Manchester United v Bournemouth, Tuesday 8pm
If Manchester City had lost away to Swansea on Sunday afternoon then Manchester United’s rearranged season closer against Bournemouth would be a significant affair. The Reds could enjoy being the centre of attention as they sought to overtake their fierce city rivals, inflicting maximum heart break as they stole their Champions League place.
Instead City picked up the point they needed to secure fourth place and the farcical bomb-scare, caused by a fake bomb being left on the premises by a security company which was brought in to conduct bomb-threat training exercises, merely serves up this largely pointless affair. United can finish fifth instead of the current sixth place they occupy, either way they’ve qualified for the Europa League, and Bournemouth can climb as high as 14th from 16th. As close to meaningless as a game can get.
One Last Win Before Van Goes
On a more personal level it could be the final Old Trafford bow for Louis Van Gaal, depending on how things develop over the summer. You’d imagine the Dutchman would like to end his reign, if the Jose Mourinho rumours are to be believed, with a win.
United could still finish fourth if they beat Bournemouth by at least nineteen goals. Which is just five fewer goals than they’ve managed in eighteen previous Premier League games at Old Trafford this season. LVG’s side have been effective but uninspiring in front of their own fans.
Containing Not Entertaining
Only Leicester and Arsenal have picked up more points at home this season. However Old Trafford regulars have seen fewer goals than any other Premier League fans this season with the eighteen games to date producing 32 goals in total. Across the city at the Etihad Stadium the City fans saw 68 Premier League goals scored.
A high-scoring home romp can’t be dismissed entirely but it is very unlikely.
- Under 2.5 total goals at
This will be the first league game at Old Trafford between these two sides but the Cherries have visited on four previous occasions on cup business. Losing all four games without scoring a goal. Considering these four games span a forty year period from 1949 to 1989 they may not be especially relevant for this fixture.
What is relevant are the twelve clean sheets United have kept at home in the Premier League this season. In the six games where they did concede only Norwich and Arsenal managed to score more than one goal.
- Manchester United to win to nil at
It has to be noted that Bournemouth have picked up more points on their travels than at home this season, if only marginally. They’ve won seven of their last thirteen away games in all competitions or five of their last eleven away games in the Premier League. They’ve also only failed to score in seven of their twenty-three away games in all competitions. A pretty good record for a team consigned to relegation before the season even started.
That said in the previous twenty-three years of the Premier League/Premiership Manchester United have only lost their final game of the season twice. Only once have they lost a final game of the season played at Old Trafford, a 1-0 loss to West Ham in May 2007. In fact United’s final day record over the last twenty-three seasons stands at fifteen wins, six draws and two defeats.
Bournemouth did win the reverse fixture at Dean Court 2-1 but that was back in December when United were at their worst. Bournemouth have lost five of their last seven in the league and have nothing to play for in this game. So that’s United to grind out a narrow victory in largely turgid and pointless affair. Adding a victory over the Cherries on top of a what has been a rather flavourless season at Old Trafford.