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Other SportsManchester United v Bournemouth: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

Manchester United v Bournemouth: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

The State of Play

What a difference one game can make. Manchester United approached Wednesday’s clash with Chelsea in crisis again, with the club banning a group of journalists from their pre-match press conference as Erik ten Hag angrily denied reports of unrest in the Red Devils’ squad.

However, a 2-1 win over the Blues, earned with what was arguably United’s best performance of the season, has them looking up ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Bournemouth. Remarkably, a win over the Cherries would put United level in the Premier League table with neighbours Manchester City.

Scott McTominay continued his prolific campaign by netting twice last time out, becoming the Red Devils’ outright top goalscorer across all competitions in 2023-24, with six. Ten Hag opted to make changes in attack as Marcus Rashford was dropped in midweek, and the Dutchman must now decide whether the restore the misfiring England international to his lineup.

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Despite the positivity brought about by Wednesday’s win, United could face a stern examination next time out against a resurgent Bournemouth side. Andoni Iraola looked to be on the brink when the Cherries failed to win any of their first nine league games under him, but they have since won four of their last six (one draw, one defeat).

Wednesday’s 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace put further distance between Bournemouth and the bottom three, and with the likes of Justin Kluivert, Antoine Semenyo and Dominic Solanke getting to grips with Iraola’s dynamic style, they will be confident of causing United problems.

United have already lost five times at Old Trafford in all competitions this campaign. Can Bournemouth inflict another humiliation on the Red Devils, or will their win over Chelsea represent a real turning point?

Team News

United’s selection issues are starting to ease somewhat, with Mason Mount back in training and Jonny Evans making his return from injury as a substitute against Chelsea. However, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia are still sidelined, as is Victor Lindelof.

Ten Hag’s main dilemma is in attack, where he must decide whether to reintroduce Rashford in place of Antony or Alejandro Garnacho. Kobbie Mainoo is also pushing for another start in midfield, though Sofyan Amrabat produced a solid showing in midweek.

Bournemouth, meanwhile, could be unchanged. Alex Scott, Tyler Adams, Max Aarons and Lloyd Kelly are all sidelined, though the Cherries have made light of those absences with a four-game unbeaten run (three wins, one draw).

Expected Line-ups

Manchester United: Onana; Dalot, Maguire, Shaw, Reguilon; McTominay, Amrabat; Antony, Fernandes, Garnacho; Hojlund.

Bournemouth: Neto; Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kerkez; Christie, Cook; Sinisterra, Kluivert, Semenyo; Solanke.

What they Said

Ten Hag on his team’s recent form
“We know the direction we are heading. We are in a better place in better form, you can see the performances are improving. But we know this league is very competitive. Everyone is killing everyone in every game, so we know we have to be ready for every game.”

Iraola on facing Manchester United
“I think like every European team, they are having a really tight schedule.
“It’s very difficult – we are suffering in this way, and they do this every, every single week.
“They are getting the results and they are improving and they are being, for me, a very efficient team, very efficient.
“They are not conceding, especially in the league, a lot of goals and especially against teams like ours, let’s say in the second part of the standings, I think they’ve won everything except (Crystal) Palace, I think they’ve won the rest of the games.

When and How to Watch

The game at Old Trafford will kick off at the traditional time of 15:00 on Saturday and will not be shown live in the UK.

Prediction

Bournemouth were hammered 6-1 on their last trip to Manchester as City’s Jeremy Doku ran riot against the Cherries in November. Iraola’s team have improved massively since then and should make this one a much closer contest, but United’s individual quality should give them enough.

Expect a hard-fought 2-1 United victory, with Ten Hag’s team having repeatedly made hard work of breaking down bottom-half opponents this season.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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