Bournemouth 2 Manchester United 2: More defensive lapses, but Bruno saves them – Al-Mojaz

Manchester United's disappointing run of form continued against Bournemouth on Saturday evening, as they drew 2-2 with Andoni Airola's side.

The first half had an alarmingly familiar flavour, with Erik ten Hag's side turning the ball over on numerous occasions, the home team frequently ceding the initiative and once again allowing their opponents to shoot at will. Two of those shots – from Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert – went into the net, broken up by a decent effort from Bruno Fernandes at the other end.

The second half at least saw some improvement, with Fernandes scoring his second goal of the match from the penalty spot after Adam Smith's handball, but Bournemouth felt they should have been awarded a penalty of their own in stoppage time after a foul on Ryan. Christie by Willie Kambwala was considered (just) outside the box.

The result leaves United 10 points away from the Champions League qualifying places, with only six matches remaining.

here, The athlete Karl Anka answers some of the game's key questions.

How much control do United have today?

Five minutes into the match, Ten Hag was seen giving “two, three, two” signals to his players; It appears that the Dutchman wanted his defenders to better direct themselves towards Andre Onana's goal kicks as they attempted to play out from the back.

The plan centered on Bournemouth pressing forward towards one side before quickly shooting the ball and opening up space at the back.

Thirty seconds after Ten Hag's instructions, Bournemouth created a chance after being forced to turn the ball over from a loose back pass from Kobe Maino to Onana. Harry Maguire had to make a final intervention to deny Solanke.

It was one of many frustrating scenes. A team tries to implement a brave, if overly ambitious, footballing plan, but makes foolish mistakes.

It was another game in which United conceded too many shots (12 in the first half, five of them on target) against a team that thrives on the open space allowed by Ten Hag's midfield system. The United manager's ultimate destination is for this team to be the best transitional team in the world, but his players have lost their way on the journey. A complete breakdown in communication between Diogo Dalot and Alejandro Garnacho in the 36th minute saw Kluivert enter space in a dangerous area in the final third before making it 2-1.

It's a disorienting experience to watch a group of talented players so focused on avoiding one form of embarrassment, that they have no idea of ​​the smaller, more imminent train wreck that awaits them.

As we have highlighted here, United's inability to control games is a design flaw that has been reinforced by the injury crisis. It is acceptable for United to concede shots in a match, provided that those shots are of low quality and United create better chances of their own. However, United had only one shot on target in the first half against Bournemouth, and Iraola's side were the latest team to exploit the space behind United's full-backs to great effect throughout the match.

(Adrian Denis/AFP via Getty Images)

In his press conference on Friday, Ten Hag urged his team to “fight that battle, have the conviction and the need to support each other to win the battles, to overcome them, to overcome them.”

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United were found deficient in the majority of important categories.

Where will this result leave United's season?

Shortly before the half-time whistle, Harry Maguire found himself 35 yards from Bournemouth's goal and decided to let the ball go. It was the kind of meditative effort that is a goal for a season contender if he comes in and kills time when he doesn't.

The shot went high and wide and embodied the weakness and lack of his team's performance.

A handball from Adam Smith and a cleverly executed penalty by Fernandes saved some blushes. However, United are a low-confidence team, suffering from physical and mental fatigue that makes them commit unforced errors in the latter stages of matches. This team often turns to its most experienced players to try to conjure something out of nothing, but these players are running aimlessly.

Fernandes' brace got them two goals, but the sight of his lime green boots chasing down loose balls with little support will live longer in the memory. The Captain's batteries seem to have been exhausted, and he is now unable to lead the team the way he used to.

Midweek defeats to Liverpool and West Ham in Europe damaged England's UEFA seasonal ranking, meaning United will likely need to finish fourth rather than fifth to qualify for next season's Champions League. Such concerns now seem far beyond Ten Hag. Saturday's draw with Bournemouth, coupled with Newcastle's 4-0 win over Tottenham, left their side seventh in the league. Weeks of sideways drift are at risk of turning into complete decline.

The FA Cup semi-final against Coventry City is next Sunday, followed by matches against Sheffield United and Burnley which could give Ten Hag the chance to turn things around, but if Manchester United continue with this erratic and counter-attacking approach, the games become more of a coin toss. By nature.

(Adrian Denis/AFP via Getty Images)

Will Willy Kambwala's back-to-back league start?

The rare unchanged line-up for United saw Kambwala make only his third appearance in the Premier League. The 19-year-old started the 2023-24 season as sixth in the club's centre-back hierarchy, but such is the rate and severity of injuries at United, he has found himself at the deep end.

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Kambwala impressed against Liverpool due to his physical strength and aggressiveness in one-on-one duels. Against Bournemouth, he found things difficult. Solanke moved the 19-year-old twice with ease as he prepared to deal with the cross in the opening minutes of the game, with the striker's Premier League experience often proving the difference in head-to-head encounters.

Kambwala was saved for good in the 15th minute, as he lost his balance during a duel with Solanke on a noticeably wet pitch. The striker made the most of the extra space after Kambwala went down to score with a low, powerful shot into the bottom corner.

It was a simple mistake, and he was punished severely. But those are the margins in the English Premier League.

There were promising parts to his game. When United tried to build from the back, Maino dropped deep to be the first receiver while Kambwala pushed up down the right channel to act as the ball carrier when the ball was converted. It was his tackle on Solanke – just past the halfway line – that caused the turnover that led to Fernandes' equaliser.

It took VAR's intervention in the final moments of the match to spare him his embarrassment after he was initially deemed to have given away a penalty for a foul on Ryan Christie. It was eventually found that he committed a foul outside the penalty area. He survived by the slimmest of margins.

The Frenchman spent most of the match in conversation with Diogo Dalot, who offered him words of encouragement and shook his hand throughout the match.

Kambwala will make mistakes as he develops from academy graduate to first-team option. He is unlikely to be a regular starter for United when other midfielders return to fitness, but he has made himself an option in the here and now.

(Adrian Denis/AFP via Getty Images)

Should Bournemouth have been awarded a penalty?

There was more penalty drama late in stoppage time at the end of the match, with referee Tony Harrington pointing to the spot after United defender Willie Kambwala brought down Bournemouth's Ryan Christie.

However, after a VAR check, it was ruled that the foul had occurred outside the penalty area, with the penalty reduced to a free kick.

Bournemouth coach Iraola's position was that Kambwala's foul continued inside the box. However, the contact was made outside the penalty area line and both players then landed inside the box after the foul.

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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) Laws of the Game for the 2023-24 season in relation to fouls and misconduct only state that offenses occurring outside the penalty area cannot be awarded as a penalty kick.

One aspect of the Laws of the Game says: “If a defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues holding inside the penalty area, the referee must award a penalty kick.” But this does not apply to the incident between Kambwala and Christie, where there was no 'catch' by the defending player, and the only contact suitable to stop play occurred outside the area.


Go deeper

Why was Bournemouth's penalty kick against Manchester United canceled by VAR?

What did Erik ten Hag say?

On the first half for United: “There were some points, one thing is that Harry Maguire had a problem in the first half and fortunately for us he overcame it and recovered from it. You can see in the second half that he was on top and then he can express his leadership, he can express His defensive qualities and comfort on the ball, and we needed that especially in that back four. We lost some balls in areas we shouldn't lose. If you saw the first goal, the setup was good but in that area, you should never lose the ball, but still “Not a goal.”

Regarding what he said at half-time: “I am very tall in football. They were very enthusiastic. But, as I explained, I have to repeat myself – I do not do that – they were motivated but the organization was not right. We lost balls where we should not have lost them.” Under pressure from the opponent, our players are better than this.”

On the pressure to qualify for the Champions League: “We are giving everything we can but I am also realistic. When the whole team was there, we could still have great belief but we will also continue to fight with the players available, as you see high potential. But also the players Young people make mistakes, if they have to perform in every Premier League – they have proven they can compete with the best teams at the highest level – but they have to do it consistently and that is the next step for the young players.”

What's next for Manchester United?

Sunday 21 April: Coventry City, FA Cup semi-final, 3.30pm UK time, 10.30am ET.

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(Main image: Getty Images)

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