Manchester United can keep their Champions League qualification bid on track with a win against Bournemouth in the Premier League.
Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Key Stat: Manchester United stretched their unbeaten run to 15 matches in all competitions with their most recent victory.
Expert Verdict: A pair of 3-0 wins in their last two league games mean Manchester United are now just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea. With Bournemouth struggling, and in very bad form, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side can rack up another big win.
After rotating their side for the FA Cup win against Norwich, Manchester United were back to full strength last time out – Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial all returning to the team. They remain at full-strength with only Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones sidelined recently.
Marcus Rashford – Still no goals since his return but he has 14 to his name this season and his return to fitness during lockdown was a big boost.
Bruno Fernandes – Two more goals to his name, this time from open play, continued an excellent impact since signing for United.
Anthony Martial – Scored all three goals in the league win against Sheffield United to remind everybody there is more than just Rashford up front.
Anthony Martial scored a hat-trick in the 3-0 win at Sheffield United and Bruno Fernandes netted twice in a 3-0 win at Brighton last time out. In between, Harry Maguire’s extra-time winner saw United into the FA Cup semi-finals. They are now unbeaten in their last 15 matches in all competitions.
Goalkeeper:David de Gea
Defenders:Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw
Midfielders:Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Paul Pogba, Brandon Williams
Forwards:Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes
Simon Francis was short of fitness post-lockdown, while Charlie Daniels is a long-term absentee. Callum Wilson is suspended after picking up his tenth yellow card of the season too, to add to Bournemouth’s troubles, which haven’t been helped by Ryan Fraser turning down a contract extension and therefore leaving the club. There are likely to be big changes after their heavy defeat to Newcastle.
Josh King – Scored against his former team in Bournemouth’s win earlier in the season and he will be looking to make his mark amid interest from higher up.
Harry Wilson – Liverpool loanee can get one over Manchester United as he looks to end the season in the sort of form he started it in.
Aaron Ramsdale – Four goals conceded last time out will have hurt the English goalkeeper, but he did keep a clean sheet when these sides last met.
Bournemouth have gone seven games without a win and their 4-1 thrashing at home to Newcastle in midweek was their fourth defeat in a row too. Since football’s resumption, they have lost 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace, 1-0 away to Wolves and 4-1 to Newcastle last time out – Dan Gosling scoring their only goal late on.
Defenders:Diego Rico, Nathan Ake, Chris Mepham, Adam Smith
Midfielders:David Brooks, Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling
Forwards:Harry Wilson, Junior Stanislas, Dominic Solanke
Bournemouth’s surprise win against United in November was their first in eight matches – they last won in their first Premier League meeting back in 2015. United won six and drawn one in between those defeats. Josh King scored the only goal against his former club back in November. Here are the results of their last five matches:
Nov 02, 2019: AFC Bournemouth 1-0 Manchester United
Dec 30, 2018: Manchester United 4-1 AFC Bournemouth
Nov 03, 2018: AFC Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester United
Apr 18, 2018: AFC Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester United
Dec 13, 2017: Manchester United 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Manchester United are in excellent form and their charge up the table should continue unhindered given Bournemouth’s struggles.
Eddie Howe’s side have had a very good stint in the Premier League, but the Cherries are struggling now and just can not seem to get out of their predicament.
A heavy defeat to Newcastle last time out compounded matters further and their hopes of survival look slim now.
Certainly, in-form Manchester United will have been among the last teams Bournemouth wanted to face next up.
United, with Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, and Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial firing, are in excellent form and now within touching distance of the top four.
After a pair of 3-0 wins in their last two league games, it bodes well for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side for another big win against a Bournemouth side demoralised, lacking goals and leaking too many.
Back in November, Josh King’s goal earned Bournemouth a shock win against United, but the chances of that happening again seem extremely slim.
This match should end with United firmly in the hunt for a top four place and Bournemouth still rooted in big relegation trouble.
Given the form of both teams, it is no surprise to find Manchester United are big favourites to win this one. They can be backed at 1/6 with Ladbrokes, 888sport, Betway and 10Bet to win.
Those odds improve if you back them to win to nil at 7/10 with Betway, however, or go for United to win and over 2.5 goals at 8/13 with Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Betway.
A Manchester United winning margin of four or more goals is just 7/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power, meanwhile.
Anthony Martial is 8/11 to score at any time with Ladbrokes, while Marcus Rashford is 3/4 with Ladbrokes. Bruno Fernandes can be backed at 3/2 with Ladbrokes.
Manchester United’s excellent form, paired with Bournemouth’s struggles, means the hosts could rack up a big win in this one.