Bournemouth heaped more pressure on Louis van Gaal as goals from Joshua King and Junior Stanislas helped The Cherries beat Manchester United 2-1 this evening.
Bournemouth made a dream start to the match when Stanislas’ corner looped over David de Gea and went straight into the net. United came close to an immediate reply but Marouane Fellaini and Paddy McNair were both denied by an excellent double save from Bournemouth’s Artur Boruc. De Gea then showed excellent anticipation to block Stanislas as he raced through on goal. The save proved to be an important one as Marouane Fellaini poked in following some confusion in the Bournemouth defence. Anthony Martial and Matt Ritchie had chances to score but there were no more goals before half time.
United had looked encouraging but it was Bournemouth who went back in front after the interval when King slotted home unmarked in the box following a corner kick. Glenn Murray should have sealed the three points for the hosts but he fired over with just De Gea to beat. United struggled to get forward in the closing moments, meaning Bournemouth saw out the win.
There were concerns over United’s makeshift back four prior to kick-off but it was actually De Gea who made the mistake that led to Bournemouth’s opener after just two minutes as Stanislas’ corner went over his head and in.
It was a rare moment of misjudgement from De Gea, who has otherwise been superb this season. The wind did play a part in the goal but the Spaniard should have been there to save it.
The Belgian has taken his fair share of flak this season but he was there at the right moment to prod in United’s equaliser.
With the likes of Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney injured for United, Fellaini really needed to take the chance and he did just that at Dean Court. United aren’t playing well right now and Fellaini is useful in the way that he is still tenacious and a handful despite the shortcomings of those around him. It was a bizarre decision from van Gaal, then, to take him off for Nick Powell late on, particularly as Fellaini had looked like one of United’s only dangerous players.
Jesse Lingard’s injury
United lost another player to injury on Saturday as Lingard limped off after half an hour played.
The 22-year-old is now the ninth first-team player on the treatment table and it looks like the club will have to contend with another injury crisis, similar to the one they endured at the start of last season. From van Gaal’s training methods to medical facilities at the club, United will need to ascertain why they are losing so many players as the problem could well hinder a title challenge.
Martial had a mixed bag of a performance against Bournemouth as he showed some wonderful pieces of skill but also displayed some profligacy in front of goal.
After 18 minutes played, the Frenchman capitalised on a poor backpass from Stanislas and raced through, but he snatched at his shot and it went wide. It was a poor moment, but his piece of skill later on was anything but. Picking up the ball and shoving his way out of some trouble on the edge of the box, Martial fell over, got up and then managed to arrange his feet in such a way that he had a chance to shoot, but it was taken away from him at the last, around six yards from goal. It may have been one of the goals of the season.
It’s hard to believe that the player is just 19 years old, such is his calmness and composure on the ball. It will be exciting to see how he develops.
Amateur defending for Bournemouth’s second goal
You’d scarcely believe that the defending shown for King’s goal was that of professional footballers. Completely unmarked, King had all the time in the world to slot in and give Bournemouth the advantage once again.
Some may say that the goal was down to the inexperience of United’s defence but you don’t play at this level by not knowing how to defend a corner. Absolutely atrocious stuff from United.
Where do we go from here?
United’s miserable few months culminated in defeat against Bournemouth and serious questions will now be asked of van Gaal and whether he is the right man to lead the club.
Yes, the side was ravaged by injuries, but that can be no excuse for the dire defending and the apparent lack of pride from those on the pitch. Having spent millions in the summer, it simply hasn’t been good enough from van Gaal in terms of results. Scrutiny over his position in charge of United will soon reach fever pitch.