Bruno came to the rescue of Bournemouth 2 Man Utd

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Manchester United’s underwhelming spell of form continued at Bournemouth on Saturday evening as they drew 2-2 with Andoni Iraola’s side.
Two of those shots — from Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert — went in, split by a decent effort from Bruno Fernandes at the other end.
Thirty seconds after Ten Hag’s instruction, Bournemouth manufactured a chance after forcing a turnover from a loose back pass from Kobbie Mainoo to Onana.
Saturday’s draw with Bournemouth, coupled with Newcastle’s 4-0 victory over Tottenham, leaves his side seventh in the league.
However, following a VAR check, the foul was adjudged to have taken place outside the penalty area, with the penalty downgraded to a free-kick.
Bournemouth manager Iraola’s stance was that Kambwala’s foul had continued into the penalty area.
However, the contact was made outside the line of the penalty area with both players then landing inside the penalty area following the infringement.
That’s the next step for young players.” What next for Man Utd?

NEUTRAL

On Saturday night, Manchester United’s lackluster performance continued at Bournemouth as they drew 2-2 with Andoni Iraola’s team.

Erik ten Hag’s squad turned the ball over multiple times, regularly gave up the initiative to the home team, and once more let their opponents shoot whenever they pleased in the first half, which had an unsettlingly familiar taste. A strong effort from Bruno Fernandes at the other end separated the two goals that went in, from Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert.

At least there was some improvement in the second half, as Fernandes scored his second goal of the match from the penalty spot following an Adam Smith handball. However, Bournemouth felt they should have been awarded a penalty of their own in stoppage time, as Willy Kambwala’s foul on Ryan Christie was judged to be (just) outside the box.

With six games remaining, the outcome drops United to 10 points outside of a Champions League spot.

Here are some of the main questions from the game answered by Carl Anka of The Athletic.

What was the extent of United’s control today?

Five minutes into the match, Ten Hag was seen gesturing to his players, “two-three-two.” It seemed the Dutchman was trying to get his defenders to better align themselves when Andre Onana was attempting a goal kick as they tried to play out of the back.

The main strategy was to bait Bournemouth’s front press towards one flank, then quickly switch to the other and create space behind.

A loose back pass from Kobbie Mainoo to Onana forced a turnover, giving Bournemouth a chance thirty seconds after Ten Hag’s instruction. To keep Solanke from scoring, Harry Maguire had to make a desperate tackle.

It was one of many annoying sights. A group that is making stupid errors while trying to execute a bold, if possibly overly ambitious, footballing plan.

It was another game in which United gave up a lot of shots (12 in the first half, five on goal) to a team that was hogging the open space Ten Hag’s midfield system permitted. Although his players have lost their way, the United manager’s ultimate goal is for this team to become the best transition side in the world. In the final third, Kluivert entered a dangerous area and made a casual goal to make the score 2-1 after Diogo Dalot and Alejandro Garnacho completely lost communication.

The sight of a group of gifted players becoming so preoccupied with avoiding one type of humiliation that they lose sight of the smaller, more immediate train wreck in front of them is perplexing.

As we’ve explained here, United’s incapacity to manage games is a deliberate flaw that has been made worse by an injury crisis. If shots are being given up by United and they are creating more chances for themselves, then it is acceptable for United to give up shots during a game. Nonetheless, United managed to score just one goal on target in the first half of their match against Bournemouth, and Iraola’s team was the most recent to effectively utilize the space behind United’s full-backs during the match.

Ten Hag exhorted his team to “go into that fight, have the conviction and need to support each other to win battles, outplay them, outrun them” during his press conference on Friday.

In most significant categories, United came up short.

What impact will this outcome have on United’s season?

Harry Maguire stood 35 yards from Bournemouth’s goal just before the halftime whistle and decided to take a wild shot. It was the kind of hypothetical endeavor that, if successful, would be the season contender; if not, it would merely pass the time.

His team played a lanky and ineffective game, as evidenced by the high and wide shot.

Some people were saved from blushing by an Adam Smith handball and a well-taken penalty by Fernandes. But United is a team lacking confidence and experiencing both physical and mental exhaustion, which causes them to make careless mistakes in the closing minutes of games. In an attempt to create something out of nothing, this team regularly turns to its more seasoned players, but those players are depleted.

The image of Fernandes’ lime green boots searching for dropped balls on their own with no assistance will endure longer in the public consciousness. It appears that the captain’s reserves have run low, and he is currently unable to lead the team as effectively as he once could.

England’s seasonal UEFA coefficient ranking has suffered due to midweek losses to West Ham and Liverpool in Europe; consequently, United will probably need to finish in fourth place rather than fifth in order to make the Champions League the following season. These concerns seem to be beyond Ten Hag now. His team is currently seventh in the league after Saturday’s draw with Bournemouth and Newcastle’s 4-0 victory over Tottenham. A few weeks of sideways movement could quickly become an outright decline.

Next Sunday’s games against Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinal and Sheffield United and Burnley could offer Ten Hag a chance to turn things around. However, if Manchester United continues to play this erratic, counterattacking style, all of the games will become more of a coin toss.

Willy Kambwala making back-to-back starts in the league?

Kambwala made his only third Premier League start for United in an unusually unchanged starting lineup. The 19-year-old began 2023–24 ranked sixth in the team’s center-back hierarchy, but because of the frequency and seriousness of injuries at United, he has been thrown into the deep end.

In one-on-one duels with Liverpool, Kambwala made an impression with his physicality and aggression. He had a hard time against Bournemouth. In the first few minutes of the match, Solanke easily moved the 19-year-old twice as he was getting ready to handle a cross, and the striker’s Premier League background frequently proved to be the differentiator in their meetings.

It was in the fifteenth minute, on an obviously wet pitch, that Kambwala was finally caught off guard when he lost his footing while battling Solanke. The striker scored with a low, forceful drive into the bottom corner, taking advantage of the extra space created after Kambwala was brought down.

A small error that carried a heavy price. However, these are the football league’s margins.

His game had some interesting aspects. Mainoo dropped deep to be the first receiver when United tried to build from behind, and Kambwala would push up down the right channel to act as a ball carrier when the ball was switched. Just past the halfway line, he made a tackle on Solanke that resulted in a turnover and Fernandes’ equalizer.

After he was originally thought to have given up a penalty for a foul on Ryan Christie, it took a VAR intervention in the closing seconds of the match to save his blushes. In the end, it was discovered that he had committed his foul just outside the box. It was the narrowest of escapes for him.

Diogo Dalot, who encouraged him with words of support and high fives throughout the game, spoke with the Frenchman for a large portion of it.

As Kambwala develops from an academy graduate to a first-team player, mistakes will be made. Although it is unlikely that he will start for United when other center backs get back to full fitness, he has established himself as a viable option for the time being.

Was a penalty intended for Bournemouth?

Referee Tony Harrington called a penalty in stoppage time at the end of the game after Ryan Christie of Bournemouth was felled by United defender Willy Kambwala. This added to the drama surrounding the penalty.

Nevertheless, the penalty was reduced to a free-kick after a VAR check determined that the foul occurred outside of the penalty area.

Iraola, the manager of Bournemouth, maintained that Kambwala’s foul had extended into the penalty area. However, the contact occurred outside the penalty area’s line, and both players landed inside the area as a result of the infraction.

The rules of the game for fouls and misconduct for the 2023–24 season, as published by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), only specify that infractions that occur outside of the penalty area are not eligible for a penalty kick.

A rule pertaining to the game states that the referee must award a penalty kick if a defender begins holding an attacker outside the penalty area and keeps holding inside. However, since there was no “holding” by the defensive player and the only pertinent contact that required play to be stopped happened outside the area, this did not apply to the incident involving Kambwala and Christie.

DIVE IN NOW.

Why VAR reversed Bournemouth’s penalty against Manchester United.

What was said by Erik ten Hag?

Regarding United’s opening 45 minutes: “Something happened, Harry Maguire had a problem in the first 45 minutes, which fortunately for us he overcome and recovered from.”. We really needed that in this back four, as you can see from the second half when he was up there demonstrating his leadership, defensive prowess, and ability to rest on the ball. A few balls that we should not have lost were lost in places. When it comes to the first goal, the setup was excellent, but you should never lose the ball there; therefore, it is still not a goal.

Regarding what he stated during the half, “I’m very long in football.”. They were highly driven. However, as I have to reiterate, I don’t do that. Although they were driven, the organization wasn’t correct, and we lost balls when we shouldn’t have due to pressure from the opposition. This is not our best player. “.

Regarding the pressure to earn a spot in the Champions League: “We do our best, but we also have realistic expectations.”. Even though we could still have high hopes when the entire team was present, we will continue to fight for the players who are available and have great potential. Although they have demonstrated that they are capable of competing with the top teams at the highest level, young players also make mistakes when they are expected to perform in the Premier League on a regular basis. For younger players, that is the next step. “.

For Man Utd, what comes next?

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(Image used as the header: Getty Images).

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