The start of Bournemouth’s tough run of fixtures ended in defeat as Manchester United came from behind on Saturday lunch-time.
However, there was much to be positive about for those Fantasy managers keeping faith in Cherries assets.
We’ve got all the talking points from that match in this latest Scout Notes article…
Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester United
Goals: Callum Wilson (£6.6m) | Anthony Martial (£7.4m), Marcus Rashford (£6.7m)
Assists: Junior Stanislas (£6.0m) | Alexis Sánchez (£10.0m)
Bournemouth’s attacking players sent a message to Fantasy managers considering selling them with their performances against Manchester United. Despite losing the game in stoppage time, Callum Wilson (£6.6m), Ryan Fraser (£6.1m) and David Brooks (£5.1m) all starred in a first-half where the Cherries could have scored four or five times.
Wilson swept Bournemouth into a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when he latched on the end of Junior Stanislas‘ (£6.0m) cross. That was his seventh goal involvement in five matches although it was only his second goal of the season at the Vitality Stadium. Curiously, prior to Saturday’s opener, he had not found the net there since the Gameweek 1 win over Cardiff.
The fact that Stanislas started the game was down to the absence of the injured Joshua King (£6.4m) for the second week in a row. Eddie Howe used a 3-4-3 formation in the 3-0 win at Fulham last time out but opted for a 4-4-2 against the Red Devils. He pushed midfielder Brooks further up the pitch to play centre-forward alongside Wilson, allowing Stanislas to take his place on the right flank.
Brooks can consider himself very unlucky not to have come away with attacking returns as he took to the striker’s role with aplomb. No player had more than his five shots on goal in the match.
“Today was a different role for Brooks and he did very well again, and was behind a lot of our creative football. It is a very demanding league physically and questions are to be asked defensively but he has done that very quickly.” – Eddie Howe
Ryan Fraser (£6.1m) also looked lively, with the Scottish winger enjoying the first chance of the afternoon. A Chris Smalling (£5.8m) error allowed Fraser to go clear through on goal, but he took too many touches in the penalty area and ran too far wide to trouble David de Gea (£5.8m) with his finish.
With a trip to Newcastle up next for Bournemouth, Wilson, Fraser and Brooks will have all earned at least one more week in Fantasy squads, maybe more.
For most of the first half, Manchester United were just as flat as Bournemouth were brilliant. In conceding the opening goal, Manchester United still have just one clean sheet this season. Only Fulham have fewer than that so far.
Romelu Lukaku (£10.8m) missed out on the starting XI for the second time in a row but on this occasion did not even make the bench. Mourinho revealed in the build-up to the game that the Belgian forward had picked up an injury after Friday’s press conference.
“In training yesterday, after the press conference, he felt something that needs to be studied in the next couple of days. So Lukaku has not come and we decided to start with Alexis.” – Jose Mourinho
Going forward they offered little and it really needed a moment of leadership to kick them into motion. They got it after 30 minutes when Paul Pogba (£8.0m) sprinted back nearly 50 yards to make an important tackle on Fraser. That must have given his team-mates the lift they needed as they ended up equalising with their first clear-cut chance.
Ashley Young (£5.7m) and Alexis Sánchez (£10.0m) combined well on the overlap down the right flank, and the Chiléan’s cross into the penalty area was fired home by Anthony Martial (£7.4m). That represented a fourth straight league match in which the Frenchman has scored. There were also encouraging signs for those interested the underlying statistics. In the three matches prior to Gameweek 11, Martial had scored four goals from just six shots. That was an average of just two per match, but at Bournemouth Martial registered four attempts on goal. If he can sustain that level of attacking intent, his Fantasy appeal will only increase. It will be intriguing to see if his popularity will continue to rise with a trip to Manchester City up next.
It was another match in which Manchester United were significantly better in the second half compared to the first. Jose Mourinho admitted he was surprised to see yet another poor showing in the opening 45 minutes.
“I can’t understand. My assistants were saying to me before the game that we had the best warm-up of the season. We were very focussed and had great intensity. The week was a very good week of work so I can’t believe how poorly we started. At half time, I thought I was the luckiest manager in the Premier League. Because to be 1-1 in a half when it should have been like 5-2 or 6-2. We were really lucky because we were really poor. Defensively awful. Absolutely awful. And I look at the whole of my team when I say that, not just my defenders.” – Jose Mourinho
In the second 45 minutes, United were the much better side, especially after Mourinho made a double substitution in the 56th minute. Marcus Rashford (£6.7m) and Ander Herrera (£5.0m) were introduced for Juan Mata (£6.2m) and Fred (£5.6m), in a move that Mourinho was particularly proud of come the full-time whistle.
“I think I was happy in bringing Ander to the game because normally the intention, when you are looking for a result, is to bring on attacking players or in theory to make attacking changes. I felt that the team needed a player like Ander to give us balance in that position, to give us more pressure, to recover the ball faster and to protect better.” – Jose Mourinho
After half-time inspiration and second-half chances, United had several chances to take the lead. The closest they came was when a Young free-kick hit the bar and rebounded to substitute Rashford. His shot was blocked by Nathan Aké (£5.0m) before Pogba’s effort was cleared off the line by Brooks.
United’s winning goal was another earned through the stoppage-time efforts of Pogba. His cross into the box reached Rashford before Adam Smith‘s (£4.5m) attempted clearance took it out of his control. The ball was still loose enough for the United striker to lash home.
Fantasy managers may want to see more improvement in first halves before considering signing their attacking players en masse, especially with Man City up next.
“I think they [Bournemouth] were much better in the first half and we were much better in the second. I think we cannot give the first 20, 25 minutes away because that makes our games more difficult. I think the attitude in the second half and the last ten minutes of the first half was fantastic but I want us to be a whole-game team. Against Everton we were good. We want to be a team that plays that well in a whole game.” – Ander Herrera
“Strong but calm (words were said at half-time) and I start by being possible. I said it is impossible to play worse than we did so the second half will be better for sure.” – Jose Mourinho
Bournemouth XI (4-4-2): Begovic; A Smith, Aké, S Cook, Francis; Fraser (Ibe 74′), Lerma, L Cook (Gosling 68′), Stanislas (Surman 91′); Brooks, Wilson.
Manchester United XI (4-3-3): De Gea, Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Fred (Herrera 56′), Matic, Pogba, Mata (Rashford 56′), Martial, Sanchez (Lingard 78′).
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