Bournemouth vs Manchester United Preview: Mourinho makes Red Devils Premier League bow

The Portuguese boss takes to the dugout for the first time in the Premier League as United boss, but can Bournemouth cause an upset?

Bournemouth vs Manchester United Preview: Mourinho makes Red Devils Premier League bow
Image: VAVEL UK / Jonny Walsh & Harry Robinson

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United tenure takes another small step tomorrow afternoon as they face AFC Bournemouth in the two sides’ opening Premier League fixture.

The experienced Portuguese boss and his Cherries counterpart, Eddie Howe, have both used the transfer window to improve their respective squads and both will hope that their sides will be able to improve on last season.

Pogba introduction postponed

One of those new players comes in the form of the Red Devils’ midfielder Paul Pogba. Although not completely new in Manchester, his four-year exile from Old Trafford came to an end when he signed for a world record-breaking fee. This comes just four years after the Frenchman originally left the club for a mere compensation fee – joining Juventus where he asserted himself as one of the best midfielders in the world.

However, it recently emerged that Pogba would miss the game due to suspension. The official Football Association twitter confirmed that he was banned, claiming on twitter that Pogba was “booked twice in last season’s Coppa Italia, which results in a one-game ban. This has been transferred to England.”

It is unlikely that Mourinho would have turned to Pogba anyway, given that he has only been at the club for little under a week. Although it leaves United short in midfield. Bastian Schweinsteiger has - rather harshly - been relegated to a role training with the club’s Under-23s, whilst Mourinho doesn’t particularly seem too keen on Ander Herrera nor Marouane Fellaini, so the likelihood is that Morgan Schneiderlin will partner Michael Carrick in midfield.

Exciting Bournemouth ready to kick-off new campaign

Most outsiders expected the Cherries to go straight back down in their maiden Premier League campaign, however, here they are about to begin they second successive season in the top-flight. Proving the doubters wrong comes as second nature to Howe’s side, who played some wonderful football throughout the majority of the previous season.

The additions of Jordon Ibe and Lys Mousset will add firepower in the final third, whilst Lewis Cook and Emmerson Hyndman are two young central midfield players with huge potential. Cook, who joins from Leeds, is an England youth international, whilst American Hyndman, who has caps at senior level, joins from Fulham. Nathan Ake also joins on a season-long loan from Chelsea having had a successful first full Premier League campaign on loan at Watford.

Eddie Howe may have a few big decisions to make tomorrow. | Image credit: Catherine Ivill - AMA - Getty Images
Eddie Howe may have a few big decisions to make tomorrow. | Image credit: Catherine Ivill - AMA - Getty Images

Pre-season results

Bournemouth began pre-season with a 4-0 win over Minnesota United before being involved in a 3-3 thriller with local rivals Portsmouth. However, goals have since dried up. Two 1-0 victories and two 1-1 draws followed, although Howe will be pleased with the unbeaten record.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils contested four friendlies. A 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic set the ball rolling, however, a 4-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund – despite a first goal from new man Henrikh Mkhitaryan – would have frustrated win-at-all-costs Mourinho.

A so-called friendly against Manchester City was expected to take place in Beijing but it was eventually called off due to adverse weather conditions.

A 5-2 victory over Galatasaray was followed by a 0-0 against Everton in captain Wayne Rooney’s testimonial. This set them up nicely for the Community Shield against last season’s surprise league champions, Leicester City, and they won Mourinho’s first piece of silverware as United boss with a 2-1 victory.

Predicted line-ups

Bournemouth: Boruc; A. Smith, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Ibe, Gosling, Surman, Gradel; Afobe, Wilson.

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Blind, Bailly, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Carrick; Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Martial; Ibrahimovic.