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Bournemouth 2-2 Man United: Five things noticed, including HUGE player question mark



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Manchester United managed to hold Bournemouth to a 2-2 draw in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

With Antony out through injury, Erik ten Hag elected to start an unchanged XI after the Liverpool draw as Manchester United travelled to the south coast to visit Bournemouth in the Premier League.

The game started with Bournemouth being the dominant side. After 16 minutes, Dominic Solanke capitalised on Willy Kambwala’s slip to smash the ball past André Onana for the opening goal.

Read More: Player Ratings – Bournemouth vs Manchester United (Premier League)

Although Bruno Fernandes grabbed one back for the Reds around the 30-minute mark, within five minutes, the Cherries had their lead restored through a near-post effort from Justin Kluivert.

The second half followed much of the same theme, with Bournemouth dominating completely until United were awarded a fortunate penalty, which Fernandes then dispatched for his second of the game.

United were able to grow into the game from that point onwards, with most agreeing that this was 60 minutes too late. Bournemouth had a penalty awarded in the dying moments of the game, but VAR intervened, concluding that the tackle was outside the area.

#1 – An unchanged XI

For one of the first times this season, Erik ten Hag was able to select an unchanged XI, which will have been a great relief to him.

Antony’s absence was United’s 53rd recorded absence this campaign and was unfortunate for the Brazilian, who has performed well the last two times the club have played.

Although Ten Hag was full of praise for United’s second-half performance against Liverpool, the unchanged side produced a very different overall display against Bournemouth, no doubt disappointing both the Dutch manager and the fans watching.

#2 – Fernandes getting into the grove

Bruno Fernandes has been involved in seven goals across United’s last seven games. For the third game in a row, he showed up when it counted to equalise for United after going a goal or two down, also bringing the game level again for 2-2 with his penalty.

Earlier this season, the United captain was criticised for his lack of goal involvement, but the Portuguese international seems to have become more reliable on that front.

Ultimately, United once again failed to capitalise on the chances that Fernandes seems to be giving them, and Champions League qualification is now too far gone.

#3 – So much space…

Bournemouth’s first two goals followed the same vague theme—for their respective goals, Solanke and Kluivert were both afforded way too much space in and around United’s box.

This then allowed both players time to pick out their spots perfectly to finish past Onana. Yes, only one of United’s ideal back four started (Diogo Dalot), but these are still professional footballers who are on Manchester United’s books.

The defending was so amateur, with the players being undone by the simplest of runs in behind and passes through the lines. It’s shocking.

#4 – Rashford…????

There is a huge question mark over Marcus Rashford right now, and his performance against Bournemouth did him no favours.

There were flashes of him being more motivated to track back. However, so many times, he had the opportunity to give and go with the ball, especially in tandem with Fernandes, but he would only give the first part.

Rashford would pass the ball to a midfielder, then when presented with space to run into, he would instead choose to just jog forwards. Although criticism calling his “love for the club” into question may be a little far, fans are certainly right to share frustrations over his performances this season.

#5 – Shooting themselves in the foot

United’s big problem is that they keep shooting themselves in the foot. It’s not like the side doesn’t score goals—they have scored eight goals in their last four games against Brentford, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Bournemouth.

The issue comes that they keep conceding, too. Much like with point #3, although there has been a ridiculous injury crisis in defence, these are still professional players. They should not be making so many simple errors that lead to goals conceded so consistently.

United’s problem earlier this season was that they couldn’t score, but with that fixed, they now can’t stop conceding.