Friday 3 March 2017

Match preview: United v Bournemouth

United return to league action against free-falling Bournemouth in a meeting between two teams in vastly contrasting form. 

Fresh from their thrilling EFL Cup win over Southampton last time out, United - with one defeat in 25 and six wins in a row - can move fourth with victory over the Cherries. 

The Reds have not played a league match for a fortnight but a win would lift us above both inconsistent Liverpool and an indifferent Arsenal, who meet at Anfield in the tea time kick off. 

Eddie Howe’s side survived in relative comfort in their first ever Premier League campaign last term, but have not found things as stable this time around.

The out of form Cherries are without a win in 2017, a torrid run of eight matches, to slip from mid-table to the fringes of a relegation battle.

They sit 14th but are four points off the drop zone and looking nervously over their shoulders at the chasing pack.

Despite the visitors poor form, United boss Jose Mourinho said that his side cannot underestimate the south coast outfit.

He said: “Bournemouth are a very tricky and dangerous team with quality and ambition, they are not afraid to play .
“They always try to attack, and to win, never to play just to draw, so they will pose a difficult challenge and we cannot underestimate them.                                         “I think there will be no impact from us after the EFL Cup win, it is one less competition for us to worry about - the League Cup is finished and we have to focus on the league.”

Mourinho confirmed that Luke Shaw - who has not played since the 4-0 FA Cup win over Wigan - and captain Wayne Rooney are both set to feature in some capacity against the Cherries. 

Phil Jones is also set to return but Henrikh Mkhitaryan remains doubtful. 

The corresponding fixture on the final day of last season was memorable for all the wrong reasons when the game was abandoned because of a suspicious device found in an Old Trafford toilet.

It was later found to have been left behind by a local private firm during a routine exercise but United won the hastily rearranged fixture 3-1 three days later.

Form guide: United W W W W W W Bournemouth L D L L L L

Match odds: United 1/3 Draw 5/1 Bournemouth 14/1
Referee: Kevin Friend 

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