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Starting XI: Manchester United vs. Bournemouth

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Red-hot United could move another step closer to a Champions League spot on Saturday

AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Everything that you need to know ahead of Saturday’s match:

(1) No new injuries to report for Manchester United as they prepare to host reeling Bournemouth this weekend. These Reds are a safe bet to keep feasting on lesser Premier League sides — which, happily, makes up most of the remaining schedule this summer.

(2) Manchester United moved back into fifth with Tuesday’s 3-0 win at Brighton. Mason Greenwood opened the scoring and a Bruno Fernandes brace finished off a poor Seagulls side. Whatever momentum that Brighton had built with two good results since the restart wilted under heavy pressure from the visiting Reds.

(3) Mason Greenwood earned special praise from the boss after his goal-scoring performance at Brighton:

He played fantastically. He’s a special kid and we know that when he gets his face up and looks forward, that he’s dangerous. His hold-up play, general play, and link-up play was great. I’d have been proud of that goal. He has a knack of that — he can go inside and outside and he’s just as good with his right foot as he is with his left. He’s developing into a fine player and he’s a special finisher, a special kid in and around the box. He’s one of the better ones I’ve seen.

(4) Manchester United got a big boost this week as both Leicester City and Chelsea lost. It remains to be seen whether finishing in fourth matters or not — that’s up to UEFA and their decision on Manchester City’s appeal — but the Reds are right on both clubs’ heels.

(5) Eddie Howe has worked miracles by getting Bournemouth to the Premier League (all the way from League Two!) and keeping them there for five seasons. But his magic might be running out. The Cherries sit 19th in the table, one point from safety, but struggling at just the wrong time. West Ham’s win over Chelsea only adds to their misery.

(6) This is a beaten Bournemouth group. On Wednesday, Howe’s side got thrashed 4-1 by Newcastle, squandering one of their best remaining chances for a win. Dan Gosling scored a consolation goal at the death, which also happened to be their only shot on target. Dire stuff.

(7) The only bit of positivity was the return of Joshua King. The 28-year-old, briefly linked with a Manchester United return in January, suffered an ankle injury in last month’s 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace. While it looked pretty bad at the time, scans revealed just a minor sprain. King missed the Wolves match, but managed to play all 90 minutes against Newcastle. Will he be ready to play again in three days? Bournemouth may have no choice but to risk it...

(8) That’s because Callum Wilson will miss Saturday as he serves the final game of his suspension for yellow card accumulation. He’s the club’s leading scorer with eight Premier League goals on the season. Without Wilson — and possibly King — that leaves 23-year-old Harry Wilson (7 goals) as Bournemouth’s biggest threat.

(9) No Premier League clean sheets for Bournemouth since December. Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, et al. must be licking their lips.

(10) Jordon Ibe, Ryan Fraser, and Jermain Defoe all left the Cherries this week when their contracts expired on June 30. Bournemouth worked out a short-term extension with captain Simon Francis to keep him at the club until the end of the season. Others receiving short extensions are goalkeeper Artur Boruc, Andrew Surman, and Charlie Daniels.

(11) After the Newcastle debacle, Eddie Howe refused to write off Bournemouth’s survival chances:

It’s tough at the moment to sit here and pick out the positives. We know the situation we’re in is difficult. We know tonight was not a good night. I think me sitting here and saying otherwise would be foolish. But I do still believe we can get out of the position we are in. I do still believe in the players and the group we have. I have no doubt about that. But we have to take tonight on the chin.