Manchester United face Bournemouth in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon in a traditional 3pm kick off. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be pleased with his squad at this stage of the season with all still to play for. Bruno Fernandes has literally changed United’s playing style since arriving in January with Paul Pogba working well with him. Chelsea will be looking over their shoulders this weekend, as will Leicester City, who has dropped in form considerably.
Bournemouth have fallen this season and could well be relegated from the Premier League, which is what they deserve when you look at their form. In the last six matches, they have lost five and drawn one and their last victory goes back to the 1 February. United need to hit them hard and ruin their season, keeping United’s alive with everything to play for. The UEFA Champions League is still on the table for United, and if they make the top four, will still have a chance winning the Europa League.
How United have faired against Bournemouth in the Premier League.
United and Bournemouth have played nine times in the Premier League with United winning six, drawing once and losing twice. In total, United have scored 17 goals conceding eight. Both United have kept two clean sheets with Bournemouth keeping one. United have been awarded one penalty, failing to score it, with Bournemouth awarded one and scoring it. In total, United have received 16 yellow cards and one red. Bournemouth have received 17 yellow cards and one red card.
Back in November 2019, Bournemouth beat United 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium in the Premier League, which is something that Solskjaer will need to avenge. However, United are in much better for at this moment in time with a 15-match unbeaten run, scoring 38 goals, conceding four times, keeping 11 clean sheets. Bournemouth will not be happy to visit the Theatre of Dreams with United in this kind of form, which could be just another sign of their relegation this season.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Bournemouth in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
The Spanish number one has kept ten clean sheets in the Premier League alone this season and it has not been the best season for him at the Old Trafford club. Nick Pope has 13 clean sheets so that alone gives De Gea the inspiration to better his counterpart at Burnley, so starting against Bournemouth, De Gea should be well on the way of matching the player, as long as Burnley concede a goal, with many matches remaining to turn this poor season into something special on the way to bettering that next season with United hopefully mounting a title charge.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw
United’s defence has been strengthened this season, not just with the acquisition of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire last summer but because of the way the entire teams plays around the defence. With Matic in midfield, the defence is protected and with Maguire’s fearless nature and the fact he’s playing to the best of his abilities, bringing the best out of his teammates, it has made some great changes in the squad. Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw will keep their places in the team and alongside Maguire, Eric Bailly should be given a chance, keeping Victor Lindelof rested for the matching coming thick and fast for the remainder of July.
Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic are the best central midfielders to utilise at this moment in time. Matic complements the fact that Pogba and Fernandes are able to play in the same team with him and that both can be allowed to drift with the Serbian’s ability to defend and distribute the ball. Pogba, since recovering from his injury, has really risen in stature at the club and seems happy to get stuck in. Long may we see this duo in midfield, providing the necessary for United to blow their opposition aside match after match until the end of the season and into the next.
Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood
Over the last few matches after Project Restart, United have been playing very attacking football and scoring the goals. No 0-0 draws but a slight problem breaking terms down, getting there in the end. Against both Sheffield United and Brighton and Hove Albion, six goals have been scored with Bruno Fernandes an intrinsic member of the attacking formation. The Portuguese midfielder should keeping his place, flanked by Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. This trio are able to bring goals galore to this team, helping United achieve what they need.
Striker: Anthony Martial
The Frenchman has made 38 appearances so far this season, scoring 19 goals and six assists in all competitions. Granted, it has not been the best season for the forward but it has been his best so far at the club in terms of goals scored. The front three, Marcus Rashford, Martial and Mason Greenwood are responsible for 51 goals between them this season, which is a great achievement for the trio and something to build upon for the future of the club, which seems so exciting right now.
Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James, Scott McTominay; Odion Ighalo
With five substitutions for the remainder of the season, Solskjaer will be able to utilise more players, keeping his stars rested for the remainder of the season. On the bench against Bournemouth, I reckon Sergio Romero, Victor Lindelof and Brandon Williams will be available for the defensive area. In midfield, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James and Scott McTominay will be available. In attack, Odion Ighalo will be the only attacking player on the bench.