Second-placed Manchester United will look to get back to winning ways when they host Eddie Howe’s emerging Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening in the Premier League.
The loss in the Manchester derby dented United’s hopes of winning the title strongly, as the 2-1 defeat meant that the Citizens have now extended their lead at the top of the table to 11 points, with United three points ahead of third-placed Chelsea.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, have picked up two points from their last two games and are now three point clear of the drop zone, despite having endured a rocky start to the season.
United look to rebuild
While United are still second in the table, the fact that a massive 11-point gap has opened up between the two Manchester clubs suggests that winning games is the only solution to cutting that gap. And Jose Mourinho will certainly look to pick up all three points from the game against the Cherries.
The Red Devils were held to a draw by Bournemouth at Old Trafford last season and picked up a 3-1 win over Howe’s men at Dean Court in the reverse fixture. They have had the upper hand in the meeting between the two clubs, but the Cherries did beat United at Dean Court itself back in 2015.
Mourinho’s men aren’t just second in the table, but are second in both the goalscoring and the least goals conceded aspect. They’ve scored 36, second only to City. They have let in 11, just as many as City.
While Romelu Lukaku hasn’t been in too fine a form, United will have the likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford to bank on for goals. Jesse Lingard has scored thrice in the last three games and can be crucial on Wednesday.
Cherries look for more momentum
Bournemouth seemed like a side destined for the relegation battle when the season started but things have smoothened out since their win over Brighton and Hove Albion back in early November.
The last five games have yielded six points for the Cherries and the 4-0 win over Huddersfield was a real lift for the club that was more close to the drop zone than it is now. Since then, they’ve lost only one game and seem to give the impression of being an unpredictable side as well, much like the old selves.
A sound defensive record, which is a clear improvement from last season, is a reason for Bournemouth’s climb back up. They have the ninth best defense in the Premier League, but it is on the goalscoring front that the problems have existed more often. The Cherries have the 14th best attacking record so far, having found the back of the net only 15 times.
Major absences for United
Paul Pogba, who missed the derby this past week, will remain out due to suspension after he was sent off against Arsenal two weeks ago. Eric Bailly has been ruled out till 2018 and Marouane Fellaini is close to fitness and could be on the bench. Phil Jones will be fit and so is Michael Carrick, who hasn’t featured since last season.
As far as Bournemouth go, they have no new injury concerns, barring the absences of Adam Federici, Tyrone Mings and Brad Smith.
Manchester United: De Gea, Jones, Lindelof, Smalling, Valencia, Matic, Herrera, Darmian, Lingard, Rashford, Lukaku
Bournemouth: Begovic, Smith, Cook, Ake, Daniels, Ibe, Surman, Arter, Pugh, King, Defoe