By Dave Marshall
Premier League giants Manchester United travel to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday to take on high flying Bournemouth in a game that promises to be full of excitement. The Cherries have performed beyond expectations so far this season and are currently placed sixth in the league table, with Man United three points and two places below them.
With their current form, the South Coast outfit are a very tough side to beat and Eddie Howe may fancy his team’s chances of delivering an upset against a Man United side that are slowly getting back to their best after an early-season slump. We take a look at United’s predicted lineup for the lunchtime kickoff on the South Coast.
David De Gea has kept only one clean sheet in 10 league matches this season but that doesn’t take anything away from his undoubted quality. The Spaniard has not been at his brilliant best this campaign but he remains one of best stoppers in the division.
Luke Shaw has appeared resilient at the back since the start of the season and should continue barring any last minute injury. The England International has turned his United career around and is now labelled as the undisputed first choice left back under Jose Mourinho. On the opposite flank, Ashley Young continues to make a mockery of his doubters with a series of fine displays down the right. In the heart of the defence, the burgeoning and ever-improving partnership between Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof will be hoping to repel the forays of the Bournemouth attack and impress Mourinho.
Brazilian international Fred is expected to retain his place in the middle of the park. The industrious and tenacious midfielder has only impressed in spurts since his summer arrival but he will be keen to show his quality. Alongside him should be the pair of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba. The duo are slowly starting to get back to their fine form and they are likely to play a crucial role if United are to get a positive result on Saturday.
Anthony Martial is in the form of his life, having netted four goals in his last three matches and should get to play on the left of a three-pronged attack. Having impressed in the game against Everton, Juan Mata is expected to retain his place, while Romelu Lukaku should come in for this one after failing to start the game with his former side last time out.
The big Belgian is in the middle of his longest goal drought since joining United, and was taken out of the spotlight by Mourinho last week in the wake of heavy criticism.
Man United Predicted XI v Bournemouth
Probable lineup: De Gea, Shaw, Smalling, Lindelof, Young; Matic, Fred, Pogba; Martial, Mata, Lukaku.
By Dave Marshall