Another day, another win for Manchester United, who defeat Bournemouth by a score of 4-1 at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rejuvenated squad are flying at the moment. Three games into the Norwegian legend’s reign and the Reds have collected all 9 points with ease as the goals just keep coming for United.
United were electric in the first half. Marcus Rashford got things going early with a clever run from the right, duping Nathan Ake and Diego Rico before laying a beautiful pass across goal to find Paul Pogba for the opening goal. Though Bournemouth looked capable of scoring, and came very close on a corner, the Reds defense held their own until Pogba doubled his and the United’s tally with a headed goal from Ander Herrera’s well placed cross in the 33rd minute.
Marcus Rashford earned a goal of his own, and extended the lead to 3-0 in the 45th minute. However, United’s clean sheet drought will continue after Nathan Ake secures Bournemouth’s first goal of the afternoon in first half stoppage time, bringing the score to 3-1 at halftime.
The game settled down a bit in the second half. Rashford and co. continued to create, Pogba was denied a hat trick on a couple of chances, and even full backs Luke Shaw and Ashley Young saw the sight goal. Romelu Lukaku made his return from personal leave, replacing Rashford, who received a standing ovation for his performance. Lukaku marked his return with a goal to make it 4-1 and seal all three points for United.
A straight red card for Eric Bailly was warranted after an unnecessary and nasty challenge, and left a bad taste after an all around impressive performance. The Ivorian will miss some time going into the new year against Newcastle and Reading, but with Victor Lindelof healthy and in form there will be at least one trusted centre back available for those fixtures.
Paul Pogba earned Man of the Match honours for the second match in a row as he continues his stellar form post-Jose Mourinho. United have yet to play a top half side, but it’s hard to believe that this team will have trouble getting results if they can continue attacking like this. With Pogba and Rashford in form, the return of Lukaku and Anthony Martial, and even the intriguing addition of Alexis Sanchez to Ole’s plans this is a team that can do some damage up front. The defensive woes are lessened by the focus on possession and creating chances, and the January transfer window could be an opportunity to bring in reinforcements at the back.
Manchester United next face Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Rafa Benitez has steered the Geordies out of the drop zone, and could prove to be a tough test for the Reds to keep up their young winning streak. The top 5 have dropped a few points over the crowded holiday schedule, and 4 straight wins would be monumental for United’s hopes of retaining a spot in the UEFA Champions League next season.
Though the future for Manchester United’s management is still uncertain, one thing is certain: Ole has the Reds playing exciting football and the fans excited for football.