Full Time: Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester United
Manchester United bounced back to winning ways by defeating Bournemouth 2-0 at the Vitality stadium on Wednesday, helping them move four points clear of third-placed Liverpool.
After the disappointing defeat against West Brom last weekend, Jose Mourinho made seven changes for the trip to Bournemouth, dropping Alexis Sanchez, Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku.
United were rarely threatened by the Cherries in the first half as Chris Smalling gave the visitors the breakthrough after he was left with an easy finish following good work from Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard.
Bournemouth finished the half on top and had their best chance on the stroke of the break as Joshua tested David De Gea with a powerful drive.
After the interval, United dictated the tempo of the game as Romelu Lukaku came off the bench to seal the deal and end Bournemouth’s hopes of rescuing a late point.
It was a morale-boosting win for Mourinho’s men ahead of the FA Cup semi-final clash against Tottenham on Saturday.
Manchester United Player Ratings
David De Gea – 6/10
De Gea captained United for the first time and had very little to do other than palming away a Josh King shot.
Matteo Darmian – 4/10
Darmian got a surprise start but failed to make the most of it. Neither was he defensively solid nor did he contribute to the attacks. A very poor outing.
Phil Jones – 6/10
He looked shaky in the early few minutes but gradually grew into the game. Jones made some crunching last-ditch challenges and helped his team keep a clean sheet. An encouraging performance ahead of the FA Cup semi-finals.
Chris Smalling – 7/10
He is becoming an unlikely hero for the Red Devils with his goalscoring spree. Smalling reacted to turn in Lingard’s cross in the first-half. He was also combative and strong in defence.
Luke Shaw – 6/10
It was a decent performance from Shaw, unlike his typical bombarding and adventurous outings on the left. However, after a calamitous month or so, he should be satisfied with his display.
Ander Herrera – 8/10
It was an archetypal Herrera performance – tenacious, solid and tigerish. His passing was incisive, which led to Smalling’s opener and showed plenty of energy, often dropping between the centre-backs and dictating the play. A performance worthy of a shout!
Paul Pogba – 7/10
Pogba was decent on the ball. Had some lovely touches and showed flashes of brilliance but lacked the cutting edge in the first half. After the break, he improved as he bossed the midfield and assisted Lukaku’s goal.
Marouane Fellaini – 6/10
Fellaini worked hard but failed to stamp his authority on the game.
Jesse Lingard – 6/10
Apart from claiming the assist for Smalling’s goal, Lingard looked off the boil. He made some intelligent runs, picked up good spaces but lacked the penetration.
Anthony Martial – 6/10
Martial started off very well and gave Simon Francis a lot of problems. He faded away in the second half but deserves more chances to get back his mojo.
Marcus Rashford – 5/10
Rashford was handed a rare chance to lead the line but he disappointed. Barring a few lively moments, including his stinging shot which was saved by Asmir Begovic, he failed to impress.
Romelu Lukaku – 7/10
Lukaku came off the bench and bagged his 27th goal of the season with a fine finish.
Nemanja Matic – 6/10
Came on for Herrera to see off the game.
Daley Blind – N/A
The only eventful moment of his appearance was his failed effort to hit the ball with the laces.