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Preview: Bournemouth must be beaten as Manchester United look to bounce back from Baggies defeat

Bournemouth -v- Manchester United

Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth

Premier League 2017/18

Wednesday 18th April 2018; KO 19:45 BST

Live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom

Manchester United travel to the Vitality Stadium to face Bournemouth in the Premier League on Wednesday evening. On Sunday, United were beaten by West Bromwich Albion, the bottom side in the Premier League whilst Bournemouth were beaten 3-0 by Liverpool on Saturday – both will be seeking a return to winning ways this week. United need to win this match as it will be the one which puts them level on games played (34) with Liverpool and they really need to turn that one-point lead into a four-point lead as Liverpool will be back in action this weekend with United playing in the Emirates FA Cup against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, with the Merseyside club in Premier League action which could see them move into second place.

No matter what some of the incessant moaning supporters say, United have improved this season. The style of play is not where improvement has been made but in terms of results, that has seen United in effect rise from sixth last season to second this season. Jose Mourinho’s side are two points better off at this stage than they were at the end of last season. They have drawn five times, which was 15 last season, losing six matches this season, five last season. That won’t be good enough though as Martial FC, Pogba FC and those cringeworthy Football Twitter accounts have no bragging rights. That is all this means to them in all honesty. What happened to fans who support the club win, lose, or draw?

Mourinho, speaking to the official Manchester United website about what the club must do in order to improve, said:

“I trust in my work, that is for sure. I have no reason not to trust. The last Premier League title that I won was not 20 years ago, it was three years ago and I know how to win. I believe in myself.”

Speaking specifically about what his side need to do in order to overcome Manchester City, Mourinho said:

“You don’t win titles with inconsistency. You win titles with quality, of course, and without quality you have no chance. But you also win titles with consistency. That is consistency at every level and not just the performance level, but day by day everything must be consistent from day one until the last day. So one of the things we have to improve is consistency.”

Form: Two defeats in the last six matches for both teams; Manchester United have won four whilst Bournemouth have won just once

Manchester United: LWWWLW – West Bromwich Albion 1-0 L, Manchester City 3-2 W, Swansea City 2-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 W, Sevilla 2-1 L, Liverpool 2-1 W

Bournemouth: LDDWLD – Liverpool 3-0 L, Crystal Palace 2-2 D, Watford 2-2 D, West Bromwich Albion 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 L, Leicester City 1-1 D

Top Scorers (all competitions): Manchester United have scored 94 goals in all competitions; Bournemouth have scored 50 goals in all competitions

Manchester United: 26 – Romelu Lukaku, 13 – Jesse Lingard, 12 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Anthony Martial, 5 – Paul Pogba, 4 – Marouane Fellaini, 3 – Juan Mata, Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia, 2 – Own Goal, Nemanja Matic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, 1 – Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Bournemouth: 8 – Callum Wilson, 7 – Joshua King, 5 – Ryan Fraser, Junior Stanislas, 4 – Jermain Defoe, 3 – Steve Cook, Dan Gosling, Lys Mousset, 2 – Nathan Aké, Jordon Ibe, Andrew Surman, 1 – Benik Afobe, Harry Arter, Charlie Daniels, Marc Pugh, Jack Simpson, Adam Smith

Previous Matches: Manchester United will be the favourites to win this fixture but Bournemouth have come up trumps before and could do so again…

Manchester United and Bournemouth have played a total of 13 times competitively during the history of both clubs. The first match was played on the 8th January 1949 – a 6-0 victory for United in the third round of the FA Cup that season. United have won eight of the encounters, drawn three times and lost twice. The last defeat to Bournemouth came on the 12th December 2015 – a 2-1 defeat at the Vitality Stadium with goals from Junior Stanislas and Josh King earning the South Coast side three points, Marouane Fellaini scoring a consolation goal for the Red Devils.

United have had two four-match unbeaten runs; the first resulting in three victories and one draw – lasting some 33 years. During that run, United scored 12 goals, conceded three and kept two clean sheets. The second four-match unbeaten run resulted in three victories and one draw. This was more recent, starting with the 3-1 Premier League victory on the 17th May 2016 and includes the 1-0 victory at Old Trafford earlier this season. United have scored eight goals, conceding three and keeping one clean sheet. This run could be extended on Wednesday evening.

Team News: Sergio Romero will remain on the sidelines for the Bournemouth match; Eric Bailly could be back in defence

Jose Mourinho rested Eric Bailly ahead of this busy week of football which would have seen United play three matches in seven days; two in the Premier League (West Bromwich Albion and Bournemouth) followed by an Emirates FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Saturday evening. Ahead of Sunday’s defeat, Mourinho did confirm that all of the injured players were now back in training apart from Sergio Romero, who will be out for a few more weeks. Speaking about Bailly and the three matches in a week, Mourinho said:

“A decision again. Victor [Lindelof] played the match against Swansea at home and it was very suited to his qualities. Normally, we are going to have more of the ball and, normally, it’s when we need somebody from the back to add extra technical quality in the middle of the back [four].

“We have three matches in a week. Bournemouth in a few days [Wednesday night] then Spurs after a few days again. In that semi-final, they are having one day extra to us to recover so I need also to think about that.”

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has three players on the sidelines who will all be absent from this match; Tyrone Mings, Junior Stanislas, and Adam Smith. At the moment there are no other updates on the potential Bournemouth team, which may start to come out at some stage between now and Wednesday with no press conferences planned ahead of the game, for United anyway.

Predicted Starting XI: 4-3-3 again for Manchester United as they look to bounce back from defeat ahead of must-win FA Cup match this weekend

Predicted Score: A clean sheet for David De Gea and another victory on the road for Manchester United?

Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester United

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