Late drama for Manchester United, as Marcus Rashford’s injury-time goal was able to stamp the scoreline 2-1 against Bournemouth.
Eddie Howe’s side had set the stage early on as the Cherries went up with Callum Wilson’s cool finish. However, Martial’s equalizer in the first-half gave the Red Devils much hope, before the entire squad was able to muster enough effort for the brilliant finale.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the game:
1. Altered Front Three
Romelu Lukaku was injured late in training, which ensured that he didn’t make the trip to Bournemouth. As a result, Jose Mourinho opted for a rare lineup that had both Sanchez and Martial. Their attacking trident was aided by Mata, although it differed quite a bit from the natural United style.
Sanchez functioned as a no.9, with Martial retaining his dangerous spot out wide, and occasionally, it did appear as if Mata dipped a bit deep to fulfill a more attacking midfielder role with the front duo acting as co-strikers.
If Lukaku’s injury is a long-term worry, then this is certainly a lineup that Mourinho can look to deploy, although their attacking woes till the late introduction of Lingard and Rashford is also a point to think about.
2. Eddie Howe’s Style Is Doing Bournemouth Good
What Howe has succeeded at molding at the Cherries is a side with real threat and attacking intent. Their reliance on pace going forward has been a recurrent theme this season, and it is a real pity that three points were robbed off them despite arguably being the better side for much of the game.
His brilliance was also on display when his lads exhibited outstanding energy, resilient strength, and smart passing to capitalize on most of their chances to put the Mancunian giants in a spot of great worry.
If he is in contention to replace the likes of Jose Mourinho, then Howe sure did put in one hell of an audition.
3. 5 Year Deal For Martial?
With 5 goals in 4 games, Martial has placed himself in fiery form. Mourinho’s displeasure with Sanchez and Lukaku’s poor form has played well for the Frenchman to display his wares.
This is the first time that Martial has scored in four consecutive games for United, and is indeed a feat that has been lacking for quite a while at the Premier League giants.
Surely this is the kind of performance that completes Mourinho’s ‘Luke Shaw’ process and merits a long-term deal as a reward. However, when the squad is fully fit, then the big arguments against his inclusion in the starting eleven in the first place will also make a comeback.
4. Comebacks Are The Story Of This Season
Going goals down and then coming back to clinch the victory may just be becoming United’s mantra for the season. This is the third time in four games that the Red Devils have claimed points after going down early on, and this is reminiscent of the Fergie time goals that first put the side on the map.
United’s DNA screams entertainment, and nothing entertains more than a nail-biting finish culminating in a win. At the same time, conceding goals in a cheap manner and having to rely on late pushes to win isn’t the ideal Mourinho way either, and one does wonder if such results would occur against big sides.
5. Perfect Start to A Tough Away Week
United have a daunting week of away games ahead of them. While at Bournemouth they were able to rescue three points and rise to the 7th spot in Premier League table, their next few games aren’t as simple.
Mid-week will see them face Juventus in Italy, and that’s a game that Mourinho will desire a draw from in the minimum so as to assure their presence in the next round of the Champions League.
As for domestic woes, the side won’t have to travel much when they face Manchester City at the Etihad next Sunday. The Sky Blues are still unbeaten in the league, and that will be a challenging fixture for Mourinho’s lads.
Of course, if for those two key games the side continues to display the kind of antics that were on show for the first half today, then United are going to get punished badly.