Bournemouth vs Manchester United: Romelu Lukaku not missed and Callum Wilson deserves England call

Marcus Rashford scored the winner after an entertaining game at the Vitality Stadium

Jack Watson
Saturday 03 November 2018 15:26 GMT
Jose Mourinho in profile

Marcus Rashford saved Manchester United as his last-gasp goal saw them defeat Bournemouth.

Callum Wilson opened the scoring for the high-flying Cherries before Anthony Martial levelled with his fifth goal in four Premier League games. Both sides traded chances before Rashford, with one of the last kicks of the match, sealed the win.

Here's what we learned at the Vitality Stadium.

1. Individual errors cost Manchester United…again

For the 10th time in 11 matches, Manchester United failed to get a clean sheet in the league, something that Mourinho had previously built his success on. Against Chelsea, individual errors cost them and it was almost their downfall when they beat Everton.

Bournemouth were pushing for an early goal and eventually got it by taking advantages of United’s failure to take any individual responsibility while defending. Juan Mata and Paul Pogba failed to keep tabs on Junior Stanislas after he took a corner and he was played behind the defence to set up Wilson’s opening goal.

What followed was a familiar picture of the United players, particularly David De Gea, flapping their arms looking at one another, wondering where the responsibility lies.

Callum Wilson is in fine company on the list of the league's top scorers

2. Time for Gareth Southgate to seriously consider Callum Wilson

Howe recently said it is only a matter of time before Gareth Southgate seriously considers introducing Callum Wilson to his England squad, and his latest performance should fast-track his decision.

Southgate named Wilson in his England Under-21 squad in November 2014, and four years later he could be about to name him in his senior side and give him a well-deserved first cap. Before he opened the scoring, only Eden Hazard had been involved in more goals this season and his first-half strike means that only the Belgian winger and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have scored more in the league than him.

His direct, quick and attacking style of play would see him easily slip into Southgate’s side and he can provide a replacement to Jamie Vardy, who recently retired from international football, or a quality alternative to Rashford.

3. Are Manchester United a better side without Romelu Lukaku?

Yes. Romelu Lukaku’s run of 18 appearances since the beginning of the season following the World Cup came to an abrupt end against Bournemouth due to an injury he picked up in training the day before the match. His form this season has struggled to pick up and replicate his start last year, and fans have been calling for Mourinho to drop the forward. So, how did they do without him?

While there was no focal point on the half-way line to aim for when United needed to clear their lines, on the whole they looked a lot better. The movement in the final third, when they eventually got there, was much more fluid than it has been this season and this was evident for Martial’s goal.

Alexis Sanchez had peeled away into the right channel and drilled a low cross into the box after evading the defenders. Arriving on cue and sprinting onto the ball was an in-form Martial to slam the ball beyond Begovic without breaking stride.

Sanchez was even given the highest praise by Paul Scholes. “He’s the only player that can be half-happy with how he played,” said the former United midfielder at half-time on BT Sport.

When Rashford came on to join Martial and Sanchez in a front three, United looked a much better team, they were dangerous, attacking and very difficult to defend against. When Lukaku is fit again, Mourinho has a big decision whether he brings Lukaku back into the side or not. On this afternoon's evidence, he may be set for a spell on the bench.

United were fluid when they got forward

4. Eddie Howe and Bournemouth are a force to be reckoned with

Bournemouth had only mustered three wins and 10 points by this stage last season, but now they are proudly lurking around the top-six and are a real danger to teams around them.

To continually improve each season means that Eddie Howe deserves enormous credit, and it may not be too long before some bigger clubs seriously consider acquiring his service. The attacking style of play he produces and enthusiasm he exudes has created a really enjoyable atmosphere around Bournemouth this season, and there is no sign of this coming to a halt.

5. Manchester United face tough week

With Juventus and Manchester City to play in the next seven days, Manchester United needed a positive performance this weekend to start what could be a very tough week for them. Instead, their next opponents will have been getting very excited at the prospect of getting a straightforward win. Whatever was left of Manchester United’s fear factor has surely entirely vanished.

The way that Bournemouth, Bournemouth, cut through United’s limp midfield and defence will make even the most rose-tinted supporters begin to worry about what is to come this week.

Defeat against Juventus will put serious pressure on them in their next two Champions League matches to qualify for the knockout rounds, meanwhile losing to City on Sunday could leave them some way off fourth place in the league, and it’s only November.

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