Talking points: Bournemouth 2 United 2

Saturday 13 April 2024 20:58

Bruno Fernandes was twice the savour for Manchester United, who came from behind on two occasions to take a point at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Our captain scored either side of half-time at the Vitality Stadium, cancelling out goals from Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert, in a back-and-forth contest on the south coast.

The teams would share the points in the end, with a stoppage-time penalty given to Bournemouth eventually overturned by the Video Assistant Referee, much to the disliking of the home crowd.

Below are eight talking points I have picked out from the clash, as United earned a draw to take back to Manchester.

Bournemouth 2 United 2


The Reds come from behind twice to earn a Premier League point on the south coast.


United have been on the wrong end of the decisive late moments against Brentford, Chelsea and Liverpool in recent weeks, and for a few moments in stoppage time, it looked like the trend would continue when referee Tony Harrington awarded the home side a spot-kick. Willy Kambwala was initially judged to have brought down Ryan Christie inside the box, but following a review at Stockley Park, the foul was deemed to have took place outside the 18-yard area. A relief for United, particularly after the unfortunate conclusions to those aforementioned games, in which late goals went against Ten Hag's men.


Captain Fernandes twice muscled United back from losing positions on the evening, leading from the front after Bournemouth had gone both 1-0 and 2-1 ahead. Those equalisers were no coincidence either; Bruno has made it clear across his United career that he will always endeavour to puff his chest out and stand up to be counted. His last four goals for the club - including today's brace - have all been levellers that have put the Reds on terms after being behind. Our no.8 now has 21 direct goal involvements in what is becoming more and more of a productive personal campaign as the weeks go on.


Erik ten Hag suggested in his pre-match press conference on Friday that Marcus Rashford had a chance of being involved at the Vitality Stadium, despite his early withdrawal due to injury last weekend. So, it was a positive to see our no.10 not only on the teamsheet but in the starting XI at the Vitality Stadium. His persistence and burst of pace on the edge of the box was instrumental in the move for Fernandes's first-half goal.


Also important in the build-up to Bruno's 11th goal of the season was a tackle from Kambwala, in which he showed desire to nick the ball off Solanke, with a strong tackle from behind the Bournemouth striker. It was a moment that had come after our young centre-back was visibly frustrated not to have stopped Solanke scoring the first half, and was a show of the character and grit that we have already seen often in Willy's short first-team career to date.


Since returning from a long-term spell on sidelines in March's FA Cup win over Liverpool, Mason has now accumulated five straight appearances off the bench, following his 78th-minute introduction at the Vitality Stadium. It is a welcome sight for United fans to see the summer signing, who has had much of his first campaign as a Red disrupted by injuries, in action once more. The no.7 will no doubt be pushing for his first start in the coming weeks, as the Reds look to get back to winning ways and finish the term strongly.

Ten Hag: A draw is not good enough Video

Ten Hag: A draw is not good enough

Erik ten Hag says the Reds must take the point earned at Bournemouth, but rues United's first-half performance...


Eighteen-year-old Ethan Wheatley was the latest fresh face among United's substitutes, having been awarded a place on the bench with his fellow young Reds Harry Amass, Habeeb Ogunneye and Omari Forson at Bournemouth. Not only was there a display of the pathway from our Academy on the sidelines, but on the pitch too, with Alejandro Garnacho, Kambwala and Kobbie Mainoo all registering another start on the Premier League stage, alongside their more experienced fellow graduate Rashford. Although it is a proud sight for the club, continuing a tradition of rewarding youth players with opportunities to shine, Ten Hag continues to make it clear that these chances are earned, not given.


With Aston Villa not in action until Sunday afternoon, away at Arsenal, United have chipped the gap on the fifth-placed Villans to 10 points with six games to go. It remains to be seen whether Premier League clubs will need to be in the top four or five for a place in next season's UEFA Champions League, although Villa and Tottenham in those potentially decisive fifth and fourth positions respectively do remain level on points. That is after Spurs were beaten 4-0 at Newcastle in the day's early kick-off at St James' Park.


The United supporters have clocked up the miles since the international break, travelling to Brentford, Chelsea and now Bournemouth, and while they have not been able to celebrate taking three points home from those trips, their dedication, loyalty and passion has continued to shine through. It is something appreciated by players and staff too - the Reds handed out their shirts to fans at Brentford last month and spent time after the full-time whistle tonight applauding our away contingent that made the long trip to the south coast.