Manchester United vs AFC Bournemouth – Preview
Louis van Gaal is adamant that Manchester United will keep fighting for UEFA Champions League qualification ahead of their final Barclays Premier League fixture of the season against AFC Bournemouth.
After succumbing to a late 3-2 defeat at Upton Park on Tuesday, United missed the chance to head into the last match of the campaign in fourth position.
Van Gaal’s side are now reliant on Swansea City inflicting defeat on arch-rivals Manchester City in order to have a chance to participate in Europe’s premier club competition next season.
“That is frustrating because we had the chance, with two games to go, to keep that advantage,” said Van Gaal.
“We were 2-1 ahead with 15 minutes to play and we gave it away. That is frustrating. It is still possible, so we fight until the end.”
Having successfully steered clear of relegation in their maiden BPL season, AFC Bournemouth will solely be playing for league position on Sunday.
However, manager Eddie Howe believes the chance to follow up the 2-1 win over United in December and complete a double at Old Trafford will galvanise his players.
“We won’t need motivating for this one,” said Howe. “Whenever you play Manchester United it’s a historic occasion, so I am sure the players will be chomping at the bit to get out there.
“We are a competitive team and relish that side of it, so it would mean everything to do the double over them.”
Ashley Young could be in line for a return, but Adnan Januzaj has joined Matteo Darmian (ankle) on the sidelines after picking up a knock during training.
Bastian Schweinsteiger remains unavailable, while Luke Shaw will not make his comeback from a broken leg suffered in September this season and Marouane Fellaini remains suspended.
Bournemouth will be without Sylvain Distin (back) and Adam Smith (hernia).
Manchester United (from): De Gea, Romero, Borthwick-Jackson, Jones, McNair, Rojo, Smalling, Valencia, Varela, Blind, Fosu-Mensah, Carrick, Herrera, Lingard, Mata, Pereira, Schneiderlin, Young, Depay, Martial, Rashford, Rooney.
AFC Bournemouth (from): Boruc, Federici, Bennett, Cook, Daniels, Elphick, Francis, Wiggins, Arter, Gosling, MacDonald, O’Kane, Pugh, Ritchie, Stanislas, Surman, Afobe, Grabban, Gradel, Iturbe, King, Murray, Wilson.
Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: A Holmes, H Lennard Fourth Official: G Scott
– Manchester United have conceded fewer goals than any other team in the Barclays Premier League on home soil this season (eight).
– AFC Bournemouth have lost just three of their last 12 league away matches (W5 D4 L3).
– The Red Devils have taken 19 points from a possible 21 in their last seven top-flight home fixtures.
– AFC Bournemouth have visited Old Trafford four times in all competitions, losing all four without scoring.