Mason Greenwood scored twice in the Premier League for the first time as Manchester United came from behind to beat Bournemouth 5-2 and increase the Cherries’ relegation worries.
Greenwood, 18, equalised for the hosts after Junior Stanislas’ shock 15th-minute opener before scoring United’s fourth with a superb effort after half-time when he took on Diego Rico on the edge of the area and cut a right-footed shot back across goal into the far corner.
Marcus Rashford had put United 2-1 in front from the penalty spot and Anthony Martial then increased the advantage with a brilliant curling effort into the top corner just before the break.
In an action-packed game, Joshua King pulled one back for Bournemouth with a penalty four minutes after the interval, but Eddie Howe’s men crumbled to an eighth successive away defeat after Arnaut Danjuma had what would have been an equaliser disallowed for offside.
Bruno Fernandes scored United’s fifth with a free-kick from the edge of the area.
United front three outscoring Liverpool’s
It was the first time United had scored five in a Premier League game since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first match in charge, a 5-1 win at Cardiff in December 2018.
It also extended their unbeaten run to 16 games, stretching back to the home defeat by Burnley on 22 January.
Martial and Rashford – who netted for the first time since the resumption – both have 20 goals for the season and, together with Greenwood’s contribution of 15, they have now scored four more than champions Liverpool’s much-vaunted front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in 2019-20.
United have not scored six since 2011 but came close to achieving it on Saturday. Rashford had a second goal ruled out for offside and keeper Aaron Ramsdale produced smart saves in injury-time to turn away a Paul Pogba free-kick and a Fernandes shot that was heading for the corner.
It is the first time the hosts have won three successive Premier League games this season and they seem to be hitting form at exactly the right time as they chase a top-four finish.
Defensive issues remain for United
Former skipper Roy Keane reacted to the goal United conceded at Tottenham last month by saying defender Harry Maguire and goalkeeper David de Gea should not be allowed to return home on the team bus, so appalled was the Irishman by their tame efforts.
It is fair to assume Keane would not have been impressed by Bournemouth’s opener either.
Maguire lost possession inside his own box before being nutmegged by Stanislas close to the goalline, and the Bournemouth man then managed to squeeze the ball past De Gea at his near post.
The same United pair then combined to mess up what should have been a routine clearance that would have resulted in a first-half equaliser for the Cherries had Dominic Solanke not been flagged offside.
Solskjaer heaped praise on his defence in his programme notes but, on this evidence, there is work to do before they can be classed in remotely the same bracket as Liverpool and Manchester City.
Familiar problems for Cherries
Bournemouth have been damaged by the twin problem of giving away easy goals at one end while failing to score at the other.
Even though there was achievement in taking the lead at Old Trafford for the first time in the club’s history, there was an air of inevitability about what followed. After all, Eddie Howe’s side were also in front at Liverpool in March, only to concede twice before the break on their way to defeat.
While United’s front three had scored 51 times before kick-off and each found the net again on Saturday, Bournemouth’s starting line-up had only managed eight goals between them this season.
Their spirited start to the second half, when they briefly thought they were level, proved manager Howe is still able to get a response from his team, but they have now collected only one point from eight matches.
Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City visit the Vitality Stadium next week and, with a trip to second-placed Manchester City to follow, it is going to need a massive reversal in form for Bournemouth to preserve their top-flight status.
Man of the match – Mason Greenwood (Man Utd)
‘We would have scored more if fans had been here’ – what they said
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “We didn’t stress after falling behind because we know we can score goals.
“It was exciting, attacking football in front of the Stretford End. Unfortunately there were no fans. If there were fans here we probably would have scored a few more. The energy in the team, the pace and the skills – I’m very happy.”
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe: “It was a strange game. There were a lot of incidents. I thought we were a genuine threat and I didn’t see that result coming after the start we made.
“We lost our way defensively and conceded bad goals before half-time. The run of results we have been on has been really tough, really poor.
“I saw signs that the attacking side of our game is still there, but defensively we were stretched.”
Greenwood joins Premier League royalty – the stats
- Mason Greenwood has now scored eight league goals for United in 2019-20; among players aged 18 and younger, only Michael Owen (twice), Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney have scored more in a Premier League season.
- United have won three consecutive league games for the first time since they won all of their first six under Ole Gunnar Solskjær from December 2018 to January 2019.
- Bournemouth have become only the second side to lose 20 points from leading positions in this season’s Premier League, after West Ham (22).
- This was the first time Manchester United scored five or more goals in a home league match since 26 December 2011, when they beat Wigan Athletic 5-0.
- Junior Stanislas’ opener for Bournemouth was the first time United had conceded in 500 minutes at Old Trafford since Jay Rodriguez scored against them for Burnley in January.
Manchester United’s next game is against another relegation-threatened side, Aston Villa, at Villa Park on Thursday (20:15 BST). Bournemouth entertain Tottenham on the same day (18:00).