Manchester United 4-1 Bournemouth: Paul Pogba scores twice to maintain Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's winning run
Highlights and report as United make it 12 goals in three games under Solskjaer
By Gerard Brand at Old Trafford
Last Updated: 31/12/18 6:19am
Man-of-the-match Paul Pogba scored twice as Manchester United beat Bournemouth 4-1 at Old Trafford to maintain Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's 100 per cent start as caretaker manager.
Pogba had United ahead on five minutes, finishing off from close range after magnificent skill by Marcus Rashford, and he added a second on 33 minutes, heading home a wicked Ander Herrera cross ahead of Asmir Begovic.
Rashford got in on the act with a deft touch on the stretch from Anthony Martial's brilliant lofted pass (45), but United failed to keep a clean sheet for the eighth straight game as Nathan Ake's header made it 3-1 (45+2).
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Young (7), Lindelof (7), Bailly (5), Shaw (7), Herrera (7), Matic (6), Pogba (9), Lingard (7), Rashford (9), Martial (8).
Subs: Lukaku (6), Pereira (NA), Jones (NA)
Bournemouth: Begovic (6), Cook (5), Ake (6), Daniels (5), Ibe (5), Stanislas (5), Brooks (5), Surman (5), Rico (5), King (5), Wilson (5).
Subs: Fraser (5), Mousset (5), Mings (NA)
Man of the match: Paul Pogba
Romelu Lukaku scored two minutes after being introduced (72), converting Pogba's lifted pass, but Eric Bailly was dismissed for a rash challenge on Ryan Fraser (79).
The result means United are now eight points off fourth place in the Premier League following their third straight win under Solskjaer, while Bournemouth are 12th.
Having scored eight in their previous two games, there was a confident air around Old Trafford, and it did not take long for United to get going again. In a tight situation near the right corner flag, Rashford skilfully flicked past Ake then Diego Rico before getting into the area to square for Pogba to slide home from six yards.
United made four changes from the side that beat Huddersfield; Martial came in for Mata, Young returned for Dalot, Bailly got the nod over Jones and Herrera replaced Fred.
Fraser and Lerma dropped out of the Bournemouth line-up, replaced by Ibe and King, while Rico came in for the injured Francis at left-back.
Rashford then nearly had a goal for himself as his half-volley deflected off Ake's face and whistled wide, while at the other end Ake himself saw a close-range header from a corner deflect goalwards off Herrera, only for David de Gea to produce a reflex save.
Just as Bournemouth looked to be finding their feet, Pogba struck again. Latching onto Herrera's fine, curling cross, the Frenchman piled in to head on the stretch as Begovic struggled to punch clear.
Pogba has now scored four goals in his last two Premier League appearances under Solskjaer, as many as he had in his previous 20 under Jose Mourinho.
It was 3-0 just before the break as Rashford arrived between defenders at the far post to slide home Martial's superb ball from the right with the outside of his boot, but there was still time for Ake to pull a goal back before half-time with a near-post header from David Brooks' lifted cross.
The tempo slowed slightly after half time, with Rashford's effort blocked by Begovic at his feet, until Lukaku's introduction on 70 minutes.
Letting the ball run across his body as he got on the end of Pogba's through ball, the Belgian poked past Begovic from 15 yards for a much-needed goal, just his third in 18 appearances.
Pogba then hit the bottom of the left-hand post from 20 yards via a stunning touch from Begovic, before Bailly found himself in trouble, sent off by Lee Mason for a nasty scissor challenge on Fraser.
Man of the match - Paul Pogba
All eyes were on Pogba yet again as the post-Mourinho era looked to be favouring him most, and as Jamie Carragher said after his second goal: "I hope Jose isn't watching!"
Pogba was dominant on Sunday, gliding through midfield on the ball and working back well without it. He had more shots (five), key passes (three), touches (99), opposition half passes (61) and won possession more times than any of his team-mates.
As the Frenchman admitted himself after the game, there is still work to do. Pogba now must prove he is a superstar against top-six opposition.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "First half, you go out attack the game, high tempo, high energy, win the ball back, but the response from their goal was great. Second half was excellent, managing the game so much better than we did against Huddersfield for example.
"You always look for improvements, we're looking for that clean sheet, we can't switch off for one second, in this league. But I have to say it's a very, very good performance. Crowd was enjoying it, but then again Newcastle, the next one, is a challenge. A different kind of test."
Eddie Howe: "Tough game. Disappointing performance from us. We weren't every quite right in the game I felt, we conceded early and it was very difficult from that moment onwards.
"Technically and defensively below the usual level, hence we got punished."
The pundit - Jamie Redknapp
"It's a big ask but of course United can challenge [for top four]. The last thing Chelsea and Arsenal wanted to see was this kind of United again because they are free-flowing and full of confidence and have got a lot of good players. They are right in the equation for the top four. Chelsea are of course hot favourites still but United can do it."
- Manchester United have recorded three consecutive Premier League victories for the first time since a run of five in April.
- No side have kept fewer clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Manchester United (2, also Fulham).
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is only the third United manager to win his first three league games in charge of the club, after Matt Busby and Jose Mourinho.
- United striker Marcus Rashford has provided six assists in 17 Premier League appearances this season; as many as in his previous two seasons combined (77 apps).
- Paul Pogba is the first Man Utd player to score at least twice in consecutive Premier League appearances since Wayne Rooney in December 2012.
Manchester United now go to Newcastle on Wednesday night at 8pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League, while Bournemouth host Watford on the same evening at 7.45pm.