A confident Manchester United team resume duties in the Premier League after three weeks, when they face a Bournemouth side in free-fall at Old Trafford. Gameweek 26 sees the return leg of the teams that faced off against each other in the opening weekend. The corresponding fixture finished 1-3 with Mata, Rooney and Ibrahimovic sharing the spoils as they put a hapless Bournemouth team to the sword.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 3, 2017
Manchester United keen to build on EFL Cup win
Manchester United look relentless, racking up the wins in a bid to end the season on a high. Their EFL Cup victory though lucky, displayed the re-emergence of the winning mentality and never say die attitude that Jose Mourinho has worked hard to inculcate.
Ibrahimovic is clearly the standout player in the side scoring 20 goals from his previous 22 games. His all round play can definitely improve, though fans can hardly complain when he scores goals for fun. The player that makes this United side tick and arguably the most consistent player of the campaign is Ander Herrera. The number of tackles and interceptions he makes is staggering and this allows the flair players like Pogba in the side to express themselves. It will be a crucial game for the hosts as they will have a chance to enter the top four this week.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 3, 2017
Manchester United Team News
United have largely been untroubled by injury the entire season besides the odd knock sidelining a player for a few weeks at most. The most concerning news for United fans will be the status of Mkhitaryan, who picked up a hamstring injury during the midweek exertions at St. Etienne in the Europa League. He is a doubt to start this game with Jose careful in the handling of a player that has become vital to the side during the recent run in. Phil Jones who had been injured the past few weeks is fit for this weekend’s action, ensuring United have an almost fully fit squad to choose from.
Howe’s men out to stop the slide
The Cherries had an impressive start to the campaign and were looking good for a top-half finish. However, they have fizzled out and are in a precarious position where another string of negative results will very well put them in danger of relegation. Howe’s men are currently placed 14th – 4 points adrift of the relegation zone and are coming on the back of four consecutive losses. They have had an abysmal start to the calendar year which saw them garner only 2 points in 2017 conceding 20 goals in the process.
Ake’s return to Chelsea and Wilson’s injury has derailed their season. Their attacking pedigree was never under question as shown in games against Arsenal and Everton (3 goals scored in both games), but the question mark is over their defence. Howe has stood firm on his stand that attack is the best form of defence and it has come back to bite him. None of the summer signings have really impressed except Wilshere and there will be serious pressure on Howe. Will Howe’s men fall for the Premier League’s famous “second season syndrome”?
EH: "We're a better attacking team than defending at the moment so we need to close those margins. We're working hard."#afcb ????
— AFC Bournemouth ???? (@afcbournemouth) March 3, 2017
Bournemouth Team News
Artur Boruc, who announced his international retirement this week, will keep his place between the sticks despite his poor performances. Ryan Gosling might finally get the nod over Surman. Ibe and Fraser will provide the attacking outlets on the flanks. Experienced defender Simon Francis is doubtful for the clash, meaning the Cherries defence will be depleted.
Machester United XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea, Blind, Smalling, Bailly, Valencia, Herrera, Pogba, Martial, Mata, Rashford, Ibrahimovic.
Bournemouth XI (4-2-3-1): Boruc, Smith, Cook, Mings, Daniels, Wilshere, Arter, Fraser, Ibe, Gosling, King.
Manchester United's top goalscorers in all competitions this season: Zlatan (26) Mata (9) Pogba, Martial & Rashford (7) Mkhitaryan (6) #MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtdUpdates_) March 2, 2017
Players to watch out for
The Swede is in red hot form and scoring a brace against Bournemouth will see him lead the race for the Golden Boot. He will undoubtedly be the danger man for the Bournemouth defence.
Manchester United vs Bournemouth will be live on Star Network at 6:00 pm on March 4