Bournemouth 2 Man United 1: Three talking points

Three talking points as Bournemouth secure a surprise 2-1 victory over Manchester United

European hangover

Selecting an inexperienced side containing debutants Guillermo Valera and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson at an intimidating Dean’s Court, Louis van Gaal would have been desperate for Manchester United to get through the opening 20 minutes unscathed. However, the visitors were on the back-foot inside two minutes after Junior Stanislas curled an inswinging set-piece into David De Gea’s far corner. Although the United goalkeeper has been one of Van Gaal’s most-consistent performers, his rare misjudgement came at an unfortunate time with the squad’s morale low. While Marouane Fellaini managed to get a foothold on the game, Stanislas’s goal injected Bournemouth with another dose of confidence after their Stamford Bridge heroics last week. United never recovered.

Van Gaal needs to sign a striker

Relying on Marouane Fellaini to grab scrappy goals isn’t a sustainable long-term plan for United. The Belgium international showed strength to hold off the Bournemouth defenders and equalise after Staniislas’s opener. It wasn’t pretty but it was effective. Otherwise, Anthony Martial spurned a half chance midway through the opening half as he dragged a finish wide. Chelsea captain John Terry praised the 20-year-old for showing mental strength and embracing the number nine shirt at Old Trafford on Sky Sports before kick-off. In the absence of Wayne Rooney, Martial led the line and he battled well against an industrious Bournemouth rear guard. However, United are alarmingly reliant on the France international with Rooney sidelined. Van Gaal sold Javier Hernandez and loaned out Adnan Januzaj and James Wilson in the summer, which seems like an increasingly arrogant and reckless move. Regardless of a potential injury to Martial, the former Monaco striker needs help up front. The striker is young and lacks the consistency of a more experienced centre-forward. If Van Gaal is to salvage United’s season following their Champions League exit, a new striker in January is a must.

Van Gaal starting to look cornered

United had conceded just twice in nine games before their trip to Germany in midweek. So Van Gaal will be perplexed about how the Red Devils have conceded five goals in their last two games. Of even more concern will be that three of those five goals have come from set-pieces. Whilst Stanislas’s wicked corner was something of a freak occurrence, although De Gea could have been positioned better, Van Gaal will be furious with his players’s naivety for Bournemouth’s second. Matt Ritchie’s low delivery found Joshua King on the penalty spot and the former United youth player guided a finish into De Gea’s goal. Whilst the home side executed the set-piece routine to perfection, the Red Devils were exposed as a makeshift defence – not one United player checked King’s run. If Glenn Murray had managed to keep his balance, Van Gaal’s men could easily have conceded their fourth goal from a set-piece this week.

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