Premier League top-four hopefuls Manchester United travel to the Vitality Stadium to meet bottom-half Bournemouth in a must-win clash on Saturday. Tickets for this game will be in limited supply, so if you are looking to buy your football tickets online make sure you get them sorted quickly.
Despite securing survival on their top-flight return, the Cherries are keen to avoid ending a decent league season with a whimper after losing back-to-back matches.
After a 3-1 home loss to out-of-sorts Chelsea, Gary O’Neil’s side slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace last weekend and could make it three in a row for the first time since a run of four between December-January.
However, they can draw confidence from winning their final fixture at the Vitality in three of their five previous Premier League seasons (D1, L1), while Man Utd’s travel sickness can only further their cause.
Erik ten Hag’s side thumped Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at home last time out to maintain a one-point lead on fifth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand.
But playing outside Old Trafford hasn’t been United’s strong suit by any stretch of the imagination, as they’ve only won 36% of their Premier League points this season on the road (24/66).
They’ve lost their last away league games by an identical 1-0 scoreline, yet now could be a perfect time to defy their woeful form on hostile turf and consolidate their top-four bid.
Bournemouth’s defensive frailties have escalated in recent weeks, with O’Neil’s team suffering three defeats in their last four league matches at the Vitality (W1), capitulating ten times in this sequence.
Particularly vulnerable in the opening stages of play, the Cherries have conceded a league-high eight goals in the first 15 minutes on home turf in 2022/23.
That hardly bodes well for their quest to hold Man Utd at bay for only the second time, having failed to keep a clean sheet in 13 of their previous 14 meetings in all competitions.
With that in mind, it’s hardly a surprise that Bournemouth have lost eight of their 11 encounters against the Red Devils in the Premier League (W2, D1), though they did win their most recent clash at home in 2019.
Man Utd’s ever-growing form woes on the road have seen them lose four of their last six away games in the Premier League (W1, D1), failing to get on the scoresheet in each defeat.
Ten Hag’s lads went down 1-0 at Crystal Palace in their final away league fixture of 2021/22 and could lose two consecutive such match-ups for the first time since 1992.
But the Red Devils seem well-prepared to avoid that unwanted piece of history after clocking three wins on their last four top-flight visits to the Vitality (L1).
Each win in that run saw them score at least two goals, which has been the case in only two of United’s last six Premier League travels, so the visitors cannot take anything for granted.
Bournemouth will be without Hamed Traore, Marcus Tavernier, Ryan Fredericks and Junior Stanislas as none has yet to recover from injury setbacks.
On the other hand, Man Utd cannot call upon the services of Donny van de Beek, Phil Jones, Lisandro Martinez and January loan addition Marcel Sabitzer.
There’s still a glimmer of hope that Marcus Rashford could return for this trip, but Anthony Martial should lead the line at the Vitality.
Bournemouth vs Manchester United Potential Line-ups
Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Neto; Chris Mepham, Lloyd Kelly, Marcos Senesi, Matias Vina; Jefferson Lerma, Lewis Cook; Philip Billing, Ryan Christie, Dango Ouattara; Dominic Solanke.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia; Christian Eriksen, Casemiro; Bruno Fernandes, Antony, Jadon Sancho; Anthony Martial.
We Say: Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester United
This is it for United – they absolutely need to win this game to lock up a top-four finish, especially given Newcastle United’s 4-1 blowout of Brighton on Thursday evening. Win this, and two relatively easy home games against Chelsea and Fulham are left, and United would not only have one foot in the Champions League but would have also locked Liverpool out of the tournament.
United have (mostly) proven up to the task when it’s really mattered – and despite their woeful away from, we’re expecting a win.
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