WILLIE DUNCAN (@Willie_Duncan) is at the controls for Manchester United’s clash with Bournemouth on Saturday. What’s he backing?
Manchester United v Bournemouth | Saturday 12:30 | Sky Sports 1
This weekend’s Premier League action gets underway at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime as Manchester United play host to AFC Bournemouth.
There will, perhaps, be something of a celebratory mood surrounding the hosts, for United showed guts galore last weekend to see off Southampton at Wembley in the League Cup final, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who else? – grabbing a late winner for Jose Mourinho’s men.
Dominant at home
United have been fantastic on home soil this season; indeed, the men from Manchester have lost only one of their 22 home matches in all competitions this term – a painful 2-1 loss against Manchester City back in September.
Since then, there have been few slips; defensive discipline has been at the heart of United’s solid home form, with Mourinho’s side conceding just one goal in their last seven games at Old Trafford – and that came from the penalty spot in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
Bournemouth’s 2017 collapse
Bournemouth must have been feeling pretty good about what lay ahead in 2017 when they led 3-0 against Arsenal at Vitality Stadium in their opening fixture of the year; since then, though, it has all gone horribly wrong for Eddie Howe’s men.
First, Arsenal came roaring back to claim an unlikely point on the south coast, before League One Millwall rubbed salt into the wounds with a 3-0 thumping of the Cherries in the FA Cup.
The response to that defeat from Howe’s side has not been a great one; Bournemouth have been beaten in all but one of their subsequent seven fixtures, with their only point procured in a 2-2 draw against Watford.
Leaking goals has been a significant issue for the Cherries this year; in 2017, Howe’s side have lost 23 goals in eight games – an average of just under three per match.
Bournemouth have conceded three times in both of their two most recent matches against Manchester United and the odds compilers offer 11/10 that Mourinho’s men make it a miserable hat-trick for the Cherries by obliging more than twice this weekend.
It is, though, United’s defensive qualities that could offer value for punters ahead of this tie; United have kept a clean sheet in eight of their last 10 victories and the 10/11 quote from Stan James for that trend to continue could offer a solid option ahead of Saturday’s match.
Manchester United v Bournemouth – Manchester United to win to nil (10/11 Stan James)