Manchester United had finally the golden chance to move from the sixth place as they faced Bournemouth in midday and with Liverpool and Arsenal facing each other later today, Jose’s team may see itself closer to top four. But as it has happened in the last meetings at Old Trafford, where attitude was needed, United wasted this chance by missing chances and playing poor against a ten men Bournemouth.
As the lineups for both teams were revealed, four changes were made for United and among them, Luke Shaw who returned to the starting XI for the first time since October. Ander Herrera was rested considering a number of games between today and the 19th March, leaving Jose with no choice. Wayne Rooney also made his return to the lineup, his match number 550 for the club, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial along with Juan Mata starting again.
Squad rotation was definitely key considering that Rojo and Jones replaced Bailly and Smalling who have formed the centre-back partnership in the recent games.
The start was promising, five occasions yet no one was able to score, and Bournemouth almost hit hard as Jones didn’t clear the ball. Then things got in the way as United kept dominating while the men up front simply couldn’t finish. A lovely ball from Valencia found Rojo, who didn’t think it twice to put the ball in the back of the net.
Jones, however, continued making mistakes as a bad interference in the final third caused a penalty that was executed by King. 1-1 and United were suddenly being scared and things got harder. It was the same story in the second half, as the players were nervous, not thinking really clear what they were trying to do. The game was almost, in the end, and the players had one simple job, to push forward even more.
No Zlatan Time as the Big Swede didn’t seem clear in what he was trying to do and the opposition were playing with their nerves.
It felt one of those days and indeed it was, United lost the chance to move from sixth place, wondering what could it be and of course, showed that these players don’t deserve to finish top four.
Leaving the nervous moments behind, here are the player ratings for today’s game: