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It seems like the first time in forever, but Manchester United can actually feel good about themselves (finally) and head into Saturday’s lunch time fixture away to Bournemouth with some confidence.
After putting in an encouraging display in a draw against Liverpool a couple of weeks ago, United backed that up with three consecutive away wins — and they really should be looking to bring the game to this weekends hosts in order to get a fourth and gain some real momentum in the Premier League.
This turn of form really came out of nowhere, but United have seemingly turned a corner after their rather turbulent start to the season. Everyone was going into that Liverpool game with their heads down, but following a change of formation and an improvement in performances, it feels like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men are beginning to pick up some steam.
An on paper more defensive 3-5-2 formation saw United almost grab all three points against Liverpool, but most importantly, it showed that Solskjaer was not afraid to switch things up after his preferred system was evidently not working. A good showing in the new system has now added a new weapon and a sense of unpredictability to United’s arsenal, with the team looking more and more comfortable in the games that followed.
After escaping with a win from a tough environment away to Partizan, United cruised through Norwich in the league and put in a very solid shift at Chelsea to advance into the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup.
With the return of Anthony Martial, the fluidity in the team’s attacking play has been looking a lot better. The Frenchman’s presence on the pitch has brought out improved performances from the likes of Andreas Pereira, while completely taking the shackles off Marcus Rashford who has since rediscovered his goal scoring form.
Bournemouth have been in similar form to United this season. They sit two places below the Reds (9th), but on the same amount of points and with the same record (3W-4D-3L). Unlike United though, Eddie Howe’s men have hit a bit of a roadblock in recent weeks and have failed to score in their last two league games.
In what is normally quite a tough away day at a very compact stadium, it feels as though this is the perfect time for United to visit the coast in an attempt to pick up a fourth away victory on the bounce. After receiving so much heat in recent weeks, United all of a sudden find themselves just 7 points out of the Top 4, and a win away to Bournemouth would be invaluable in terms of building more momentum and getting closer to the upper part of the table.
Saturday’s game will likely come to soon for Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe or Diogo Dalot to be considered for selection. It has also been confirmed that Paul Pogba will be out until at least December with an ankle issue. Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah will also continue to sit out due to long-term injuries. It has also been reported that Marcus Rashford and Marcos Rojo both picked up slight knocks in the physically demanding Chelsea game, with Harry Maguire also notably limping at one point, but Solskjaer is hopeful that all three will be available come Saturday.
Bournemouth are set to be without Dan Gosling, who could return at the end of the month, and David Brooks, an attacking midfielder that could definitely help the hosts with their struggles in front of goal. The Welshman is likely looking at another week or so on the sidelines. The other notable absentees for the Cherries are Charlie Daniels and Junior Stanislas who have no return dates set on their respective recoveries.
Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester United