Jesse Lingard in action against Bournemouth at Old Trafford in December 2017

Can the Reds wrap up 2018 with another win?

Manchester United will be looking to record a trio of consecutive wins in the Premier League for the first time this season when Bournemouth come to Old Trafford on Sunday.

The fixture is our latest in the packed festive schedule, and comes hot on the heels of a confident 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge of his first home match as caretaker manager to great acclaim.

The Treble winner will be hoping United's positive momentum can be further extended after eight goals in two matches and a pair of entertaining attacking displays.

But how will Solskjaer's men cope with Eddie Howe's adventurous Cherries? Read on for the lowdown on United's final match of 2018...
Key match details
says

Sunday 30 December | Premier League | Old Trafford | 16:30 GMT kick-off | Live build-up on MUTV from 15:00 GMT | Referee: Lee Mason

WHAT'S THE TEAM NEWS?
Solskjaer confirmed to the media on Friday that Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez are in contention to return against Bournemouth, after the attacking trio missed the 3-1 win over Huddersfield last time out, but Chris Smalling is unlikely to play again until the match against Tottenham on 13 January. He also said that Marcos Rojo and Scott McTominay might also be able to increase their involvement in training soon after respective absences through injury.

WHAT ABOUT BOURNEMOUTH?
The Cherries will be without their captain Simon Francis for the rest of the season after it was confirmed that the defender ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the 5-0 defeat at Tottenham on Boxing Day. He joins Lewis Cook (knee), Dan Gosling (knee) and Adam Smith (knee) on the sidelines, with Eddie Howe confirming in his pre-match press conference that the trio also remain absentees. 

HOW GOOD IS OUR RECORD AGAINST BOURNEMOUTH?
The Dorset club did not reach the top flight until 2015, so we've faced the Cherries relatively few times. The teams met for the first occasion in 1949, when United ran out 6-0 winners in the FA Cup third round while still playing home games at Maine Road after the war. United have dominated the encounters, winning 10 of the 15 matches, drawing three times and losing just twice. However, Howe's men won the first-ever league match between the clubs - a 2-1 victory at the Vitality Stadium in 2015, when United were managed by Louis van Gaal. But Old Trafford remains unconquered territory: Bournemouth have lost five of their six games here, with a 1-1 draw in 2016/17 being their best effort to date. In last season's equivalent fixture, Romelu Lukaku scored the only goal on a bitterly cold and wet midweek evening in December.

WHAT'S BOURNEMOUTH'S FORM LIKE?

The Cherries delivered a strong opening couple of months to their campaign, and were up in the European spots for much of the early stages of the season, but they’ve fallen into mid-table during recent weeks, largely due to a disappointing record on the road. On Sunday they will be looking to avoid their fifth consecutive away league defeat after falling to Newcastle, Manchester City, Wolves and Tottenham on their most recent trips. The Boxing Day defeat at Wembley was a worrying 5-0 reverse to Mauricio Pochettino's flying Spurs, though Bournemouth spurned early opportunities through Ryan Fraser and David Brooks, and were unlucky to fall behind to Christian Eriksen's cruelly deflected long-range strike. Despite those results, the Cherries will still look forward to playing their part in what promises to be an open and entertaining game at Old Trafford. Outside of the top six, only Everton have notched more than Bournemouth's 27 goals.

Bournemouth - Last time at Old TraffordVideo

ONE TO BEWARE
United will have to look out for the inventive Fraser and Brooks, along with dangerous striker Callum Wilson, who recently scored his first international goal for England. But Brooks is probably the standout story from Bournemouth's season so far. The 21-year-old was relatively unknown to those unfamiliar with football outside of the Premier League when he joined from Sheffield United in the summer, but the intelligent, lively midfielder has quickly made a name for himself, providing both goals and assists. As a teenager, Brooks was on the books at Manchester City, before being released, and has found his way to the top through hard work and humility, though his effective left foot has earned him the semi-serious nickname 'the Warrington Maradona'.
“It's a bit far-fetched!”
said the Welsh international.
“But it means you're doing something right if people are saying nice things like that.”


WHO IS THE REFEREE?
Lee Mason takes charge of his second United match this season, with the first being November's 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. Mason has refereed nine Premier League games this season so far and is yet to brandish a red card, though he does average 3.8 yellows per game. He will be assisted by Marc Perry and Adrian Holmes, while Mike Dean will act as the fourth official.
One to beware
says

Wales international David Brooks, pictured here battling with Paul Pogba, impressed during United's 2-1 comeback win at the Vitality Stadium in early November.

RIVALS WATCH
All 20 teams are in action over the course of the weekend, with United-Bournemouth being the tenth and final fixture. Liverpool and Arsenal is the pick of Saturday's match-ups, while there are three earlier games on Sunday before we take to the pitch at Old Trafford. Here's the schedule in full...

SATURDAY 29 DECEMBER
Brighton & Hove Albion v Everton
Fulham v Huddersfield Town
Leicester City v Cardiff City
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolves
Watford v Newcastle
Liverpool v Arsenal (17:30 GMT)

SUNDAY 30 DECEMBER
Crystal Palace v Chelsea (12:00 GMT)
Burnley v West Ham (14:15 GMT)
Southampton v Manchester City (14:15 GMT)
Manchester United v Bournemouth (16:30 GMT)

Matches kick off at 15:00 GMT unless stated.

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