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Match preview: Cherries host Manchester United

By Liam Grace - Sports Editor

The Game:

SIX years ago to the day, AFC Bournemouth were crushed by Morecambe 5-0 in League Two, in front of a crowd of 2,034.

Fast-forward to 2015 and Cherries host one of the biggest clubs in world football, Manchester United, at Dean Court in the Premier League - looking to build on a remarkable 1-0 away victory against Champions Chelsea last week. What a difference a couple of years can make eh?

Cherries will be up for this more than ever. Last week’s history-making result means they are now unbeaten in three Premier League games and out of the bottom three, building on two impressive draws at Swansea away from home, and Everton after scoring a 98th minute equaliser - the latest goal in the Premier League this season.

United on the other hand are a different story. Leaving Dean Court tomorrow without picking up all three points would mean the Red Devils would be without a win in five games in all competitions. Louis Van Gaal is also under immense pressure after crashing out of the Champions League in mid-week and faced criticism from players and pundits the week before after only registering one shot on target against West Ham in a 0-0 draw at home.

This is a must win game for Manchester United, and with the way underdogs Bournemouth are playing at the moment, it promises to be an incredible contest.

The History:

The two clubs have only ever met seven times. Five in the FA Cup, twice in the League Cup and never in the League.

Undoubtedly, the most famous encounter occurred on the 7th January 1984 in what is regarded as one of the most famous FA Cup giant-killings of all time.

Now-legendary Cherries boss Harry Redknapp masterminded a 2-0 win over the Red Devils with goals from Milton Graham and Ian Thompson in one of the most famous wins in AFC Bournemouth history.

However, the result turned out to be somewhat of an anomaly, as United are unbeaten against Cherries in all of their other meetings. This includes a 6-0 demolition in 1949 and a 1-0 win in their most recent meeting in 1989.

Team News:

Both sides have been cursed with injury. Cherries have eight ruled out and United have nine.

Bournemouth are missing: Mings, Wilson, Gradel, Federici, Tomlin, Pugh, Atsu and Elphick.

Whereas Manchester United are without: Schweinsteiger, Darmain, Smalling, Rojo, Valencia, Jones, Herrera, Rooney and Shaw.

United captain Wayne Rooney is sidelined through injury. Credit: Wikipedia

Howe’s verdict:

Cherries boss Howe predicts a tough game tomorrow. Credit: Stuart Bramley

“We’re keen to keep our momentum going as every point is so valuable in the Premier League.”

“The Chelsea result is perfect preparation for this game. We know we can do it and it’s in our hands.

“It’s up to us and our performance levels. We’re probably going to have to surpass the Chelsea performance to have any chance of winning this game.

“United are fourth in the league and very close to the top. They’ll consider themselves in a very good position to win the league this season.

“We know how difficult this game is going to be and we know the levels we have to get to in order to compete.

“I watched them in mid-week and it was a good game. They looked a threat and created a lot of goal-scoring opportunities.”


AFC Bournemouth 1 Manchester United 0

Yep, you read that right. This is the perfect time for Cherries to pull off back-to-back shock results and if they match the performance levels that they produced against Chelsea, I think they can just about see off Manchester United who will struggle with a stripped back four.

The Red Devils will not be used at playing at such a small and intimidating stadium such as Dean Court, and with the weight of the world on their shoulders following their Champions League exit in mid-week I think they might lose this one.