Manchester United recorded their third straight Premier League win as they thrashed Bournemouth 5-2 at Old Trafford on Saturday. It wasn’t a perfect performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side, who rode their luck defensively, but it was another magnificent display of the attacking talent at the manager’s disposal. Mason Greenwood was the star of the show, netting a brilliant brace, but Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes also capped impressive performances with a goal.
United should’ve taken the lead after ten minutes of a topsy turvy first half, when an incredible ball by Rashford sent Fernandes through one-on-one. A defter touch might have lobbed the keeper and found the net, but the midfielder could only nudge it over the crossbar. It was a rare moment of imprecision from a player who rarely seems to put a foot wrong.
Five minutes later, Bournemouth were ahead. It was a goal almost from nothing, courtesy of some hapless defending from Harry Maguire. He failed to deal with a floaty, hit-and-hope cross from out on the right flank, his weak header allowing the Cherries to work it out to Junior Stanislas on the left byline. With some slick footwork, the winger shimmied past Maguire, and somehow squeezed the ball past David de Gea from an improbable angle.
By the half hour, United were level, and deservedly so. It was a simple goal, coming as Fernandes prodded the ball across the box for Greenwood, whose shot was so powerful that not even a touch from keeper Aaron Ramsdale could stop it almost tearing a hole in the net. It was Greenwood’s 14th of the season, and he now looks nigh-on undroppable.
Within five minutes, United were ahead. Bournemouth were unlucky, but could have no complaints: Adam Smith left his (not-so-invisible) hand dangling, and inadvertently caught a Martial header on the edge of the six-yard box. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot, and Rashford rolled his penalty home for 2-1.
The Cherries continued to look a threat on the counter-attack, but by halftime, United were two up. Having watched both of his strike partners find the net, Martial decided to get in on the act, cutting in from the left flank and curling an immaculate shot inside the top corner in stoppage time. It was unquestionably the best goal of an impressive three, and Ramsdale never stood a chance.
That should have been game, set, and match, but United made a terrible start to the second half. Arnaut Danjuma had already hit the post by the time former United man Josh King pulled one back from the penalty spot five minutes after the restart. It was a spot-kick conceded in comedic circumstances, coming as Nemanja Matić played a terrible, lofted pass back to Eric Bailly, who had been introduced for Victor Lindelöf at halftime. He cushioned the ball down with the top of his arm, and after a long VAR review, Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot, adjudging Bailly to have committed a handball offence.
Bournemouth’s tails were up, and seconds later Danjuma thought he’d prodded an excellent equaliser past de Gea for 3-3, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside. United’s nerves needed settling, and another screamer from Greenwood soon did the job. Just when one of United’s attacks appeared to have broken down, Greenwood commanded possession, drove into the box, and smashed another brilliant shot into the top corner for 4-2. Ramsdale got his fingertips to the ball, but again it proved just too powerful for him to stop.
A fifth followed just short of the hour, and once again it was a goal to remember. Fernandes continued his brilliant scoring streak, this time dispatching a dipping free-kick from the edge of the area straight past Ramsdale and in at the far post. There was no question that the keeper should have done better, and his vain appeals for offside against Matić were ignored after a VAR review. Having looked on the ropes barely 10 minutes prior, United were now three goals in front.
At 5-2, United’s lead looked safe, and Bournemouth’s heads began to drop. After a spirited performance, the Cherries had finally run out of steam, and United were able to see out another highly promising victory. The Reds’ prospects of Champions League qualification look better with every passing week.