MX23RW : Friday, January 18 23:05:59
Dec 13, 2017 at 8pm UK at ​Old Trafford
Attendance: 74,798
Man UtdManchester United
Lukaku (25')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Live Commentary: Manchester United 1-0 Bournemouth - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Manchester United's 1-0 win over Bournemouth, as the hosts returned to winning ways in an unconvincing manner.
Live Commentary: Manchester United 1-0 Bournemouth - as it happened
© SilverHub

Romelu Lukaku's first-half header proved enough for Manchester United to earn a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.

The Belgium international got his head to a Juan Mata cross 25 minutes in to settle an evenly-matched contest - just his third goal in 15 outings.

Substitute Marcus Rashford struck the crossbar and Anthony Martial also missed a sitter, but the Cherries will argue that they deserved at least a point from the match.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

7.00pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Manchester United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford. United are aiming to avoid back-to-back home defeats for the first time since January 2014, having gone down 2-1 to Manchester City in the biggest game of the season to date, while the Cherries are seeking a big upset to claw further clear of the relegation zone.

7.02pmThe Red Devils may very well be in a battle for second place in Man City's form is anything to go by, but all they can do for now is get some points on the board and hope that their rivals hit a sticky patch over the festive period. This may well be a good time for the visitors to head to this famous ground, though at the same time United will no doubt be determined to put on a show after their abject display a few days ago.


STARTING XI: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Shaw; Matic, McTominay; Mata, Lingard, Martial; Lukaku

SUBS: Romero, Blind, Lindelof, Young, Herrera, Ibrahimovic, Rashford

7.06pmStarting with a look at the home team, manager Jose Mourinho has made four changes on the back of the 2-1 loss to Man City here. The big news is that Phil Jones returns to the heart of defence after missing more than a month through injury, while rare starts are also handed to Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay. The other player to come into the side is Juan Mata, who is part of a three-man attacking midfield.

7.08pmUnited face a gruelling run of fixture between now and the first week of January, so it comes as little surprise to see Mourinho rotate things slightly this evening. The likes of Ashley Young, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera are given a little breather, though Romelu Lukaku retains his spot through the middle despite some terrible form of late. Still no Paul Pogba, meanwhile, due to his three-match ban, and Marouane Fellaini remains absent through a knee problem.

7.10pmThe other player to make way from last time out is Marcos Rojo, who suffered a head injury against Man City and is clearly still feeling the effects. Starts for Jones, Shaw, Mata and McTominay, then, with the latter being used from the off for the first time since the end of October and Shaw coming in for just the second time this term. The Red Devils certainly have fresh legs in each department, but will it be enough to get them through this game?


STARTING XI: Begovic; Smith, Francis, Ake, Daniels; Stanislas, Arter, Gosling, Fraser; King, Wilson

SUBS: Boruc, S.Cook, Surman, Afobe, L.Cook, Defoe, Ibe

7.14pmIn terms of the visitors, manager Eddie Howe has also made four alterations from the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon. Adam Smith returns in defence after sitting out the entertaining match at Selhurst Park due to a one-match ban, while Harry Arter, Dan Gosling and Callum Wilson also return to give the Cherries a fresh feel at the Theatre of Dreams.

7.16pmJermain Defoe is among those to drop down to the bench, despite netting twice against the Eagles last time out. The England international does not have the best of records at this ground, though, having failed to score on any of his last 10 Premier League visits since netting the winner on his first visit here with West Ham United in 2001. Wilson, who is back from a second long-term layoff, will instead partner Joshua King.

7.18pmThe Cherries make the trip to Old Trafford without a trio of injured players, as Adam Federici, Brad Smith and Tyrone Mings are all currently on the comeback trail. Howe will likely go with five men across the middle and four at the back tonight, with King - who has strong Man United links - tasked with carrying the ball forward. The Norway international has six goals in 17 games for club and country so far this term.

7.20pmJose Mourinho has handed first Premier League starts of the season to Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay, while Phil Jones returns after a month-long absence and Juan Mata is also included from the off. Four seems to be the magic number, as Eddie Howe has also shuffled his pack slightly by bringing in Adam Smith, Harry Arter, Dan Gosling and Callum Wilson.

Manchester United's Luke Shaw during the Champions League match against CSKA Moscow on December 5, 2017© Offside

7.22pmDespite losing at the weekend, United head into this match sitting second in the Premier League and now level on points with Chelsea, who have played one game more. The gap on the Citizens stands at 11 points following the disappointing derby defeat at the hands of their city rivals; goals from David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi either side of a Marcus Rashford strike effectively ending the title race before the midway stage.

7.24pmMourinho is right to point out that United are much better placed than this time 12 months ago, currently finding themselves eight points and four places better off, but the results have to be put into some context when placed alongside City's. Whereas the Citizens are brushing aside all comers, winning a record 14-successive games in a single season, the Red Devils are dropping points on a semi-regular basis.

7.26pmCity were good value for their win here in what was essentially a training session of attack vs. defence for the opening 45 minutes, picking up their biggest three-point haul of the campaign to date. That was just a third league loss of the season for Mourinho's men, meanwhile, which is a more than respectable return across the opening four months of 2017-18. Had it not been for the Citizens, Mourinho would have far less critics right now.

7.28pmMourinho's tactics in a match against a top-six rival was again called into question at the weekend, having appeared to put all that to one side by leaving the Emirates Stadium with a 3-1 victory a week prior. United must now put together a winning run over the Christmas and New Year period, taking in games against Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion, Leicester City, Burnley, Southampton and Everton in quick succession.

7.30pmChelsea are now level on points with United following their straightforward 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town on Tuesday, while Burnley - yes, Burnley! - are four points further back. Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are also in action tonight and will look to put some pressure on the Red Devils, who for the time being must look over their shoulder rather than focusing on the side at the summit.

7.32pmAgain, though, it has to be pointed out that this has been far from a poor first half to the campaign for United. They are into the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup, with a favourable trip to Bristol City on the agenda next week, and they also have a winnable last-16 tie in the Champions League against Sevilla. Winning the double last term set Mourinho up nicely, and he will be looking to add another trophy to the cabinet in 2018.

7.34pmDID YOU KNOW? Manchester City ended Manchester United's unbeaten home run at 40 matches on Sunday, meaning that they are the only side to have left here with victory since February 2016, having also come out on top in last term's league encounter. The Red Devils have not lost back-to-back matches at Old Trafford in all competition since January 2014, meanwhile, so they will be hoping to keep that run going tonight.

7.36pmFurthermore, Mourinho has never lost consecutive home league matches during his managerial career, though Bournemouth just happen to be one of the four teams he has faced more than once and has yet to beat - Burnley, Genoa and Roma being the others. Key to getting back on track tonight is the form of Lukaku, who started the season with 16 goals in 13 games for United and Belgium, but has since netted two in United's last 14 matches.

7.38pmManchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has scored two goals in his last nine Premier League outings, having initially made a goalscoring start to life at Old Trafford. The Belgium international has converted 4.5% of his 22 attempts during that run, though boss Jose Mourinho has decided to stick with him tonight despite having Zlatan Ibrahimovic raring to go.

Romelu Lukaku and Andreas Christensen in action during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Manchester United on November 5, 2017© Offside

7.40pmBournemouth head into this match occupying 14th place in the Premier League table, three points above the relegation zone and three off the top half - it is a season that could still very much go either way. The Cherries have yet to truly get going this campaign, but being outside the dropzone as we approach the second half of 2017-18 will be all that concerns Howe at this moment in time.

7.42pmThe Cherries started the season off with four-successive defeats and five in their first six, though they have certainly become harder to beat as it is just one loss in six; that solitary loss coming at home to Burnley at the end of November. The flipside of their recent results, however, is that they have failed to win any of their last four in what has been a nice run of games on paper.

7.44pmHowe's men have faced Swansea City, Burnley, Southampton and Crystal Palace during that aforementioned winless run, drawing three of those and losing to the Clarets. They could so easily have been on the end of a defeat against Palace last time out, too, only for Christian Benteke to miss a penalty deep into added time at Selhurst Park. That could still turn out to be a huge result in the context of things.

7.46pmA nice run of games now makes way for a very tough run, following up this trip to Old Trafford with a home match against Liverpool on Sunday and then another trip to Manchester to face City pre-Christmas. Arsenal and Chelsea are also on the fixture list for January, meaning that Howe will likely be focused on staying above the dotted line for the time being rather than looking to push up the division.

7.48pmBournemouth also head to Chelsea in the midst of this tough run for an EFL Cup quarter-final clash. Howe will surely select a strong starting lineup for that game, even if the relegation zone is only just out of sight, with Cherries fans dreaming of a rare run deep into one of the domestic cup competitions. Away from home the South Coast outfit are now unbeaten in four, having previously lost four in a row.

7.50pmFour without a loss on their travels gives Bournemouth a respectable eight points from eight games, which is identical to their home form which has been disappointing on the whole. Avoid defeat tonight and the Cherries will have matched their previous record of five without losing away from home, set between January and March last year. A point from this trip to Old Trafford really would be something to celebrate.

7.52pmRather worryingly for the South Coast side, however, they have dropped 10 points from winning positions in 2017-18 - only Newcastle United with 11 have dropped more - which will surely be a concern for Howe. Too often they have taken the lead, only to then be pegged back or, worse still, go on to claim nothing from the game. Still, having made such a slow start to the season, being 14th after 16 games is not a bad return.

7.54pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! Manchester United have won five of their last six home games against Bournemouth, with the exception being a 1-1 draw when they last face off here in March - a game best remembered for some unsavoury incidents that led to Tyrone Mings and Zlatan Ibrahimovic being handed three-match bans. The Cherries have scored in all four of their Premier League meetings with United.

7.56pmWith kickoff at Old Trafford now less than five minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Jose Mourinho: "When you lose, you probably have a little bit more desire to win. Nobody likes to lose once, nobody wants to lose twice. I think that's something that belongs to every team in the world. When you lose a match the next one, you have that little bit of extra to give."

Eddie Howe: "Man United's home record is very strong so I think you have take [the defeat to] Manchester City as a one-off. You have to relish [a trip to Old Trafford]. I always look back to our old League Two days and we'd have done anything to put ourselves in these positions."

7.58pmMourinho admits that his side have "a little bit more desire" to overcome Bournemouth tonight, three days on from their defeat at the hands of Man City. Back-to-back defeats at Old Trafford for the first time in nearly four years really would be close to disastrous for the Red Devils, against a Bournemouth side still pinching themselves after their magical journey from the bottom tier to the top.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe during the Premier League match against Sunderland on April 29, 2017© SilverHub

1 minKICKOFF! Bournemouth get us up and running at Old Trafford, seeking a first victory at this ground in their history. Manchester United aiming to quickly bounce back following their disappointing defeat to Man City at the weekend.

3 minLingard with a rather audacious overhead kick inside the first few minutes, which he got badly wrong. The Red Devils, as expected, have started the match on top as they go in search of an early breakthrough in front of their supporters.

5 minThe Cherries pounce on a mistake but Dan Gosling's shot fails to find its way through a sea of United bodies. Good pressing from Jesse Lingard high up the field to keep the visitors camped inside their own final third.

7 minWilson does Jones for pace after the Englishman got a little too tight, but when the ball eventually came into the box via Stanislas it was horribly overhit. The Cherries' best moment of the match so far, which they failed to make the most of.

9 minMarcus Rashford is on the bench for United tonight, remember. The English forward has been involved in 11 goals in his 12 appearances at Old Trafford this term - six of his own and a further five assists for his teammates.

11 minUnited have not made quite as fast a start as many would have expected. Still awaiting the first serious attempt of the game, with a little over 11 minutes on the clock. Bournemouth digging deep so far to keep it scoreless.

13 minThe Red Devils seeing more and more of the ball, but it is not spending enough time in the final third of the field. Matic looked to have the break of the ball 30 yards from goal, only for Gosling to quickly close him down before he could consider a shot.

15 minGood covering by Francis to clear up the danger after Lukaku tried to find Lingard. United just starting to turn the screw a little, but they need to step things up a little more if they are to break down their stubborn opponents.

17 minSeventeen minutes now played at Old Trafford and we still await the first serious attempt of the evening. Very similar to the Chelsea match last night, which the champions went on to run away with despite a fairly slow start to proceedings.

19 minBLOCK! Martial's in-swinging corner evades Mata at the back post, while up the other end Wilson got a shot away but saw it well blocked by the returning Jones. United being asked a few questions at the moment as we approach the 20-minute mark.

21 minSAVE! Good stop from De Gea to keep out Daniels' drive from 10 yards out. A good cross into the box was not met by a player in blue, but the defender eventually got it under control and forced a big save out of De Gea.

23 minA little scare for the Red Devils there, as they came close to falling a goal down to that Daniels effort. For all their possession, the home side have still yet to muster a serious shooting chance and are very much in first gear.


26 minMake that three goals in 15 matches for Romelu Lukaku, who jumped highest to get on the end of a Juan Mata cross and beat Asmir Begovic. United came close to falling down five minutes ago, but this goal should settle their nerves a little.

28 minCredit to Lukaku for getting his head to that Mata cross, with two Bournemouth players trying to sandwich him. Some good work from Shaw down the left almost leads to a second via a visiting player, but it did not quite go in United's favour.

30 minBournemouth with some good pressure as they look for a response, with a cross coming in from the left that is deflected behind for a corner. The Cherries will fancy their chances of scoring - they have netted in all four previous Prem games against United.

32 minCHANCE! Big chance for Simon Francis to level up the contest, only to blast the ball high over the crossbar from close range after a cross into the box was not dealt with. The Red Devils looking far from comfortable.

34 minSAVE! Stanislas with a shot on target, which De Gea parries away. The rebound was out of Adam Smith's reach, but Howe will be hugely encouraged by the manner in which his side have responded to going a goal down here.

36 minUnited still with just the one attempt on target, which they did of course score from - as efficient as you like! Might just be a case of seeing this lead through until the interval and then regrouping, with the Cherries currently on top.

38 minSeven minutes of the first half left to play and overall it has been fairly balanced. The possession has been split almost 50-50, though the only thing that truly matters is that the hosts lead 1-0 thanks to a Lukaku header.

40 minAntonio Valencia with a cross right into the feet of Romelu Lukaku, who could not react in time to turn the ball goalwards. His goal should have given him a confidence boost, but that was pretty poor from the Belgian striker.

42 minThe ball is turned over in midfield, but the intended through-ball for Mata is overhit. Mata's back-post cross to Martial was then inch-perfect, but the Frenchman could not bring the ball under control and Bournemouth cleared their lines.

44 minYELLOW CARD! Lukaku joins Gosling in the referee's book for a challenge on Arter just inside the Cherries' half The Red Devils have wrestled back control of the match over the last few minutes, as they search for a second goal.


8.49pmDe Gea forced into action once again late in the first half to palm Fraser's shot off the line, when it looked as though he would instead send in a cross. The Red Devils take a one-goal lead into the half-time interval, but they have not had it all their own way and De Gea has been the busier of the two goalkeepers.

8.52pmJose Mourinho handed first Premier League starts of the season to Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay, while Phil Jones returned after a month-long absence and Juan Mata was also included from the off. After a couple of little scares, which saw Jones produce a big block to thwart Callum Wilson and David de Gea palm away a Charlie Daniels drive, United had the lead through their first and only serious attempt of the first half.

8.55pmMata sent the ball in from the left and out-of-form striker Romelu Lukaku did well to get his head to it ahead of two opposition players - his third goal in 15 matches. Bournemouth were the side asking more of the questions in the remainder of the half, though, with Simon Francis and Junior Stanislas both testing De Gea in the space of five minutes.

8.58pmDe Gea was also needed seconds before referee Graham Scott blew for half time, doing well to claw away Ryan Fraser's sneaky attempt from an angle. The bottom line, though, is that United lead 1-0 and they will surely improve come the start of the second half.

MANCHESTER UNITED SUBS: Romero, Blind, Lindelof, Young, Herrera, Ibrahimovic, Rashford

BOURNEMOUTH SUBS: Boruc, S.Cook, Surman, Afobe, L.Cook, Defoe, Ibe

Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring during the EFL Cup game between Manchester United and Burton Albion on September 20, 2017© Offside

46 minRESTART! We are back under way at the Theatre of Drams, where neither manager has made a half-time change. The Cherries had their moments in that first half but did not make the most of them - will it be a similar story in the next 45?

48 minPositive start to the half by the visitors, with Matic needed to produce a challenge to thwart the first attacking move. The Red Devils still looking rather slow on the ball, unable to really get in behind their lowly opponents.

50 minA tad surprising that Mourinho did not make a change at the break, possibly with the inclusion of Rashford, as United have been stuck in first gear pretty much throughout so far. The Cherries looking the more likely to net the game's second goal.

52 minMartial runs out of room to run into and goes down under barely any contact, which referee Graham Scott was alert to as he awarded a goal kick and not a penalty. Seven minutes into the second half and pretty much the same old story at Old Trafford.

54 minSHOT! A little more pace to the Man United attack, but they are still unable to get the ball into feet in the final third of the pitch. The ball did fall kindly for Mata a few moment ago, with the shot being deflected wide for a corner kick.

56 minSAVE! Good play from the Cherries, working the ball down the right and then back into a central position for Ryan Fraser to shoot. A rather tame attempt in the end, which David de Gea was easily able to keep out down low.

58 minBegovic with some good handling to end United's attack, which centred on a couple of McTominay crosses. Mourinho desperately needs to make a change in the attacking third, with United continuing to look extremely flat.

60 minMISS! Shocking miss from Martial, who is unable to tap the ball into an empty net from close range. Lukaku's shot was well saved by Begovic, but it fell into the path of the French forward who was left with his hands on his head.

62 minThe game is opening up more and more now, with both teams desperate for that second goal of the night. A good cross around the back is inches out of Lukaku's reach, but after breaking up the other end Smalling was well positioned to end the Bournemouth attack.

64 minYELLOW CARD! Harry Arter goes right through Jesse Lingard to half the Englishman's counter-attacking run, rightly earning a yellow card in the process. Marcus Rashford appears to be ready to come on for the final 25 minutes or so.

66 minMANCHESTER UNITED SUB! Martial, who is perhaps still wondering how he missed that huge chance a little earlier, makes way for Rashford. That is a change that should inject a little more impetus into the Red Devils' attack.

68 minA cross for Rashford was overhit, but the substitute kept the attack alive and picked out Lingard in the middle. To sum things up for United, Lingard let the ball get away from him before he could get a shot on Begovic's goal.

70 minBournemouth have seen their momentum slip away over the last 10 minutes, but that may change with the introduction of Afobe and Defoe, both of whom are being readied to come on. Howe knows that a big point is there for the taking tonight.

72 minSUBS! Benik Afobe and Jermain Defoe come on for Callum Wilson and Junior Stanislas, as Howe rolls the dice. Mourinho responds by bringing on defensive midfielder Ander Herrera for attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard.

74 minOFF THE BAR! This would have been quite some goal had it been a couple of inches lower. Substitute forward Rashford had time and space around 25 yards from goal and sent the ball crashing against the frame of the goal.

76 minSAVE! A first sign of what Jermain Defoe is capable of, as the sub striker turned on the edge of the box and got a shot away at goal. Another simple stop as far as De Gea is concerned, but at least he is being worked again.

78 minGood defensive header from Jones, who had to be alert with King right behind him. The Cherries building some momentum now and Fraser's cross was again met by Jones, with the Red Devils having to do far more defending than they would have liked.

80 minBOURNEMOUTH SUB! Lewis Cook is on for Dan Gosling, as Howe uses his third and final change. Plenty of nervy home fans around Old Trafford at the moment, in what has been an evenly-matched contest on the whole.

82 minThis match is far from over as we enter the final eight minutes. A great effort from Bournemouth so far, but as things stand it will ultimately count for nothing as Romelu Lukaku's goal remains the difference between the two sides.

84 minSAVE! How does De Gea always manage to position himself exactly where the ball ends up?! Defoe belts the ball on target from an angle following a nice attacking move, which De Gea is able to keep out with his legs. Young is on for Shaw.

86 minYou have to say, on the basis of what we have seen so far visiting side Bournemouth are good value for a point if they can snatch a goal. Even after bringing on Young, the Red Devils just cannot get out of their own final third.

88 minInto the final couple of minutes now and it is clear that United are happy to settle for this nervy 1-0 win. Bournemouth continue to knock on the door for a leveller, with Daniels sending in a cross that is deflected behind for a corner kick.

90 minA great cross from the right from Simon Francis which Benik Afobe fails to make the most of from six yards. Smalling fell asleep there to allow Arter to play the ball through for Francis, though it is another let off for the below-par hosts.

90+2 minTwo of four added-on minutes down and still United are unable to breathe. This has been a serious test of their character this evening, with Bournemouth seeing far more of the ball in dangerous positions and testing De Gea on a few occasions.


9.58pmIn the end Romelu Lukaku's first-half header proved enough for Manchester United to earn a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth at Old Trafford. The Belgium international got his head to a Juan Mata cross 25 minutes in to settle an evenly-matched contest - just his third goal in 15 outings. Substitute Marcus Rashford struck the crossbar and Anthony Martial also missed a sitter, but the Cherries will argue that they deserved at least a point from the match.

10.00pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events from Old Trafford. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while reaction from a select few Premier League games can be found elsewhere on the site in due course. Thanks for joining!

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola shake hands before the derby at Old Trafford on September 10, 2016
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