New year, same exciting football. Matchday 19 in the new year of the Premier League cooks up a clash between Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth.
Man United hold ground in good form, following a 1-0 victory against Wolves in their last game and with 4 wins in their last 5 games, will be eager to win the 3 points as they could leapfrog over Newcastle and go into the top three. As for Bournemouth, their last game was a 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace. The promoted side has struggled for form, losing 4 of their last 5 games and sitting 2 points above the relegation zone.
When & Where?
Date: 3rd January 2023.
Venue: Old Trafford.
Time: 20:00 GMT.
Referee: Michael Salisbury.
Assistant referees: Adrian Holmes, Steven Meredith.
Fourth official: David Coote.
VAR: Craig Pawson.
Assistant VAR: Richard West.
Given that the centre-back will have trained for over a week after his return from the World Cup, Man United may start Lisandro Martinez again in this game. If Diogo Dalot is once again sidelined with a hamstring injury from the World Cup, Aaron Wan-Bissaka might be able to keep his position at right-back. Jadon Sancho recently returned to training although it is unlikely, he would feature. Scott McTominay is also still questionable as he deals with an illness. After recuperating from illnesses, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof both sat on the bench against Wolves, and they might have to agree to positions as replacements once more.
As for Bournemouth, Philip Billing is a serious question mark for the game after leaving the loss to Palace in the first half owing to a hip injury. Again unavailable for selection will be David Brooks and Neto, while the match may be too soon for Ryan Fredericks, Junior Stanislas, and Marcus Tavernier. The same lineup that played against Palace, with Kieffer Moore and Dominic Solanke acting as the front two, may take the field again. Siriki Dembele is set to replace Billing in central midfield.
Manchester United’s style of play has gelled very nicely under Ten Hag. It is now the team that will dominate ball possession and appear to be the greater threat between the two sides rather than the team that would sit back, absorb pressure, and counterattack. Ten Hag’s team frequently transforms from a 4-2-3-1 shape to a 3-2-5 or even a 3-1-6 configuration depending on the intensity of the game because of United’s peculiar attacking structure. In order to lengthen the play and put the fullbacks of the opponent in one-on-one situations, the United fullbacks frequently occupy more central positions, almost as if they were midfielders, and give priority to the wingers. With a playmaker like Christian Eriksen to efficiently break down defences and a shield like Casemiro to retrieve the ball should United lose possession in a dangerous position, the additions of Eriksen and Casemiro in the summer have been crucial to the United team.
With a 5 at the back or when switching to a 4, Bournemouth frequently sets up deep and narrow in their defensive setup, making it challenging for teams to break them down. Although Gary O’Neil has been guiding the team, they occasionally suffer with man-marking and communication, which has allowed opponents to take advantage of them. When teams advance in their final third, it might be difficult for them to make up for overloads. They can also be suffocated by thorough front-line pressuring and the clever placement of both outer banks and double pivot in obstructing any open passing routes.
Marcus Rashford has been Manchester United’s most in-form player in recent matches and has been the primary source of goals. Equipped with blistering pace and energy across the front line, Rashford will always be on the last line and looking to drive inwards at the Bournemouth defence to get a shot away or slip another teammate. With 4 goal contributions in his last 3 games, Rashford could potentially be the perfect key for Ten Hag to use to unlock what will be a very shut-down-locked Bournemouth defence.
Kieffer Moore knows how to put the ball in the back of the net for Bournemouth. Whilst he may not have scored as much as is needed, with 3 goals this season, Moore will likely be a viable target-man option against a Manchester United side that may have a smaller defender in Lisandro Martinez. Moore’s physicality could have a huge impact on the game and should Bournemouth utilise set pieces as the main form of attack, Man united could have some serious worries.
Manchester United predicted lineup vs Bournemouth: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Casemiro, Eriksen, Antony, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial.
Bournemouth predicted lineup vs Manchester United: Travers, Smith, Mepham, Senesi, Kelly, Zemura, Cook, Lerma, Dembele, Solanke, Moore.