three clearances, and three blocks during the 1-1 encounter which may not have been the best match United have played this season, but will give Jose Mourinho options ahead of the next match, away to FC Rostov in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening.

David De Gea

David De Gea had little to do throughout the match, which shows how inept Bournemouth actually were. Just having him in goal is a good feeling as he is one of the best goalkeepers in world football. The penalty could not be saved by De Gea, despite picking the right side Josh King went for. Bournemouth had chances on goal but did not make De Gea make any saves throughout the match, which will be something for Eddie Howe to think about as Bournemouth’s Premier League survival is less than guaranteed at this stage of the season with them not winning any of their last six matches. There was little to talk about in the respect of United players this afternoon, with few looking like players to establish themselves in Mourinho’s side, begging more questions than answers as to what can be solved from the lacklustre display at the Theatre of Dreams.

Antonio Valencia

Antonio Valencia provided the assist for Marcos Rojo to score the first goal in the match against Bournemouth and his display both on and off the ball was good to see. The days of Valencia running on the right flanks as an attacking player may well be gone, but from the right-back position, Valencia has been on of the best in the league this season. The Ecuadorian;s passing was maintained at 82%, which is not as good as Rojo’s but helped to put United in a dominant attacking position against Eddie Howe’s side. Valencia put four crosses into the area, two reached a teammate, one of those being a key pass in the second minute of the match. Valencia won his one aerial duel in the match, also provided one interception and a clearance with two blocks during the match. If United had turned up and looked to punish Bournemouth, the three names here could all be different. The big names seemingly let United down with imperfection, which could end up costing United more in the coming weeks.

Conclusion

Last weekend United won their first piece of silverware for the season and if this match against Bournemouth was anything to go by, it would be their last piece too. United dominated the match, peppering Bournemouth throughout the match, creating chances, but nothing was going to make the difference, until Marcos Rojo extended his leg and caught an Antonio Valencia pass, pushing it into the back of the net. United had hit the ground running, or so it was thought at the time. Bournemouth then won a penalty with Phil Jones seemingly in a giving mood, putting the match level once again. Towards the end of the match, a stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic by Tyrone Mings and an elbow back to the Bournemouth player will probably cost both clubs more than that, though, but it needs to happen for the good of the game, not that the referee was anything but capable of making the right decision. If you cannot get something right and need to back down and claim nothing was seen, it poses more questions for the officiating body as to why referees are such a shambles this season.

Out of the three players mentioned, I feel Marcos Rojo, the goalscorer did enough to earn the Man of the Match, not that there were many challenging for the honour if you can call it that. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was not at his best, his penalty was not good enough to find the back of the net either. Paul Pogba, despite looking bright at times, was not fully immersed into the game late on, pinging balls into the area and hoping for the best, rather than looking for that chance of preciseness and creating something from the game. Phil Jones was worrying when he gave that penalty away, then looked to be panicking on the ball, which was not good to see. Luke Shaw was lively through his involvement in the match, but will need a run of matches to find his feet, should he be given the chance again.

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