Man United started the match brightly but found chances hard to come by. The first real opportunity didn’t come until the 31st minute, when Michael Carrick almost got a touch on Rooney’s free-kick. There was a real lack of urgency from the home side but a flash of quality just before the break saw them take the lead. It was a superb move started by Anthony Martial, who exchanged passes with Juan Mata before squaring. Rashford stepped over the ball and Rooney was there to bury it for his 100th league goal at Old Trafford.
After the break, a long-range strike from Carrick rattled the crossbar in what could be his last game at the Theatre of Dreams. Minutes later, Adam Federici stretched to keep out Antonio Valencia’s drive. United were turning the screw and they eventually extended their advantage through Rashford, who fired in Valencia’s header down. Substitute Young then got on the end of Rooney’s superb pass late on to seal the win, although Chris Smalling contrived to score an own-goal with the last kick of the contest.
Rooney grabbed his landmark goal in clinical style, finishing off an excellent move which involved several of his teammates. Aside from the strike, the United captain was assured and creative in midfield. His late assist for Young was world-class and Rooney also did some of the dirty work at the back when Bournemouth made forays into the home side’s final third.
The Englishman is yet to be tested in the middle of the park against a top, top side but the initial signs have been good. It could well prove to be where Rooney ends up in the future.
Was this the 34-year-old’s last game for United at Old Trafford?
Carrick entered the field of play with his children, something Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand did prior to their last appearances at the stadium. On the pitch, Carrick put in a typically classy display as he always offered himself as an option to his teammates and kept United ticking over. He also came within inches of scoring in the second half when his thunderous effort hit the bar.
The veteran has often looked United’s most composed midfielder this term but, as is yet to be offered a new deal, it looks like he will leave in the summer following ten years at the club. The lack of an official announcement on the subject from United meant that Carrick didn’t really get the appreciation he deserved (although he wasn’t helped by the low turnout) and it is something the club should have handled better. Carrick was a vital part of one of United’s most successful ever periods and he should be hailed as a loyal and excellent servant.
Bye bye Louis van Gaal?
Old Trafford could also be saying goodbye to van Gaal, although it’s fair to say that his time at the club won’t be looked back on as fondly as Carrick’s by supporters.
There have been widespread reports that Jose Mourinho is set to replace van Gaal in the summer and the potential futures of David de Gea and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at United are said to depend on the Dutchman’s exit. All the signs are pointing to his departure but, of course, there is unlikely to be anything official until after the FA Cup final. The game against Bournemouth was the latest snoozefest (generally) in an underwhelming season and supporters should be able to look forward to a rather more optimistic outlook next term.
Rashford celebrated his England call-up this week by scoring United’s second goal of the evening.
Making it look easy, Rashford smashed home with the sort of confidence you’d expect from an 18-year-old who was playing academy football at the start of the campaign. He’s certainly in a dangerous mood ahead of the Cup final this weekend.