Saturday 14 May 2016

Match preview: United v Bournemouth

United go into what could be Louis van Gaal's last match at Old Trafford with our top four fate again out of our own hands.

Tuesday's loss at West Ham means that United sit in fifth spot- a place and two points adrift of Manchester City who currently occupy that all all important final Champions League position.

The Reds must beat already-safe Bournemouth and hope that Swansea City can beat our cross town rivals on the final day of the season to ensure a qualification play-off (City only need a draw by virtue of their superior goal difference). 

The Cherries make their first ever visit to Old Trafford for a league game looking for a double of their own having beaten United on the south coast in December. 

Full-back Matteo Darmian faces a race to be fit for next weekend's FA Cup final, Adnan Januzaj is out with a hamstring injury, Marouane Fellaini is banned whilst Bastian Schweinsteiger and Luke Shaw remain sidelined.
Defenders Sylvain Distin and Adam Smith are out with back and hernia problems respectively but there are no new injury problems for the Seasiders. 

Despite a small squad and crippling injury list, Eddie Howe's Bournemouth have confounded pre-season predictions and survived in relative comfort in their first ever top flight campaign- an achievement that has perhaps not had the credit it deserves mainly due to the headline-grabbing feats of champions Leicester.

"We are now dependant on the result of Manchester City and Swansea, that's the difference and that is frustrating because we had the chance with two games to go to keep that advantage but we gave it away and now we have to get it back.
"It is still possible and we have to fight until the end, our aim was to qualify and we can still do that so it is not so bad.
"We cannot control what happens with our competitors, only ourselves and we must win on Sunday so our task is the same" said Van Gaal.

As another league campaign draws to a close, doubts remain over the 64 year old Dutchman's United future, but a fourth placed finish- along with FA Cup success- would do his job prospects no harm at all with Jose Mourinho continuing to be regularly linked with the club.

Currently sitting in sixteenth place, Howe's side could finish as high as twelfth if an unlikely sequence of results were to swing their way at the end of a campaign in which the Cherries boss has underlined his standing as one of the best young managers in the game. 

Form guide: United W W W D W L Bournemouth L W L L L D
Match odds: United 4/11 Draw 12/5 Bournemouth 9/1
Referee: Jonathan Moss 

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