By Brayden May
Kick-Off: 3:00pm (English Time)
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Manchester United head into the final game of the season against Bournemouth with their Champions League hopes very much in the hands of cross-town rivals Manchester City.
The Reds currently trail the Sky Blues by two points and nothing other than a victory for United and a loss for City will see them overtake their rivals. A draw for City and a win for United would see the City remain in fourth place on goal difference.
For the visitors on the other hand the match is very much a dead rubber having secured their place in the Premier League for next season, although a victory could see them finish as high as 12th if all other results go their way.
The outcome of the match could go a long way to determining the future of Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal who has been under mounting pressure in recent weeks.
Earlier in the season the Cherries won their first ever Premier League game against United with a 2-1 win at the Vitality Stadium thanks goals from Junior Stanislas scoring directly from a corner with former Red Joshua King sealing the winner following Marouane Fellaini’s equaliser for the Reds.
United will be looking to bounce back from their 3-2 defeat away to West Ham mid-week, in a match where victory would have seen United move into fourth heading into this weekend’s final round of matches.
The visitors will be looking to end their season on a high away from home and looking to improve on their 1-1 draw with West Brom last weekend.
Despite United’s failure to gain a vital three points van Gaal remains adamant that his side will fight until the very end.
United’s vice-captain Michael Carrick spoke of his side’s top four hopes as he said “We were in control of it going into the West Ham game but we’ve let it slip. We have to win our last league game now and then see what happens.”
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is sure that his players will be right up for the occasion at Old Trafford as he said “Whenever you play Manchester United it’s a historic occasion, so I am sure the players will be chomping at the bit to get out there”.
In team news Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee), Luke Shaw (leg) and Matteo Darmian (ankle) remain on the sidelines with injury while Adnan Januzaj is not expected to feature following a knock in training, Fellaini also misses out through suspension yet again.
There is a possibility Ashley Young will make a return to the first team squad in the hope of featuring in next week’s FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.
For the visitors Sylvain Distin (back) and Adam Smith (hernia) are both expected not to make the trip to Old Trafford.
The game will mark the tenth meeting between the clubs with the Reds having won on five occasions from the previous nine, with eight of those fixtures having been played in FA and League Cup competitions.
Twenty-time top-flight champions United have taken 19 of the past 21 available points at home whilst the South Coast club have lost only three of their past 12 away games.
Bournemouth will be hoping to break their hoodoo of having failed to score on their four previous trips to the Theatre of Dreams having conceded 12 goals in the four cup ties.
If Anthony Martial manages to find the back of the net against Bournemouth, he will set a new record for the most goals scored by a teenager for Manchester United after he equalled the record held by Brian Kidd and captain Wayne Rooney with his double against West Ham United.
In a game which can really set up the start of next season as well as finish this one on a high for United it is difficult to see them going into their shell and not throwing everything at a Bournemouth side who are only playing for league position.