Barclays Premier League
AFC Bournemouth vs. Manchester United
Venue: Vitality Stadium
Date: Saturday, 12 December 2015
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Manchester United’s miserable week was made worse with a 2-1 defeat to AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
Having battled back to draw with Everton in their last home game before winning away at Chelsea this time last week, Eddie Howe’s side continued their impressive form, thanks to Junior Stanislas scoring directly from a corner in the second minute, before Joshua King returned to haunt his old club with a second half tap in.
Marouane Fellaini did equalise halfway through the first half, but this did nothing to prevent what was a deserved loss on the back of a humiliating Champions League group stage exit on Tuesday night.
With some awfully windy conditions on show, Stanislas drifted his in-swinging corner from the left, simply aiming for a teammate, but the ball was carried over David De Gea’s head and into the goal.
Looking for a quick response, a short free-kick routine saw Memphis’ eventual cross cause havoc, as Fellaini ended up producing a powerful left-footed shot that was saved, as Paddy McNair’s header from the rebound was saved again, as Artur Boruc tipped the ball behind for a corner.
Daley Blind fouled King, but Stanislas’ free-kick went over, as the latter gave the ball away at the other end in a later move, but Anthony Martial could only side foot his effort wide.
The bright and lively Stanislas then found his way in on goal, but as he attempted to round De Gea, the Spanish goalkeeper smothered the ball, claiming it as he went to ground.
Just two minutes later, Michael Carrick’s lobbed pass was controlled by Memphis in behind the Bournemouth defence and despite seeing his shot saved; Fellaini eventually prodded the ball into the net at the second attempt.
A short corner routine led to De Gea holding a Stanislas shot from the edge of the box, with Ritchie also seeing a shot held, with Martial’s trickery inside the box being cut out in between these two Bournemouth efforts, as half-time arrived with the sides level.
The second half started as miserably as the first, with Francis allowed to venture forward from the back unchallenged, forcing De Gea to parry his near post shot behind, and Matt Ritchie’s low corner was tapped home by King.
Looking for his second, King dinked wide as Andreas Pereira’s cross fell to Fellaini, but his shot was saved by Boruc.
The Belgian then saw two more attempts blocked in as many minutes, before substitute Glenn Murray cut inside Blind, but fired a weaker foot shot over the bar from close range.
He also did likewise from a corner, as Martial followed suit, blazing over the bar at the other end despite some neat footwork to set himself up for a sight of goal.
Harry Arter was booked not long after his left-footed effort fell wide, as Bournemouth held on for another famous victory after defeating Chelsea last week, but in truth, United offered very little in the second half after a reasonable first half in response to falling behind early on.
Tiredness and fatigue took its toll after the midweek excursions against Wolfsburg, with seven injuries and one suspension not helping the cause.
However, despite the bad luck with regards to injuries, a lack of squad depth is being shown up, with many kids being forced to play.
Even with everybody fit, United are two, three maybe four players short in terms of depth, and that is without arguing about the quality of the squad.
An inexperienced back-line was given the run around by a busy and energetic Bournemouth front-line, whilst the attack seemed devoid of ideas, rarely threatening, if at all, after the interval.
Next up is a home game against Norwich City, with a 3pm kick-off time, where United will be looking for some Christmas cheer, to end a run of five games without a win, in the final match before such day arrives on December 25.
Manchester United: De Gea; Varela, McNair (Jones 90+1), Blind, Borthwick-Jackson; Carrick, Fellaini (Powell 74); Lingard (Pereira 31), Mata, Memphis; Martial.
Subs: Romero, Jones, Tuanzebe, Young, Schneiderlin, Pereira, Powell.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Bournemouth: Boruc; Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels; Surman; Ritchie, Arter (O’Kane 86), Gosling, Stanislas; King (Murray 65).
Subs: Federici, Pugh, Rantie, Kermorgant, Distin, Murray, O’Kane.
Manager: Eddie Howe