Manchester United finally took to the Old Trafford sward on Tuesday night to face Bournemouth after their match was initially rescheduled following the discovery of a ‘dummy bomb’ in one of the toilet blocks at the stadium. Since the postponement of the encounter on Sunday didn’t have any implications on the rest of Match-Day 38 fixtures, the stakes had changes following Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Swansea.
That notwithstanding, the hosts registered a comfortable close to the season with a 3-1 victory over the Cherries. Wayne Rooney was first to get off the mark when he drove the leather past Adam Federici following a Marcus Rashford dummy right before the interval.
The provider became the finisher midway through the second half when the parried it home from 12 yards to double the advantage for Manchester United. Ashley Young wound up the victory by tucking in their third of the night, but a Chris Smalling deflection in the dying moments of the game ensured United didn’t keep a clean sheet: unceremoniously denying David De Gea the golden glove award.
Here are three observations from the encounter:
No Champions League next season
Manuel Pellegrini’s charges managed to salvage a point from their visit to Wales on Sunday, which meant United’s fate was already sealed even before a ball was kicked. There was a minimalistic chance that they could topple City for the last Champions League slot, but that was too minimalistic to even consider as the Red devils needed to score at least 19 goals against Bournemouth.
With the full knowledge that they were already down and out of next year’s Champions League, the Red devils nonetheless put on a good show for the countable supporters in the stands. Although the Manchester sides finished the season level on 66 points, City had the better of their neighbors once again as they finished fourth on the Premier League log by virtue of goal difference.
Rooney finding form
Wayne Rooney may have been struggling to find his form following his two-month injury lay off, but the England skipper was at his glimmering best against the Cherries. He was excellent in his deeper midfield role and equally integral in attack, with the goal and assist there to show.
Rooney has been selected in the provisional 26-man England squad for the Euros, and no doubt his exploits against Bournemouth will help to the cause.
Possibly Louis van Gaal’s last game at Old Trafford
Manchester United will have to settle for the Europa League for the second time in three seasons, a fact that hasn’t gone well with the fans since Sunday. The Old Trafford faithful couldn’t hide their disappointment at full time as a string of boos echoed across the stadium following Louis van Gaal’s end of the season speech.
A considerable number of the clubs’ online community have been rallying for the Dutchman’s dismissal, with some even threatening not to renew their season tickets.
From the look of things however, a decision on Louis van Gaal’s future will be made after the FA Cup Final this Saturday, with odds heavily stuck against him after failing short of Champions League qualification.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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