Poor defending in the box for King’s winner was the only bit of quality in a scrappy game that had very little in the match apart from that goal.
Shakes at the back
Much has been made of the fact that United’s defence this season has made the opposition have to make a much more concerted effort in order to get on the scoresheet, in comparison to the last. The acquisitions at the back of Maguire and Wan Bissaka has obviously played a big part in this. However, today, it looked like the same old defensive issues were creeping back into our play. Whenever the Cherries were given the opportunity to run at the back four when the defensive shield of Fred and McTominay were caught ahead of the ball, no one looked to engage. They continually dropped off and it was a sign of encouragement. For the goal itself, it was poor from Maguire, Wan Bissaka and Lindelof. The latter being caught in no man’s land and Maguire’s obsession with Callum Wilson dragged him to the back post, leaving Wan Bissaka to come inside to cover. The RB should have done better when put into that situation but Lindelof’s poor positioning and Maguire refusing to take charge of back line, making sure he was centred in the middle of the goal and passing his man onto Wan Bissaka would have surely been a better solution.
Martial and Rashford periphery
Continuing with the theme of taking charge, as Robbie Earle said at half time of the NBC coverage, these are the type of games that Frenchman and English international need to have the personality to grab by the scruff of the neck if they want to establish themselves as top players. Both have been good in recent weeks but when you bookmark these games with the fact that it was against Norwich, who will give you space to build, Liverpool and Chelsea, both willing to take the lion share of possession allowing us to play on the break. In less than favourable conditions, it is up to the both of these players to drag the team forward. It may be unfair when you consider what’s behind them, made all the more difficult with the lack of Paul Pogba, but it’s the situation they are in and they have an chance to stop Man Utd going out to buy the centre forward they’ve been linked so heavily with. All in all, Martial was decent but perhaps to willing to play first time passes rather than holding the ball, also disappearing by and large during the second half. This was similar for Rashford but he was not in it as much as United focused more on the right hand side. Nice touches were shown on occasion from the duo but that’s not what will bring the points back to Old Trafford and so proved the case today
It has been the case for the majority of United’s poor performances so far this season but the game today shone a bigger light on the fact that the pace of passing in the team is nothing short of disgraceful. It is turgid stuff to watch at the best of times. Pereira, McTominay and Fred were shocking in possession today, something not as surprising given the way Bournemouth play. They all don’t play the most cutting passes when afforded time and space so the strong rearguard from the opponents today just made them pretty redundant in the grand scheme of things. Wan Bissaka has his usual bad game on the ball and even Maguire wasn’t looking at his best with his balls through the lines. There are some things that the manager can do to help this but at the end of the day, just having better technical players has to be something that has to be looked at.