10-men Bournemouth made the most of today’s game, as the Red Devils’ lack of creativity and lack of lethal finish in front of goal costed them dearly, as they could only manage a 1-1 draw on home turf after the exploits of the EFL Cup last Sunday, and this draw also ensures that they also lost the chance of entering the top 4, at least for now. Zlatan for once stole the limelight for the wrong reasons this time, as he was lucky to escape a red card (he can still be suspended by post-match video commissioning), then fluffed his lines from the spot as he failed to produce the brilliance we have seen him display in the past weeks.
Rooney, back after so many speculations, was the first one to threaten, but while he was found in space, he opted to head over instead of trying a controlled shot/volley in the first minute of the game itself. Bournemouth responded by a quick counter at the other end, but De Gea was on alert to prevent any nasty surprise as Afobé managed to get past Rojo but slipped at the crucial moment, leaving De Gea the chance to palm the ball away from danger. United upped the tempo gradually, but Boruc was on hand at the other end to keep out the Red Devils’ attempts. But United were finally ahead on the 23rd minute, as Valencia drilled a shot in the box, and Rojo stuck out his left leg to push the ball into the far corner, with the keeper rooted on his line. However, United’s lead was short-lived, as on the 39th minute, Jones brought down Pugh in the box, and King dispatched the resulting penalty kick into the top corner, leaving no chance for De Gea to reach it. The closing minutes of the first half was a real chaotic one, as Mings first trod on Zlatan’s head, which went unseen by the referee, then from the resulting corner kick, Zlatan got his revenge back by elbowing the former while jumping for a header. Zlatan was already booked earlier, and so was Surman, who went on to push the big Swede to the ground, and the referee chose to ignore the initial foul and went on to take action on Surman by showing him a second yellow and a red, while Zlatan was saved by Rooney’s intervention towards the ref. 1-1 at half time, much more was being expected from the Red Devils thou.
With 1-man down, it was obvious that Bournemouth were not going to attack like mad, and even opted to send on an additional defender in Gosling, but the Red Devils themselves could not really up the tempo again and looked more like a team cut in half as they clearly failed to build any meaningful attack. A couple of chances came thou, but Zlatan’s freekick was too limp to do any damage, while Pogba had an attempt saved from long range. Mourinho was tense on his line as well, and made 3 changes simultaneously as he sent on Rashford, Fellaini and Lingard for Rooney, Carrick and Shaw, and this move proved he was desperate for the win. Yet, when the chance presented itself again, Zlatan fluffed his lines again, as Pogba managed to draw a hand-ball in the box, and from the resulting penalty kick, Zlatan shot was not clean nor powerful enough, and Boruc made a simple save out of it, as despair rang around the stadium. United failed to produce any dangerous attempts as the game came to an end, and Bournemouth were the ones to leave the stadium very happy, as they played the second half with 10-men, yet got away with a point, while for the Red Devils it was 2 points lost as this was their chance to put pressure on the top 4, but it went begging finally.