Eddie Howe’s high-flying Bournemouth will host the first game of the weekend and it is a big one with Manchester United coming to town.
Bournemouth are sixth in the league – winning six out of the opening ten games in a hugely positive start to the season. Eddie Howe, has always been one to stick to his principles and approach to the game even when the going gets tough – and in 2018/19, this steadfast belief in his ideas has reaped rewards. Eddie Howe has made the Cherries an attacking side that is always good to watch – even prolific on their day – but their three clean sheets earned on the spin, ahead of Manchester United’s visit will give them huge confidence going into Saturday’s big fixture.
Manchester United are still trying to find their feet under Mourinho in his third season which has been very much a case of ‘one step forward; two steps back’. An encouraging performance in the second half against one of the contenders in Chelsea was followed by an uninspiring defeat against Juventus in midweek; Against Everton, for 60 minutes, United played with the fluidity and confidence they should showing week in week out against lesser sides at home and away and somehow came away with all 3 points – limping to the finish, despite dominating a good chunk of the game.
United have clearly not found their momentum yet – but the performance last Sunday at least served as an indication to Mourinho in some respects as to how their starting eleven should look for the foreseeable future: with Martial and Rashford leading the line.
Bournemouth defender Simon Francis was substituted due to a groin injury in the second half of their Carabao Cup victory over Norwich City, but Eddie Howe is still waiting to discover the extent of the injury. Tyrone Mings was absent in mid-week due to a concussion sustained in training and is not expected to feature against United.
Former Manchester United man Josh King has been nursing a foot injury this week and is currently rated at 50 per cent to make it.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho must decide whether to recall striker Romelu Lukaku, who began on the bench against Everton. Jesse Lingard, who made his comeback from injury as a late substitute in that game, will also hope for a recall to the starting line-up.
- Bournemouth won their first Premier League game against Manchester United in 2015 but are winless in the five subsequent meetings, losing four times.
- United have won on their last two visits to the Vitality Stadium, scoring five goals and conceding just one.
- They are unbeaten in their last six home league games (W4, D2), with their last loss the 2-0 defeat by Manchester United in April.
- The Reds have kept just one Premier League clean sheet this season – only Fulham have a poorer record in terms of shut-outs.
Callum Wilson – AFC Bournemouth
Quietly ruling the roost among English marksmen is Callum Wilson who now has five goals and four assists to his name, which is more than any other Englishman has managed in 2018/19 so far. Injuries have been unkind to him in the past but this season, it does look like Callum Wilson can hit double figures before New Year which makes him a crucial figure in that Bournemouth squad and in particular, on big occasions like these.
Anthony Martial – Manchester United
Martial FC is thriving at last – as fan favourite Anthony Martial is doing what everybody associated with Manchester United knew full well he could. The Frenchman has now netted in three consecutive Premier League games in a bid to recapture the form he was in, in his debut season in England. The 22-year old now needs an uninterrupted run of games on the left and up top – to build on the confidence he has gained in the last few weeks which will greatly help Manchester United and Mourinho, who desperately need goals.
To claim an important away win against a team above them in the league table, Manchester United have to go to the Vitality stadium and play two good halves of football instead of one; which they seem to be incapable of at the moment.
An entertaining draw it is.
AFC Bournemouth 2-2 Manchester United