PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester United vs Bournemouth: Match preview

All the latest news and information as in-form Manchester United host struggling Bournemouth with both sides fighting at opposite ends of the table.

Manchester United vs Bournemouth: Match preview
MIKE HEWITT AFP

Manchester United Predicted XI vs Bournemouth

De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial

Bournemouth Predicted XI vs Manchester United

Ramsdale; Stacey, Mepham, Ake, Smith; Brooks, L. Cook, Lerma, Gosling, Stanislas; King

Manchester United vs Bournemouth Preview

Manchester United have been one of the most impressive performers since the Premier League’s restart and will look to continue their good form against relegation-threatened Bournemouth on Saturday. The Red Devils have won three and drawn once in the four games since lockdown to leave them in fifth place, level with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Their promising form extends to most of 2020 and they are currently unbeaten in their last 16 matches in all competitions.

Most importantly, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears to have finally settled on a first choice line-up and has named the same team for United’s last two Premier League outings. If they were to do the same on Saturday it would be the first time the club have named an unchanged side for three consecutive matches since the 2006/07 season. Fifth place may be enough for United to qualify for the Champions League but they will be hopeful of catching Chelsea and Leicester City, who are two and three points ahead respectively. Coincidentally, United face those two sides in their final two league fixtures.

The picture is altogether more bleak for Bournemouth and the Cherries are seriously threatened with relegation for the first time in their five-year stint in the Premier League. They are currently second bottom but within a point of Watford in 17th. However the real concern for Eddie Howe’s men is their ominous list of remaining fixtures, with Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester and Manchester City still to play.

Relegation would be extremely painful for Bournemouth boss Howe who has been with the club through their rise from League Two and he insists that survival is not beyond his team. “No game is a write-off in my opinion,” he said. “[The players] have the belief and I think one win would go a long way to helping shape that. You need to see to believe sometimes.” He has not been helped by the departure of winger Ryan Fraser, the Scottish international having now left the club after refusing to sign a short-term contract extension.

Manchester United vs Bournemouth: Injuries and Suspensions

Stability has been the target for Manchester United in recent years and Solskjaer confirmed on Friday that he would prefer to pick an unchanged side, but that some had picked up knocks against Brighton on Tuesday.

Phil Jones has not yet been confirmed to have recovered from an injury that has kept him out since January but could be close to a return. However Axel Tuanzebe is definitely out, with 18-year-old right-back Ethan Laird promoted to the first-team squad in his place.

For Bournemouth, Calum Wilson will miss out due to suspension after picking up 10 yellow cards this season. The visitors will also be without club captain Simon Francis and defender Charlie Daniels due to long-standing knee injuries.

Howe admitted that there were a few players who would need to undergo checks before he names his matchday squad for the trip to Old Trafford, but would not reveal who they were.

Manchester United vs Bournemouth: What the managers said

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United): “It’s not an easy game, what anyone else thinks doesn’t matter, we’ll have to perform. Bournemouth are fighting, where they are is not a nice place to be in but they are one of the best teams in the league on set pieces.”

Eddie Howe (Bournemouth): "The six games we have are very difficult on paper but that can bring out the best in us. We need to elevate everything to a new level. What better time to start than tomorrow? That's the mindset we need to have."

Prediction: As we head into the final six matches of this elongated Premier League campaign there is even more potential for upsets than usual. The form book would suggest an easy win for Manchester United but after struggling West Ham beat high-flying Chelsea on Wednesday nothing should be taken for granted. Bournemouth beat them back in November but this United side look to be getting into their stride and should have too much for the Cherries. 3-1.