Ahead of gameweek 33, with only six games remaining in the Premier League, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United faced a straightforward fixture against Bournemouth at Old Trafford, where the visitors are struggling in the relegation zone and have one of the poorest away forms in the league.
Going into the game, majority of people were expecting the game to be one-sided in favour of the hosts, as they remain unbeaten in all competitions since the end of January and are looking to finish in the top four for the first time since the 2017/2018 season. On the other side, for Eddie Howe’s men, the main objective for the team is to avoid the relegation drop and be in the Premier League for another year, which could be decided on the final day of the campaign with how things are going.
As predicted, the hosts were in full control of the game from the first second of the game to the final whistle, as they went on to achieve 69% possession of the ball and 172 passes in the attacking third compared to Bournemouth’s 57 successful passes in the final third. Though, the visitors were able to play some good football in patches and periods, compared to other teams that have faced a difficult trip to Old Trafford, which allowed them to score two goals through Junior Stanislas and Joshua King.
In the end, the sheer brilliance and pure class that Manchester United had in midfield and in attack was too much for the Cherries to handle, as the game finished off at 5-2 in favour of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team. The Red Devils remain in fifth place, as Chelsea and Leicester City were able to win their respective games, whilst Bournemouth are in 19th position and a single point away from safety.
Here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league game…
The individual mistakes at the back have to be ironed out
For sure, the focus will be on the amount of goals that the side had scored and how they responded after going down by a goal in the 15th minute of the game, but the individual mistakes that were made by the likes of David De Gea, Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire have to be seriously considered. The side have conceded a number of cheap goals from the 33 goals they have conceded so far this season, which could play a pivotal role on if they finish in the top four at the end of July or not.
From Maguire leaving his legs wide open to be nutmegged before De Gea was beaten at his front post once again, to Bailly giving away a penalty with an unnecessary handball just inside of the penalty box, quite a few concerning errors were made against a struggling Premier League side. Fortunately, no further mistakes were made to allow the visitors to push for a magical comeback.
Given the amount of money the club have spent in recent years as well as how they are currently interested in players such as Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish, Solskjaer will be looking to go all out on attempting to challenge for the league title next season, and in order for this to be achieved, the monumental mistakes that are made by the goalkeeper and the defence have to be ironed out.
Rashford, Martial and Greenwood cannot stop scoring at the moment
Towards the start of the campaign, United were badly struggling for goals and were relying on the penalties they were receiving, with both Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba on the sidelines whilst all the pressure and expectations were solely on Marcus Rashford’s shoulders. Six to nine months later, along with the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, the strikers simply cannot stop scoring at the moment.
Martial, Rashford and Mason Greenwood have been scoring goals left, right and centre since the season had restarted a couple of goals, as United have scored 12 goals in their last four Premier League games. And when looking at the statistics of the strikers up until now, Greenwood has 15 goals in all competition, Martial and Rashford have 20 each in all competition, which clearly shows that the club and the manager will never be dried up of goals for the next couple of years or so.
Manchester United’s dominance remains high against the struggling sides
Under the likes of David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, Manchester United had this rising issue of the fact that they would find it difficult to confidently beat the mid-table teams or the struggling sides in the relegation zone and put at least a couple of goals past them. Now, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge, the side are able to continuously play a strong starting line-up, who have the bond and chemistry with one another to be at their best and be in full control of the opposition.
As long as the team are able to continue in this same, professional and dominant manner from now till the end of the season, then both Solskjaer and Manchester United should have no problems at all in picking up maximum points and finishing in the top four. Not only that, with how the rule of five substitutions is being used, it allows the Red Devils to have the ideal individuals to bring on from the bench, whether they need to defend a lead or bring on an a player to quickly turn the game around.