An excellent overhead kick from Casemiro was enough to fire Manchester United to a lacklustre 1-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.
Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes’ wild strikes from range kicked off proceedings, but a moment of real class from the former put United ahead eight minutes in.
Christian Eriksen’s dinked ball over the top towards the Brazilian looked to have been cut out by Marcos Senesi, but all he had done was tee up Casemiro for a gorgeous overhead kick just a few yards out.
United kept the pressure on, pushing forwards in search of a second goal and making it incredibly hard for Bournemouth to clear their lines, although some fierce work from Dominic Solanke did force David de Gea into his first save of the afternoon midway through the first half.
The game soon turned into an end-to-end affair with little real action at either as both sides meandered towards half-time.
De Gea had to make an early save to deny David Brooks soon after the restart but it took around 15 minutes for another highlight, with Neto getting down well to deny substitute Wout Weghorst.
After another long break in excitement, Neto once again had to make a top save to deny a thunderous volley from the otherwise underwhelming Bruno Fernandes. The Bournemouth stopper was doing all he could to keep the game alive.
Not to be outdone, Golden Glove winner De Gea had to make a powerful stop to keep Kieffer Moore out late on, ensuring United took all three points back to Manchester.
GK: Neto – 6/10 – Could do nothing about Casemiro’s opener but was otherwise solid.
RB: Adam Smith – 7/10 – Wasn’t scared of Sancho whatsoever and gave the winger a real problem.
CB: Ilya Zabarnyi – 6/10 – Under plenty of pressure but generally did a decent job of dealing with it.
CB: Marcos Senesi – 6/10 – Excellent passing to try and drag Bournemouth back into things after his unfortunate touch set up Casemiro.
LB: Lloyd Kelly – 7/10 – Had an absolute dream up against Antony, who made life incredibly easy for Kelly.
DM: Lewis Cook – 5/10 – Passing was a little safe and offered very little defensive help as United tried to swarm the Bournemouth third.
DM: Jefferson Lerma – 6/10 – Tried to will his side back into the game. Good work rate and a lovely shove on Antony as he dawdled his way off the pitch late on.
RM: Jaidon Anthony – 5/10 – The odd nice moment but found it hard to make any significant impact.
AM: Ryan Christie – 6/10 – Linked up midfield and attack pretty well when Bournemouth finally found their footing in the game.
LM: David Brooks – 5/10 – A welcome first start in 598 days for Brooks who, unsurprisingly, didn’t get much to work with.
ST: Dominic Solanke – 6/10 – Some great centre-forward play despite often being up on an island. Did what he could.
Kieffer Moore (55′ for Brooks) – 6/10
Matias Vina (65′ for Smith) – 6/10
Dango Ouattara (65′ for Christie) – 6/10
Subs not used: Adu-Adjei, Sadi, Mepham, Stacey, Stephens
Gary O’Neil – 6/10 – It was a really slow start from Bournemouth but the Cherries did grow into proceedings and had their chances to win this. Obviously the result is not ideal but the performance in isolation was solid.
GK: David de Gea – 7/10 – A nice stop to deny Solanke midway through first half and was otherwise a sun-drenched spectator before a late stop to deny Moore.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7/10 – Impressive definitely and flashed a desire to get involved going forwards, even if he couldn’t always pull it off.
CB: Raphael Varane – 6/10 – Was made to work hard by Solanke but largely came out on top.
CB: Victor Lindelof – 7/10 – Excellent interceptions. Always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.
LB: Luke Shaw – 7/10 – Dealt well with his defensive work. Fierce defending and satisfactory play going forwards.
DM: Casemiro – 7/10 – A delightful, instinctive finish to put United ahead.
DM: Christian Eriksen – 6/10 – Impressed with the ball at his feet and will unfortunately not be given the assist for Casemiro’s opener. Not always convincing defensively.
RM: Antony – 4/10 – Had a really tough time against Kelly. Didn’t look up for the physical battle at all.
AM: Bruno Fernandes – 5/10 – Didn’t offer enough at all. Some really loose passing which stopped United from getting in their groove.
LM: Jadon Sancho – 5/10 – You could see what Sancho was trying to do but the winger just couldn’t pull it off. Lacked the required energy.
ST: Anthony Martial – 5/10 – Rarely involved and struggled leading the line.
Wout Weghorst (57′ for Martial) – 5/10
Alejandro Garnacho (72′ for Sancho) – 6/10
Scott McTominay (86′ for Eriksen) – N/A
Fred (86′ for Antony) – N/A
Subs not used: Pellistri, Dalot, Maguire, Malacia, Butland
Erik ten Hag – 5/10 – United weren’t particularly good here. Ten Hag’s determination to get something good out of Sancho and Antony left fans frustrated, particularly given Garnacho’s immediate impact after he eventually came on.