When Manchester United filed out against AFC Bournemouth on Saturday, it was presumably a David and Goliath affair, for many reasons, the visitors were seen as an outsider and we’re always going to lose, regardless of whatever they put up in fight. Situations conjured negativity for the Cherries early on, just before kickoff, Eddie Howe, Bournemouth manager was ruled out of possible contact with players due to a sudden flu and Tindall, assistant manager took over, the young deputy was filling in on such big day at a ground where they’ve never scored from their own boots nor picked a single point in their history.
With Rostov up in midweek, Jose Mourinho made four changes to the team that triumphed at Wembley, handing Luke Shaw his first start since September and Wayne Rooney his first league start of the two month old year, United went in hard and Marcos Rojo directed a dangerous Valencia shot in for the opener, Bournemouth looked doomed from there as Autor Boruc saved severally from Pogba, Ibrahimovic and Martial successively.
Disaster soon visited the hosts though, Phil Jones’ outstretched legs caught Joshua King in the area and Kevin Friend pointed to the spot, the young forward made no mistake to register their first ever goal off their own boots at Old Trafford. There was time for a nasty twist against the visitors, at the closing stages of the first half, drama here and there saw Cherries captain Surman dismissed with replays showing Ibrahimovic elbowing Smith maliciously.
The second half started with Eddie Howe back in the dug out, information soon filtered in that Tindall was dismissed for a bust up with referee Friend in the tunnel at the break; it was all United after the restart, attack after attack and the ten men stood firmly with Boruc the enfant terrible against the Red Devils; another big twist came with twenty minutes to play when Cook handled in the area and Zlatan Ibrahimovic stepped up to continue his scoring form but Boruc had other ideas, having failed the team severally in recent fixtures, Boruc repaid his manager’s faith by repelling Ibra’s penalty and went on to hang on for the result. The draw was United’s seventh at home this term, something that roots them to sixth when they easily could have moved within the top four with a win.
Arsenal fell to Liverpool at Anfield, not a news considering how Liverpool turn up against big oppositions this term but Arsene Wenger’s decision to drop his biggest player on the day deserves some evaluation.
Bayern Munich is coming to town truly in midweek, but is Arsene trying to overturn a 5:1 deficit? Has he ever done that in times past? On a day you need to make big statement of ambition, you chose to bottle it and allow things to go out of hand before making amends, and then blame excess comfort for the rusty showing, big question Arsene, what are you up to?
Liverpool were outstanding really and credits to Sadio Mane who tormented the gunners all day, with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil stalling on contracts, one can expect a begin again situation for Arsenal next season as the two would be foolish to commit to a team with a cycle of proven failures. Arsenal are technically out of the champions league, completely out of the premier league title race and still got big guns to negotiate for the FA Cup, it’s safe to conclude it’s another failed season, expect them to go on a run from now, beat everyone, manage to finish fourth and then end it with “we have finished strongly, we will take it up from there next season, confidence is high, belief is high”.
Westbrom have been great this season, doing the business against lesser oppositions but whatever went wrong last Saturday must be quickly fixed, Crystal Palace won at the Hawthorns, not many teams enjoy such and credits must be given to big Sam and the Eagles for the emphatic display and all round concentration, the win lifts them completely out of the drop zone, sinking Middlesbrough who lost at Stoke into the bottom three.
Hull fought but stood little chance against the rejuvenated champions, 3:1 success considering they had to come from behind making Shakespeare looking like the real deal, Arsenal is up next for the Foxes, another scene in the English man’s acts. Sunderland lost to Manchester City, Aguero back to scoring form and things ticking again for Guardiola, Moyes seems to be running out of time, out of ideas and out of materials, the drop is almost looking certain now for the troubled former Manchester United manager, rooted to the bottom with a hopeless run in, Alan Pardew might get a job pretty soon.
A peep into the chasing pack and you can’t but love Tottenham, Harry Kane is proving yet again to be the best thing to happen to the league with yet another brace against hard fighting Everton. The trio of Kane, Alli and Eriksen would walk into any team in the league with their sensational form and are more than ready to go one step better then they did last season.
Everton gave a good fight, could have been different if they didn’t start slowly but they did manage two late goals to hand the Spurs a nervy finish, Lukaku is Everton’s all time highest goal scorer, at the tender age of 23!
Manchester City are back in business, well placed to dump Monaco from Europe and will sure chase Chelsea until it’s mathematically impossible to catch the runway champions. Liverpool are yet to decide on their ambitions, lose to minors and beat the big guns, no one achieves anything good with such reputation. It’s the English premier league, it’s a world of loads of uncertainties.