Manchester United Lose to Bournemouth on Joshua King's Lone Goal

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2019

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Joshua King of AFC Bournemouth celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Manchester United at Vitality Stadium on November 2, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Bournemouth put an end to Manchester United's recent resurgence on Saturday after a 1-0 win at a windy Vitality Stadium. 

At the end of a scrappy first period, Joshua King produced a moment of magic to give the Cherries the lead, lofting the ball over Aaron Wan-Bissaka and finishing emphatically.

United controlled the ball for the majority of the second period, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team struggled to find the ingenuity needed to break down a deep-sitting Bournemouth defence. Substitute Mason Greenwood came closest to an equaliser when he steered a volley against the post.

The Red Devils had won their last three games in succession heading into the contest, although this defeat leaves them in eighth place in the table ahead of the rest of the weekend's top-flight fixtures; the Cherries temporarily move up to sixth spot.

From the off, it was clear the clash was going to be a challenging one for the players on the south coast, with the severe wind and rain making it difficult for both sides to settle into any kind of attacking pattern.

United had a big appeal for a penalty when Anthony Martial went down under a challenge from a couple of Bournemouth defenders. However, after a VAR review, it wasn't given.

The Premier League Twitter account explained why: 

Premier League @premierleague

In the first half, Anthony Martial went down under pressure in the AFC Bournemouth penalty area but Chris Kavanagh deemed it no penalty The VAR looked at the incident and under the protocols decided there was no clear and obvious error so the referee's decision stood #BOUMUN https://t.co/LLlCG9cuQt

The one moment of major quality in the half came just before its conclusion, when King found himself in space in the penalty area.

The former United man did brilliantly to hold off a challenge and lift the ball over Wan-Bissaka before finishing on the volley, giving Bournemouth their first Premier League goal since September 28: 

AFC Bournemouth @afcbournemouth

That is sublime 👏👏👏 #BOUMUN https://t.co/W9YOmXSzq0

As the teams took shelter from the elements at half-time, Squawka Football relayed an unwanted statistic for the visitors: 

Squawka Football @Squawka

Manchester United have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 11 away Premier League games; equalling their club-record. An unwanted record. 😳 https://t.co/uBXxjqrF0j

In the second half, it was United that continued to control the majority of possession, although they lacked incision for long spells.

It was actually Bournemouth who had the best chances to score again, with Callum Wilson and Harry Wilson both spurning openings. David De Gea had to be alert to make a smart stop from the latter.

The Red Devils struggled to find any way through, and their key players were not shining in the final third, as Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News observed:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Hitting the first man at a corner should be fineable. Problem United have had is their wingers have been their best players but the nine and 10 have been way off the pace. Odd James and Rashford are still on the flanks. #mufc

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Pereira back to normal this week. Tries, but is never a regular United playmaker (and nor is Lingard). Pereira's best work is always off the ball. #mufc

In search of an equaliser, Solskjaer turned to two teenagers off the bench in Greenwood and Brandon Williams.

The change nearly bore fruit, as Greenwood found space to meet a deep cross at the back post. However, his right-footed volley struck the base of the post, thus spurning the team's best and last chance of getting back into the game.


What's next? 

United's attention will turn to the UEFA Europa League on Thursday when they welcome Partizan Belgrade to Old Trafford. They'll then host Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday. Bournemouth visit Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday.