The early match preview: Bournemouth v Manchester United

Bournemouth beat Chelsea, Man United lost to Wolfsburg, so Bournemouth will beat Manchester United this weekend? Right?

Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils look to have a series of major issues on their hands before Saturday evening’s Premier League match at Dean Court.

First and foremost, United have a confidence issue to tackle. Having been relegated from the Champions League into the Europa League, United’s players could be low on pride and confidence as they head down south to face the Cherries.

On top of that, stories continue to come out this week about Juan Mata’s disbelief at his substitution in the defeat in Germany. Has Van Gaal lost the dressing room?

And then there are the injuries. Chris Smalling (groin) and Matteo Darmian (hamstring) are doubts, while Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin and Wayne Rooney all missed the Champions League defeat.

As for Bournemouth, they’ve also got serious injury issues. Sylvain Distin, Adam Federici, Lee Tomlin, Marc Pugh and Tommy Elphick have all been missing recent games, while Callum Wilson, Max Gradel, Tyrone Mings and Christian Atsu are long-term absentees.

After securing just their second clean sheet at Chelsea, the Cherries real plus at the moment is in their attack. No team has managed more goal attempts (70) over the last four gameweeks.

So how will Saturday pan out?

Historically Bournemouth don’t like this fixture. They have played Manchester United eight times – all in cup competitions – and have won just once.

More recently Eddie Howe’s side have won just one of their seven Premier League home games. United, by contrast, have lost just two of their last 18 Premier League games.

Interestingly, Bournemouth have conceded the joint-most goals in the league (30), while United have conceded the fewest (10).

So maybe a 1-0 away win?

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