LIVERPOOL’S seven consecutive wins mean the pressure is on for Manchester United – and they cannot afford to slip up today.
Two wins in five for the Red Devils has turned Champions League qualification into a tougher task than it originally seemed.
But Bournemouth are perhaps the ideal opponents for Erik ten Hag’s men.
The Cherries have already secured Premier League safety, so the pressure is off for them.
On the other hand, victory over Manchester United would be the cherry on top of the cake at the end of a superb season for the South Coast side.
Written off by many at the start of the campaign, O’Neil has done a superb job to guide his team to safety.
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That makes them a dangerous opponent for the Red Devils, who know Liverpool are waiting in the wings, ready to pounce on any slip up.
However, recent history between the two sides favours the visitors.
United have won eight out of their 11 Prem meetings against Bournemouth.
And another three points at the Vitality would be a giant step towards Champions League qualification.
A win puts the Red Devils four points clear of Liverpool with just two games left to play.
What is their form like?
The Cherries have lost their last two games, but with Prem safety already secured, it matters little.
Although O’Neil and Co have won six out their last 11 games, so could prove to be tricky opponents.
United meanwhile stopped a run of back-to-back defeats with a win over Wolves last time out.
Ten Hag and Co have won just two out of five games since the FA Cup semi-final win over Brighton.
Who will be the star men?
Dominic Solanke is Bournemouth’s main goal threat.
His seven Prem assists is also the most out of anyone in the squad.
For United Marcus Rashford missed the win over Wolves, having failed to find the net in his three Prem outings prior to that.
But the winger still has 29 goals in all competitions this season, and will be looking to break the 30-goal barrier when he returns on Saturday.
He also has four goals in his last five games against the Cherries.
What have the managers said?
Bournemouth boss O’Neil was not happy with his side’s showing against Palace.
He told the Daily Echo after the game: “We were really poor today. I think we dropped below our level for the first time in a while. From a human point of view, 39 points is a good tally.
“But a good lesson for everybody involved that if we’re not desperate and we’re not at 120 per cent like we have been recently and fighting for every single ball and every single point and you drop your levels slightly against a good Crystal Palace side, you get well beaten.”
Meanwhile, Ten Hag said after United’s win over Wolves: “Every game is important, so we need to win every game.
“We are happy but we have to move on from this point. We take the points and prepare for the next game.
“You have to deal and someone told me United is never going in the easy way, we go difficult way. But I think the team was ready for this battle for this fight.
“We made the goalie of the opponent the man of the match, so we could have made life easier if we score the second goal early on. But we have the points, we’re happy with that.”
United will get the job done effectively now the pressure is on.
The Cherries will offer resistance, but not enough to stop the visitors from claiming all three points.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1 – Man Utd 3
When is Bournemouth vs Manchester United?
- Manchester United will aim to overcome the newly safe Bournemouth TODAY – Saturday, May 20.
- Kick-off is scheduled for 3pm UK time
- The Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth is set to host the game, boasting a capacity of 11,307 fans.
- The Red Devils dominated then relegation-threatened Bournemouth earlier in the season winning 3-0.
What TV channel is it on and can it be live streamed?
- The game is not televised in the UK due to the 3pm blackout.
- However, you can keep up to date with all the action from the Vitality Stadium with SunSport’s live blog.
What is the team news?
Ten Hag’s United will be without January loan signing Marcel Sabitzer (knee) who joins the list of players sidelined with injury.
Lisandro Martinez (ankle), Donny van de Beek (knee), Tom Heaton (ankle) and Phil Jones (knee) are also ruled out for the trip to the south coast.
Rashford is set to return, but Scott Mctominay will likely be a decision closer to the game.
O’Neil’s Bournemouth will be without Marcus Tavernier, Hamed Traore, Ryan Fredericks, Antione Semenyo and Junior Stanislas.
- Bournemouth to win – 5/1
- Draw – 10/3
- Manchester Utd to win – 1/2
*Odds are courtesy of Ladbrokes and are correct at the time of publication.