Match preview: Bournemouth v Man Utd
United will look for an immediate response to Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion when making the midweek trip to take on mid-table Bournemouth. Here's everything you need to know...
Setting the scene: The Reds still need five more points to guarantee Champions League football next season and will be hoping to take full advantage of the game in hand on third-placed Liverpool, who are one point behind United, in a bid to finish second in the Premier League. Jose Mourinho’s men, who had won five league games in a row before Sunday's surprise loss to the Baggies, can take a giant stride towards clinching the runners-up spot with three points at the Vitality Stadium, with four subsequent league games to play.
How can I follow it? Wednesday’s match will kick off at 19:45 BST and will be broadcast live on BT Sport in the UK. MUTV subscribers on Sky or Virgin Media, the MUTV app, or online at MUTV.com can enjoy match build-up from 17:45 BST on the Match Day show and listen to radio commentary of the game, before watching it in full at midnight. You can also keep up with all the action as it happens via ManUtd.com's live match blog and our official Twitter account @ManUtd.
What’s the team news? The boss said after last weekend’s game that his players have a chance to win a place in the starting line-up for Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham and he doesn’t plan to rotate his squad against Bournemouth. The only player expected to be absent for United is goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who has missed the last three games with an injury sustained on international duty with Argentina. Meanwhile, Bournemouth should only be without long-term absentees Tyrone Mings and Junior Stanislas (knee) and Adam Smith (MCL knee ligament).
How are Bournemouth doing? Sitting 10 points above the drop zone in 11th place with four games to play, the Cherries are all but assured of a fourth successive season of Premier League football and are just two points away from reaching the 40-point mark. Eddie Howe’s men have proved tough to beat in recent weeks, losing just three of their last 15 league matches. But they have only won one of the last eight – a 2-1 home win over bottom-club West Brom a month ago – and haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last nine. The Dorset-based outfit have beaten Chelsea and Arsenal in the second half of the season but lost 3-0 to Liverpool at Anfield last Saturday evening, having previously been unbeaten in three games.
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What happened last time we met? The Reds secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Cherries at Old Trafford earlier in the season. Top scorer Romelu Lukaku got on the end of a Juan Mata cross to send a bullet header past Asmir Begovic in the 26th minute – a decisive goal which proved the difference between the sides and was later voted by fans as United’s Goal of the Month for December.
One to watch: A familiar face to Reds fans, Josh King was a United player for five years but spent most of his time at Old Trafford out on loan and left in 2013. The 26-year-old has found a new home at the Vitality Stadium and, although he hasn’t quite reached last season’s heights when he was Bournemouth’s top scorer with 16 goals, he still has a respectable seven goals and three assists in all competitions – only Callum Wilson has been involved in more goals for the Cherries. The Norwegian forward also has two goals in five previous appearances against United, including the winner in Bournemouth’s only Premier League win over the Reds to date in December 2015, and will be keen to make an impact against his former club once again.
Bournemouth - Last time at Old TraffordVideo
When was our last trip to Bournemouth? United will travel to the Vitality Stadium for the first time since the opening weekend of last season. It will undoubtedly bring back fond memories for Mourinho as he returns to the scene of his first league win in charge as manager, back in August 2016. United ran out 3-1 winners on the day in the south-coast sunshine thanks to goals from Mata, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with Adam Smith’s effort proving to be a consolation late on for the Cherries.
What’s our record like against them? United don’t have a particularly rich history against Bournemouth, having only met them 13 times before – the first in 1949. But the Reds have the upper hand, with eight wins to Bournemouth’s two and there have been three draws. In Premier League terms, United were beaten 2-1 in the first encounter between the sides, in Dorset in 2015, but are unbeaten in the four subsequent meetings. As a result, the Reds – who kept a first Premier League clean sheet against Bournemouth back in December – will be looking to complete a first double over the Cherries since their promotion to the top flight three years ago.
Rooney v BournemouthVideo
Who’s the referee? Graham Scott will be in the middle for his third United game overall and of the current season, after taking charge of the reverse fixture against Bournemouth in mid-December and the Reds’ Carabao Cup win over Burton Albion in September. The Oxfordshire whistler will be assisted by Constantine Hatzidakis and Harry Lennard, while the fourth official will be Andre Marriner – who was the referee on United’s last visit to Bournemouth 20 months ago.
Rivals Watch: There are three other catch-up games being played in the Premier League this week. Here’s the fixture list…
Tuesday 17 April
Brighton & Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur
Wednesday 18 April
Bournemouth v Manchester United
Thursday 19 April
Burnley v Chelsea
Leicester City v Southampton
All games kick off at 19:45 BST.