United on the charge
Bournemouth are the visitors to Old Trafford as the hosts, rejuvenated and re-united, chase a third successive win under the guidance of Solskjaer and Phelan.
Feel good factor back at OT
Whether or not you were Team Jose - in truth there weren’t many come the end - there’s no denying the positive impact his removal has had on a group of players that had lost all confidence in the prickly Portuguese.
The transformation from a side laboured and uninspired for the majority of the campaign, to a team playing with an attacking zest reminiscent of the United of old, in just two games, is striking and has them with at least half a chance of claiming a Champions League spot.
The change in atmosphere around the club was there for all to see against Huddersfield on Boxing Day when a support that has had little to cheer about of late, were in full voice to welcome back a favourite son and another win. United are on the up and a favourable fixture list will see them pick up some momentum, of that I’m sure.
The return of Paul Pogba
We all know why Pogba has been anonymous for the whole season; he didn’t like the then manager and vice versa. The Frenchman now has no excuse for not delivering the type of form he is capable of and to be fair he has stepped up to show the United faithful glimpses of the world beater he claims to be.
The World Cup winner still has some way to go to win over large sections of Old Trafford rightly questioning his attitude and commitment to the club. But two goals and two assists in a more advanced role over the past couple of games is a step in the right direction and a reminder of his talents. Another home game where he’ll be given license to roam forwards should see him make another telling contribution.
Bournemouth’s dip in form and away record
This fixture would’ve been the last pick right now if Cherries boss Eddie Howe had the choice. With Christmas and New Year festivities still in full swing and a buzz back at Old Trafford, there’s a danger Bournemouth could be overawed by the occasion here. Especially with recent form as bad as it has been.
The wheels have slowly come off Bournemouth’s promising start to the season. Six wins from their first ten had the Cherries in the upper reaches of the league but a subsequent run of just two wins from nine leaves them in mid-table and low in confidence and belief right now.
Even worse, is their away form. They’ve been beaten five times in a row having conceded 13 and scored just twice. The latest of those losses - a 5-0 hammering by Spurs on Boxing Day, was their latest defeat against one of the so called big six having not picked up a single point against the better sides this term. That trend is almost a cert to continue.
While the visitors appear to have run out of steam, you sense United’s season is only just beginning and so I fully expect the home side to claim their third convincing win in as many games.
Nick’s tip: United to win with a -1.5 Asian Handicap at odds of 21/20 (2.06)