Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. AFC Bournemouth
Venue: Old Trafford – Tuesday, May 17 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)
Match Odds: Man Utd 4/7 – Draw 16/5 – Bournemouth 17/4
Manchester United host Bournemouth on Tuesday evening in a postponed fixture from Sunday’s final day. A bomb scare at Old Trafford ahead of kickoff saw the match abandoned so the 2015/16 campaign has been extended by a couple of days until this game is concluded.
United came into the final weekend needing a win to stand a chance of qualifying for the Champions League. But local rivals Manchester City sealed a 1-1 draw at Swansea and have subsequently secured a top-four finish.
That will come as a major blow to United, who now need to focus on trying to secure fifth place. They are level on points with Southampton, who occupy fifth spot, but are behind on goal difference.Embed from Getty Images
A draw on Tuesday would guarantee European football for the Red Devils, although they will have to settle for the Europa League.
Bournemouth have nothing to play for other than pride here and will hope the disruptions surrounding this game don’t affect their chances too much.
Eddie Howe’s men have not won in four but have only lost three of their last 12 away games in the Premier League (W5 D4).Embed from Getty Images
A win at Old Trafford would cap off a solid season for the Cherries, who will be looking to kick on and improve further for next season.
The reverse fixture saw Bournemouth beat United 2-1 in one of the season’s shock results, although a repeat result looks unlikely here, given their contrasting end-of-season form.
Manchester United will be without Marouane Fellaini as he serves the final game of his suspension here, while Luke Shaw is not fit enough to return here. Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Will Keane all remain injured and won’t be involved. With a top four place no longer available, Louis Van Gaal may rest a number of first-team players ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final.
Several members of the Bournemouth team were set to go on holiday on Monday, but those plans have had to be changed as this postponed fixture needs to be played. Eddie Howe can name his strongest side available, but Tyrone Mings, Adam Smith and Sylvain Distin are all still out injured.
Manchester United’s last five: W/W/D/W/L
Bournemouth’s last five: W/L/L/L/D
Key Stat: Bournemouth have yet to ever score a goal at Old Trafford in four previous attempts. They have lost all four games by an aggregate score of 12-0.
Key Player: Marcus Rashford – The young United striker has been called up to Roy Hodgson’s preliminary Euro 2016 squad and will look to sign off his whirlwind Premier League season with a goal here. He hasn’t scored in over a month but could end that mini-drought here, so long as he starts in attack.
Manchester United 1-0 Bournemouth – The drama from Sunday means that United now know ahead of kickoff that they cannot qualify for next season’s Champions League. That might affect Louis Van Gaal’s approach to the game, as Saturday’s FA Cup final is now the club’s biggest game of the year. That said, the Red Devils will want to end their league campaign on a high in front of the home fans and a narrow victory is expected. United have only conceded one goal in their last five home league games so Bournemouth are unlikely to walk away with three points.