AFC Bournemouth vs. Manchester United
Venue: Vitality Stadium
Date: Sunday, 14 August 2016
Kick-off: 13:30 BST
Manchester United began their Premier League campaign with a comprehensive 3-1 away victory at AFC Bournemouth.
Juan Mata gave the visitors the lead just before half time, before two quick fire goals from Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic left United in cruise control around the hour mark.
Adam Smith’s consolation did nothing to dampen what was a good opening day performance in a fixture that was lost last season.
The first chance of the game after Anthony Martial cut in from the left-hand side like he did so effectively last season, and curled a shot just wide of the far post.
Antonio Valencia, a rejuvenated character since returning from injury last season, produced a low cross that was helped on by Mata as Rooney could only fire his effort straight at Artur Boruc.
It was a loose back pass that Mata latched onto that saw his initial attempt thwarted by the onrushing Boruc, but the fortunate ricochet dropped to the Spaniard who could tap home and give United the lead.
After the break, Rooney raced clear after a neat flick by Ibrahimovic, but Boruc produced a point blank save to deny the skipper.
The margin was doubled after the marauding Valencia’s cross was miss-hit by Martial, whose left foot volley bounced into the ground but fell kindly for Rooney to head home into the bottom left-hand corner.
Ibrahimovic saw a powerful free-kick palmed clear, but made amends moments later, driving forward before taking aim from 25 yards, finding the same corner as Rooney had previously, to put United in the driving seat.
Perhaps complacency set in, as Smith took one touch inside before releasing a well-struck shot on his weaker foot which found the top corner to give the hosts a lifeline.
However, it took until stoppage time for them to threaten again, as David De Gea denied Andrew Surman with a fine low save, as full-time arrived on a sunny south coast afternoon.
Despite a mixed pre-season, last weekend’s Community Shield triumph and this comfortable victory have created some momentum amongst the squad.
That momentum will hopefully continue on Friday night, when Southampton are the visitors to Old Trafford.
An 8pm BST kick-off time will commence proceedings in the first home game of the new season.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw; Herrera, Fellaini; Mata (Mkhitaryan 75), Rooney (Memphis 89), Martial (Schneiderlin 85); Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: Romero, Rojo, Carrick, Rashford.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
AFC Bournemouth: Boruc; A. Smith, Francis, S. Cook, Daniels; Arter, L. Cook (Gradel 81), Surman; Ibe (Afobe 68), Wilson (Grabban 67), King.
Subs not used: Federici, Gosling, Ake, B. Smith.
Manager: Eddie Howe