Bournemouth vs Manchester United

Pre-Match Analysis:

United are back playing in the Premier league this weekend after contesting in a crucial Champions league match against Wolfsburg.

We lost that game 3-2 and are now out of the Champions league, leaving many fans confused and questioning LVG's credibility as manager. Since then he has spoken out in his press conference stating that United fans have to prepare themselves for 'more disappointment' at the start of the year. Most of us had been optimistic at the start of the season but after the up and down form we have been in, this is hardly surprising. It is sad to think that we have now lost our 'fear factor' but it is the harsh reality that we have. We can choose to focus on the negatives however we are still the biggest club in the world with a substantial amount of footballing history. Financially we are in a strong position with a network fan base of millions worldwide. Most importantly, we are currently fourth in the league with 29 points. If we can put together some decent performances going towards the end of the year then we could find ourselves in a solid place heading into the new year. Let's not forget that despite being knocked out of the Champions league, we will now play in the Europa League. To many it seems like a complete downgrade but even if it is, this is exactly the kind of wake-up call that the club needed. If it means that we have another chance to bring some silverware to Manchester then I would be happy for us to play in the Europa League. Sir Alex Ferguson did not win any trophies in his first few seasons at United yet he went on to become the greatest all-time manager, LVG will not have the same success but he definitely needs time to implement his philosophy- we did not give David Moyes enough time so we need to respect LVG as the manager.

The rant is over but it is important to remind us fans that even though we are going through a difficult period, not everything is terrible. As I mentioned earlier, we are fourth in the league and only 3 points behind current league leaders Leicester City. Today we are having a late kick off against newly promoted side Bournemouth City at the Vitality Stadium. Confidence is pretty low with the players and the fans after the Champions league disappoint. To add to this, our injury list is growing with 9 players out injured including skipper Wayne Rooney and defenders Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling.

Our last premier league fixture saw us draw 0-0 with West Ham at home. The game highlighted our attacking problems in particular but also the fact that something is not right at the club. With Mata, Fellaini, Lingard and Martial leading our midfield and attack, we were still unable to score a goal. However, we did manage to keep another clean sheet which is a testament of how we do have the best defensive record in the league this season. The team for today probably will stay the same except for some changes in that Schweinsteiger is out suspended because of his incident with West Ham defender Winston Reid. Our team last week was not the strongest starting 11 that we have but once everyone comes back from injury hopefully we are able to push on.

In terms of a starting line up, with so many injuries we will be unable to field our strongest possible team. De Gea will probably start in goal, with Varela at right-back, McNair and Blind as centre backs because Smalling suffered an injury midweek and Borthwick-Jackson most likely to play at left-back. For our midfield, I would play Schneiderlin and Fellaini as CDMs with Mata and Lingard as attacking midfielders. Upfront, Martial and Depay should continue to play together.

Bournemouth on the other hand are 17th in the league so far with 13 points. Their defence has been under considerable pressure after conceding 30 goals in the league so far in just 15 games. They have suffered with the loss of Wilson in attack providing the goals but they have Glenn Murray who scored in the 82nd minute last week to beat Chelsea. They were the underdogs for that game but after winning they will be full of confidence and will be hoping to cause another upset against us today.

After beating Chelsea I suspect that manager Eddie Howe will not want to change his side too much. They do have some good players in Gosling, King and Murray for example so we do need to make sure that we mark tightly and not concede cheap goals.

As a prediction for today's game, given how we were knocked out of the Champions league in the week and our ongoing injury problems I think that the game will finish 2-1 today in favour of us. Hopefully we can avoid getting yet another draw and get a win. Hope you all enjoy the game today! #GGMU

Line-Up Analysis:

In goal we are starting with the man who has saved our backsides more time than we can count, David De Gea. It should come as no surprise as we have to start McNair since Chris Smalling is out with a groin injury. That could be really detrimental as he was a massive wall in our defence. We are now also starting with the two young players in RB and LB respectively. They are ones for the future and can help us in our time of need due to injuries.

We are starting with the same attacking players upfront and with all the attacking play we saw in the last game against Wolfsburg hopefully we can see that in this game too. carrick starts instead of the injured Schweinsteiger, he should add composure to our erratic midfield like he did last season.

Our attack looks frightening once again with the pace of Lingard, Martial and Memphis, and the creativity of Juan Mata. Lets hope we can bag ourselves a few goals and put in a good performance.

First Half Analysis:

1-1 at halftime, let's hope we're not heading for another draw. 

Bournemouth started well, whipping in a goal from a corner 2 minutes in as the ball curled in due to the wind. They could've gone one more up as Stanislas was one on one with De Gea, but De Gea pulled off an incredible save to keep us in the game. We had a few good chances, with the best being Martial's interception just outside their goal, however he failed to slot it in to the corner, with the ball going wide. 

Our breakthrough came when Carrick picked out Memphis’ run with a perfect ball which he controlled beautifully on his chest and shot first time, and although this was blocked by a good save by the keeper, Fellaini was there to pick up the places – as he always is. The killer partnership for us today has been Carrick and Memphis, with the long ball link always being there. Martial has worked hard and won us some chances, but failed to convert any of them unfortunately – hopefully this will change in the second half. 

We have looked weak in our defence for the first time this season, with the inexperience clearly showing. They have found gaps in between our back 4 a few times and been one on one with De Gea which will cost us unless we do something about it. On the plus side, Varela has looked like a spark and is an amazing find who has seemed to come out of nowhere, so it is exciting to see where his talent will go. Mata has been unusually quiet in the first half and needs to perk up in the second half but, I don’t think we should have any substitutions for the second half. Hopefully we can clinch the win!

Second Half Analysis:

Well, another disappointing result but again some encouraging signs. Bournemouth went ahead for the second time 8 minutes after the restart. Again it was from a corner as Blind lost his man who found himself in acres of space, and slotted the ball in the back of the net after a well worked set piece routine. 

We played some good football after conceding and found ourselves with good chances. The main problem now seems to be converting these chances into goals as we didn’t score in the second half. Martial always seems to have some excellent footwork and control in the box but gets pressured before the final shot can be taken. Our inability to finish chances wasn’t helped when Fellaini was taken off as he is our best aerial threat and it immediately took away our presence from set pieces. It has to be said that this was a very peculiar move by Van Gaal as there was still a lot of time left to be played. 

While I do believe that we are playing much better football now, the back passing still annoys me, as I see clear attacking opportunities pass by just for some security in possession. I think our pace on the passes has increased, but we need someone else up front permanently to support Martial as we just don’t have enough men in the box at times. I would like to see United take up a 4-4-2 formation when Rooney is available again. 

A big concern right now is the lack of big name players due to injury. Lingard looks to have picked up and injury, so this puts us in a big predicament for the upcoming busy Christmas schedule. With Bastian Schweinsteiger having picked up a 3 match ban – we need luck to be with us for a while and prevent any further damages to our squad.

Overall Analysis:

There's always those matches when a fan has a feeling something is going to go wrong, this was one of those matches. It could be seen before the match had even started due to the inexperience of our defence as a unit. McNair took Chris Smalling's position and it was clear that the boots were too big for him, he didn't make organise the back line like Smalling would have, and that led to mistakes. Varela had his man down and had to switch to CB with Blind towards the end due to McNair not being able to track down King or Murray. Borthwick-Jackson wasn't even a shadow of himself against Wolfsburg. Blind being the only player who wasn't half bad as he made a couple of important interceptions here and there.

Our midfield display was in shambles. Carrick during the first half played very well with his link up play to Memphis, but was poor in the second half as he couldn't instigate many attacks. I think it'd be unfair to say that Fellaini was terrible as did show dedication to get the equalising goal in the first half. However, he didn't make a huge impact in the second half. It would be fair to say that he could've bagged himself a hat-trick today. He couldn't keep the ball up and he was often sloppy in possession.

To improve we need to radically change this defensive mindset. We have been creating some chances, but today Bournemouth showed that they wanted the three points more than us. Maybe it is down to Van Gaal for not analysing Bournemouth well enough to realise about their set piece techniques, however it could also be down to the players for not picking it up. The last three goals which we've conceded have come from set pieces, this highlights a huge weakness in our play. 

It'd be unfair to blame today's loss on Van Gaal completely. We are being haunted by injuries, which is proving to be a huge problem for us and showing that after spending £250 million, we still don't have the depth in the squad that we need - maybe that is down to Van Gaal. However, I'm confident that once our players start to come back from injury, things will look brighter for us. 

After back-to-back losses, and not managing to win a single game in our last 5, I think that it'd be fair to say that we need to up our game significantly. Our next game is a home to Norwich on Saturday 19th December which is a game that we must win! A very busy Christmas period is coming up, and it's vital that we have our key players returning from injury.


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