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Prediction: Bournemouth vs Manchester United

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: bet365

Hoping to avoid becoming a victim to the infamous second-season syndrome, AFC Bournemouth will be looking for a strong start to the new Premier League campaign despite facing heavily reinforced Manchester United. The Cherries will get the opportunity to see the world’s most expensive footballer in action as well as the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth have been defying odds for a couple of years now, first gaining promotion to the Premier League and then surviving the maiden campaign without too many problems. Unlike most newly promoted sides, the Cherries decided to stick to their positive style of play in the top flight and were properly rewarded for their efforts, with Eddie Howe’s charges proving they can match some of the best teams in the league. Back to back wins over Chelsea and Manchester United, followed by the away triumph against West Bromwich, were without a doubt the highlight of their campaign, and the Cherries will be hoping for more of the same when they host star-studded Man Utd on Sunday afternoon. Manager Eddie Howe was unable to keep the entire team together as Matt Ritchie and Tommy Elphick surprisingly joined Championship sides Newcastle United and Aston Villa, but Bournemouth managed to attract quite a few quality footballers as Jordon Ibe, Brad Smith, Lee Cook, Nathan Ake, Lys Mousset and Emerson Hyndman all arrived at Vitality Stadium. The team looked pretty good in pre season, winning three matches and sharing spoils in another three, so they head into the new campaign high on confidence.

Team News

Highly rated striker Callum Wilson is fully fit after missing a large chunk of last season and he should start against Manchester United.

Former Old Trafford youngster Joshua King has just penned a new deal with the Cherries, and he now hopes to score another winning goal against his former club.

Manchester United

Having utterly failed to challenge for the Premier League trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Manchester United made a real effort to turn their fortunes around this summer, and they appear to be finally on the right track. The Red Devils were able to bring Jose Mourinho to Old Trafford, while their summer recruitment has been the best in quite a while, despite the fact they only signed four players. Eric Bailly was probably the only somewhat unknown quantity, but, judging by his showing in the Community Shield, the Ivorian will be an excellent addition to the squad. Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic quickly proved he will have a key role to play this season, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan and returning Paul Pogba are expected to follow suit. The Frenchman has just become the world’s most expensive footballer having returned to Old Trafford for £89 million, and all eyes will be on the highly rated midfielder at the Vitality Stadium. It will be interesting to see how Man Utd line up with Pogba in the side, but he is expected to form a midfield pairing with either Michael Carrick or Morgan Schneiderlin, with Wayne Rooney to be deployed in the number 10 position.

Team News

Everything suggests that Pogba will go straight into the starting line-up, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan may remain on the bench after Jesse Lingard impressed against Leicester City.

Chris Smalling misses the game through suspension, meaning that Eric Bailly and Daley Blind will continue at the back.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Both teams scored in only two meetings between the two clubs
  • Pogba set for first ever Man Utd start four years after leaving
  • Bournemouth won the same fixture last season 2-1
  • Man Utd lost four of last six away games in EPL (W2)
  • Bournemouth came through pre season unbeaten (W3 D3)

Conclusion

With Callum Wilson back to the side and Jordan Ibe joining from Liverpool, Bournemouth should be even more dangerous then last season when they won 2-1. It goes without saying that Man Utd are superior in terms of individual quality now that Zlatan and Pogba are in the side, but we, nonetheless, expect a close and entertaining game at Vitality Stadium.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: bet365

Fri 12 Aug, 2016
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