Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester United: Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku goals consolidate second
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 19/04/18 7:57am
Manchester United returned to winning ways by consolidating their grip on second with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
Chris Smalling continued his rich vein of form in front of goal on his 150th Premier League appearance, finding the net for the third consecutive away game with the opener on 28 minutes.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku then wrapped up the points on 70 minutes as Jose Mourinho's side warmed up for Saturday's FA Cup semi-final with Tottenham by moving four points clear of third-place Liverpool.
David de Gea strengthened his claim for the Golden Glove with a 17th league clean sheet - a career-high 21 in all competitions.
However, things could have been different for Eddie Howe's side - who remain 11th in the table - had Luke Shaw's goal-preventing challenge on Callum Wilson yielded punishment from referee Graham Scott.
Bournemouth: Begovic (5), Francis (5), S Cook (5), Ake (6), Daniels (6), Fraser (5), L Cook (5), Surman (5), Ibe (5), King (6), Wilson (6).
Subs: Gosling (5), Defoe (5), Mousset (6).
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Darmian (6), Smalling (8), Jones (6), Shaw (6), Herrera (7), Fellaini (6), Pogba (8), Lingard (7), Martial (6), Rashford (6).
Subs: Blind (5), Matic (5), Lukaku (7).
Man of the Match: Paul Pogba.
With Sunday's title-deciding defeat to West Brom clearly on United minds, Bournemouth started brightly and created the first opening inside 11 minutes, Jordon Ibe dragging a shot wide from the edge of the area.
It took the visitors 27 minutes to register an effort on target, Marcus Rashford drawing a decent save from Asmir Begovic after robustly dispossessing Nathan Ake on the right-hand touchline.
But Begovic's resolve was broken a minute later when Ander Herrera's divine pass released Jesse Lingard in behind the Bournemouth defence, and he squared for Smalling to tap home.
United went on to dominate the rest of the first period but had De Gea to thank for preserving their lead as Josh King's rasping shot was parried clear before half-time.
Callum Wilson and Andrew Surman were drafted into the Bournemouth starting line-up as Eddie Howe made two changes following Saturday’s defeat at Liverpool. With an eye on Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final, Jose Mourinho made seven changes, with only David de Gea, Chris Smalling, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba retaining their places after the defeat to West Brom.
Bournemouth pushed for an equaliser early in the second period and felt they should have had a penalty on 56 minutes when Shaw appeared to impede Wilson as he tried to convert King's cross.
But referee Scott deemed the left-back's challenge legal, and United made the most of their reprieve as Lukaku, eight minutes after coming off the bench, lifted the decisive second over Begovic at the end of a Paul Pogba-led counter.
- David de Gea has kept more clean sheets in all competitions for Man Utd in 2017/18 than he has in any other season for the club (21).
- Manchester United have won six of their last seven Premier League games (L1), scoring two or more goals in each victory.
- After winning their first Premier League meeting with Man Utd (2-1 in December 2015), Bournemouth have lost four and drawn one of the subsequent five.
- Romelu Lukaku has scored seven goals in his six Premier League appearances against Bournemouth.
- No player has provided more Premier League assists in away games this season than Paul Pogba (7 - level with Christian Eriksen and David Silva).
- Jesse Lingard has been directly involved in 19 goals in all competitions this season (13 goals, 6 assists), one more than he managed in his previous three seasons for Man Utd combined (18).
Man of the Match - Paul Pogba
After drawing criticism from his manager in the wake of United's defeat to West Brom, which handed Manchester City the title, all eyes were on the Pogba to get United back on the winning track. He took his time to grow into the game but once he was up to speed we were treated to a vintage display from the Frenchman, who capped an imperious second-half display by setting up Lukaku for United's second.
Bournemouth travel to south-coast rivals Southampton on Saturday, April 28, for a game which could go a long way to deciding each club's fortunes. United, meanwhile, take on Tottenham for a place in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday before hosting Arsenal at Old Trafford on Nissan Super Sunday on April 29.