Manchester United vs Bournemouth Prediction
Tuesday 3rd January 2023
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Manchester United vs Bournemouth Prediction Match Overview
In the first round of 2023’s Premier League fixtures, Manchester United host struggling Bournemouth, with United hoping to build upon their efforts to secure Champions League qualification this season. Following a highly-publicised rocky start to the season during which Manchester United lost their opening two fixtures to Brighton and Brentford, since then they have taken 32 points from 14 matches – a scenario which seemed to be incredibly unlikely at the start of the campaign. This leaves them two points ahead of Tottenham and four points ahead of Liverpool, with today’s match representing a game in hand. A win here is vital for Manchester United’s Champions League ambitions, as they face reigning champions Manchester City the following week at Old Trafford. Last time out, Ten Hag’s men achieved a hard-fought victory against Wolves that was perhaps a step down in terms of quality from the 3-0 home victory over Nottingham Forest in the previous round of matches, though United did end the game as clearly the stronger of the two teams.
Bournemouth will be hugely disappointed with their 2-0 home defeat against Crystal Palace, in a listless display which saw them 2-0 down at half time having failed to register a shot on target. While the south coast side had arrested a poor run of form with a 3-0 home victory against Everton before the World Cup break in November, that win represents just 3 points from a possible 21 in a run of form that has seen Bournemouth fail to find the net on four occasions. It’s clear they’re struggling now, whereas previously they had gone six unbeaten in the league, picking up wins over Leicester and Nottingham Forest and gaining points against Newcastle, Wolves, Brentford and Fulham. Now they have to pick themselves up and play Manchester United and in-form Brentford away from home in consecutive matches, and the omens don’t look good.
Manchester United vs Bournemouth Team News
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Dalot, Martinez, McTominay
Will Not Play: Sancho, Tuanzebe
Might Not Play: Billing, Fredericks, Stanislas, Tavernier
Will Not Play: Brooks, Neto
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Shaw, Martinez, Varane, Wan-Bissaka; Casemiro, Eriksen; Rashford, Fernandes, Antony; Martial
Bournemouth (5-3-2): Travers; Zemura, Senesi, Kelly, Smith, Anthony; Dembele, Lerma, Cook; Solanke, Moore
Manchester United vs Bournemouth Prediction Analysis
Bournemouth Mustn’t Retreat Into Their Shell
This might seem counter-intuitive for a side of limited playing resources struggling in the Premier League, but if they do that then they might as well just forfeit the match. Bournemouth found themselves 2-0 down after 25 minutes against a Chelsea side that has struggled to impress this season by adopting this approach, and although they enjoyed more possession in their following game against Crystal Palace, they did very little with it and ended the first half with zero shots on target and a 2-0 deficit. The last team to come to Old Trafford, Nottingham Forest, were also far too passive and didn’t play their usual aggressive, pressing from the front game and as a result, the game was, overall, very comfortable for ten Hag’s men as reflected in the 3-0 scoreline.
Bournemouth need to show ambition in possession rather than merely clearing their lines. They have a target man who can disrupt defences, create space for others and is an aerial threat in his own right. To make use of this, they can’t simply whack the ball up to an isolated target man, they’ll need the proper support from the likes of Solanke bursting forward and Cook, Dembele, Zemura and Anthony. While committing men forward on the break going forward may seem risky, some questions can be asked of this United defence when a weaker team shows the proper ambition. Wolves are struggling in the relegation spots and have had a difficult season, but they acquitted themselves well and were deservedly in the match for much of their encounter. If Bournemouth don’t put United under some pressure of their own, then they will be under pressure themselves for much of this match and frankly, they don’t have the resilience to hold out for 90 minutes and catch a break or a set-piece opportunity.
Manchester United’s Decision-Making in Possession
With the caveat that Wolves have established a reputation for being, first and foremost, difficult to play against during their time in the Premier League, Manchester United made some poor decisions when in the final third that ensured their 1-0 victory was far edgier than they would have appreciated. If they truly hope to evolve their standard of play into that of a top European team, then they should be aware that they squandered possession in the final third far too often, with the principal culprits being Antony and Bruno Fernandes. Often, they were too anxious to play the final ball, too eager to get a shot off on target to put an aggressive Wolves side to bed. This also ties in with Bournemouth’s passivity – if Bournemouth play as they have done since the return of Premier League football, they’ll lose in a similar manner to how Nottingham Forest lost at Old Trafford.
United must learn how to recycle possession better when there aren’t any available chances to play a killer pass or a clear opening at goal. Bournemouth aren’t demonstrating that they are capable of playing the suffocating, aggressive style of football required to make a team like Manchester United hurry in possession, so United mustn’t throw away this tactical advantage. United can take their time to grow into the game and look to dominate the ball before getting their full-backs involved more to stretch the play and provide additional room for their playmakers to operate inside.
Beat the Bookmaker Manchester United vs Bournemouth Prediction
While the scorelines haven’t reflected it yet, Bournemouth are struggling quite badly since the restart. A more ruthless team than Chelsea would’ve inflicted a heavy defeat upon the Cherries, and they were arguably even worse against a Crystal Palace side who were coming in off two defeats themselves. Bournemouth will know that they have been far too passive of late and we expect that they’ll try to impose themselves more upon Manchester United by attempting to press United higher up the pitch and look to take advantage of breakdowns in possession, but we feel that they don’t have the quality to do that here and in transition, Phillip Billing is a big miss for them. Once United make their breakthrough, we feel that Bournemouth will have no way back into the match and we fear a heavy defeat is on the cards for them.
Manchester United 4-0 Bournemouth
Beat the Bookmaker Manchester United vs Bournemouth Prediction – Manchester United to win by two goals or more (-1) Odds:
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