Sunday’s clash at the Vitality Stadium between Bournemouth and Manchester United will prove to be an intriguing encounter, with all of the pre-match spotlight being placed on Jose Mourinho’s star-studded Red Devils, who are looking to mount an attack on the Premier League title this year.
The recent signings of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, as well as a world-record deal for Paul Pogba, are sure to turn many heads on United’s performances this season.
The Red Devils approach the game after a mixed pre-season, as they lost 4-1 to an impressive Borussia Dortmund team in China, although they were able to respond in a convincing 5-2 win over Galatasaray and lifted the Community Shield last Sunday after beating Leicester City 2-1 at Wembley.
However, the Cherries are a team not to be discounted as they look to build upon their impressive stability since gaining promotion to the top flight. Under Eddie Howe’s stewardship, Bournemouth have become a convincing outfit as they not only play with freedom and flair, but also are energetic and dogged out of possession.
Despite a disappointing end to the 2015/16 campaign in which they eventually finished in 16th position, the south coast side have had a successful batch of results in the run-up to this fixture, most notably wins over Cardiff and Angers as well as a home draw against a strong Valencia side.
This combination of opposition is sure to equip Bournemouth well for the tough road ahead, as they look to move from strength to strength to become an established Premier League team that can more than hold their own with the big boys.
Bournemouth- Tyrone Mings and Junior Stanislas are long term injuries, also unavailable is new-signing Emerson Hyndman who is expected to be side-lined for around two weeks with an ankle injury.
Manchester United- Paul Pogba and Chris Smalling are serving a 1-match bans, and Jesse Lingard is facing a late fitness test after a foot injury which he sustained in the Community Shield against Leicester.
Last Season: Bournemouth 16th – (42pts); Manchester United – 5th (66pts)
Last Meeting: Manchester United 3-1 Bournemouth (May 17, 2016)
League Form: Bournemouth – WLLLDL; Manchester United – DWLWWW
Key Men: Bournemouth – Max Gradel: Manchester United – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Shoot Says: Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester United