After the highs of securing a memorable win at the Etihad – United came crashing back to earth as bottom of the league West Bromwich Albion beat United to hand Manchester City the league title at Old Trafford.
AFC Bournemouth are comfortably placed in the league. Just below the top half with 38 points in total, Eddie Howe has weathered some tough periods to find themselves in a less perilous position at this stage of the season when teams with bigger budgets and better squads are scraping it out to survive in the division.
The Cherries have benefited from a lack of pressure from the bottom sides who are engrossed in their own relegation battle and managed to stay lower mid-table despite winning only 9 games all season. But the teams above them in Newcastle and Everton are so close that there is still a slim chance for the South Coast club to break into the top half – to achieve their highest ever finish in the top flight.
Manchester United simply embarrassed themselves on Sunday – by showing that toothless side to them that has plagued the club all along once again – only to, rather fittingly, finally hand the league title to their rivals who have been in contrast – utterly consistent and compelling.
With the only meaningful game being the cup semi final against Spurs in the weekend, it is understandable if United field a weakened team in midweek in a bid to go all in at Wembley – a stadium they have had some success in the last three years. But at the same time, Mourinho simply cannot afford to slip any further below in the league table which would mean less of an improvement and more work to do in the Summer.
Star striker Callum Wilson should return to the starting XI after only making the bench against Liverpool on Saturday. Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas are injury concerns for the home side, while full-back Tyrone Mings lack match fitness.
For the visitors, Sergio Romero is the only injury concern for Manchester United when they make the trip to Bournemouth on Wednesday night.
- Eleven of AFC Bournemouth’s last 12 Premier League home goals have come in the second half, while Manchester United’s last 10 away goals have also come after half-time.
- Both teams have found the net in four of the last five PL meetings between the sides, with Man Utd’s 1-0 win in December the only time a team have kept a clean sheet during that spell.
Key Men Comparison
Callum Wilson (AFC Bournemouth) v Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
The two top scorers for either side – Callum Wilson for the Cherries and Lukaku for the Reds will be crucial once again in a game that is not expected to see a lot of goals. United will be keen to get away from the Vitality Stadium without key injuries in order to prepare themselves the best they can for the semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.
Romelu Lukaku has scored and assisted a combined total of 22 goals but still he has not the league alight with his form as the Belgian often suffered long patches of games where he failed to positively influence results for United.
With the arrival of Sanchez and United’s general form has improved going forward and Lukaku has managed to get goals against the best sides in the league, something the 24 year old struggled to do at the start of the season. Wilson, on the other hand has a terrific eye for goal and United’s lacklustre defending at the back on Sunday should be an eye opener for him as the 26-years old will be chomping at bits to open his account against Manchester United.
A cautious game with plenty of half-chances for either side to go begging.
AFC Bournemouth 1-1 Manchester United