Manchester United – Bournemouth takes center stage on Saturday (start time, 10am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Red Devils and Cherries both need a win but for very, very different reasons, while Leicester City – Crystal Palace is a clash where both teams need to get back on track.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United are on a roll as they are unbeaten in 15 games in all competitions and are just three points off third place. Their Champions League dreams are on track with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba pulling the strings, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood putting chances away and a solid defensive unit.
In contrast, Bournemouth are in freefall. Eddie Howe’s side are in the relegation zone, were hammered 4-1 at home by Newcastle in midweek, have lost all three games since the restart and have a ridiculously tough remaining schedule. Is their time in the Premier League over?
Here is the team news and everything else you need to know for Manchester United – Bournemouth.
Man United have no new injury concerns with Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones long-term absentees, and Solskjaer has named an unchanged side.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 4, 2020
Bournemouth have a few injury concerns and they will be without Callum Wilson who is serving the final match of his two-game suspension. Steve Cook is out injured, while Sergio Rico comes in.
🚨 TEAM NEWS 🚨
🔺 Minor hamstring injury for S. Cook
🔺 Kelly moves across to centre-back
🔺 Rico comes in at left-back
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) July 4, 2020
Leicester bring in Iheanacho to start up top with Vardy as Brendan Rodgers mixes things up.
Palace bring in Benteke, Riedewald and Sakho to the starting lineup.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 4, 2020
What they’re saying
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on rotating his squad: “I’ve got to wait and see, there’s a couple who’ve got some knocks and bruises. If there are a couple of changes, don’t be surprised, just because of fitness with having so many games. I’ve got to look after the players. It would be nice to play a team that played so well against Sheffield United and Brighton, but let’s wait and see how everyone is after training. I’ve got many, many reasons to play the same team but have reasons to rotate.”
Eddie Howe on Steve Cook’s criticism of Bournemouth: “Listen, I don’t think they are helpful for us,” the Bournemouth manager said of Cook’s comments. When you don’t perform well, I think everything needs to be internal – that’s always been how I’ve worked, we keep things in-house, and our opinions of ourselves stay that way. I have a duty when I come to the media to tell the truth in respect of what I think of our performances and I don’t think it’s healthy to view ourselves or read ourselves in that way. For the collective good of the group and the club, we know recent performances haven’t been good enough, I don’t think you need to be too clever to work that out. Nothing can change the past, we can only change the future and the only way we’re going to do that is to stay together.”
Odds and ends (full matchweek odds)
Man United are unsurprisingly the heavy favorites (-625) given their recent form and Bournemouth’s struggles. The Cherries (+1900) won the reverse fixture 1-0 but Man United are a different team now and have a Plan B with Bruno Fernandes and Pogba together in midfield. The tie at +650 is the best value bet but it seems unlikely.
In the other game Leicester (-148) are the favorites versus Crystal Palace (+480) and the tie is +260.
I’m going to go for a solid, steady Man United win here. They’ve had a busy week with the FA Cup trip to Norwich going to extra time and then heading down to Brighton, so I think we will see a few new faces in the lineup. Whatever team Solskjaer puts out will be too much for this Bournemouth side who are feeling sorry for themselves. Man United 3-1 Bournemouth.
As for Leicester against Palace, I can see the Eagles digging in for a draw and getting it. 1-1.