Manchester United vs. AFC Bournemouth
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Saturday, 4 March 2017
Kick-off: 12:30 GMT
After the highs of defeating one south coast opposition last weekend to obtain silverware, the sinking feeling of a 1-1 draw at home to alternate opposition from the same region of the country took its toll for Manchester United.
Despite taking the lead through Marcos Rojo’s maiden Premier League goal, former academy graduate Josh King’s penalty earned Eddie Howe’s side a point for their travels.
Amidst a controversial 90 minutes, Tyrone Mings, Harry Arter and Adam Smith maybe should’ve seen red, only for Andrew Surman to receive a second yellow card at the end of the first half.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was also lucky to escape dismissal before missing a second half penalty, with Old Trafford seeing more league draws than wins so far this season.
As early as the second minute, Wayne Rooney headed over from Antonio Valencia’s cross when the skipper had time for a touch that he didn’t realise.
Veteran goalkeeper Artur Boruc then denied Paul Pogba who raced through on goal as Benik Afobe lost his footing at the other end when trying to round David De Gea.
Cutting in from the left, Anthony Martial forced another save from Boruc as Ibrahimovic headed wide.
The opening goal arrived when Valencia’s dragged shot was diverted goalwards by Rojo inside the penalty area.
Surman then received his first yellow for a foul on Luke Shaw despite taking the ball as Phil Jones’ foul on Marc Pugh allowed King to fire his spot-kick into the top corner.
Ibrahimovic saw yellow for his protest as Mings’ stamp on the Swede went unpunished, as did the former’s retaliation elbow moments later, but Surman received his marching orders for shoving the striker to ground in the same incident.
Rooney’s half volley was turned behind as half-time brought to an end a hectic half.
Martial’s cross was glanced over his own bar by Steve Cook as Ibrahimovic’s shot was blocked by Mings after the restart.
Rooney’s effort deflected over before Boruc tipped away Pogba’s curling attempt from distance.
It was Smith’s handball that led to United’s penalty, but Boruc dived low to his right to deny Ibrahimovic’s spot-kick.
Substitute Marcus Rashford saw a shot deflect behind as the Cherries players seemed constantly injured in a bid to waste time.
It was a United onslaught to no avail late on as Jose Mourinho’s side dropped more points at home in the Premier League.
Looking at the table, United shouldn’t be ruled out of the top four race but with the expected fixture pile-up to come and tricky away matches to play, results like this will not help their cause.
Maybe the focus should be on the Europa League, which returns on Thursday with a testing trip to Russia.
Opposition FC Rostov are no slouches, particularly on their own patch, with the round of 16 first leg commencing at 6pm UK time.
United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Shaw (Lingard 70); Carrick (Fellaini 70), Pogba; Mata, Rooney (Rashford 70), Martial; Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: Romero, Smalling, Blind, Herrera.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Bournemouth: Boruc; A. Smith, Cook, Mings (Cargill 79), Daniels; Fraser, Arter, Surman, Pugh (Gosling 46); King (Gradel 88), Afobe.
Subs not used: Allsop, B. Smith, Wilshere, Ibe.
Manager: Eddie Howe