Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It Ended in England: United waft past Bournemouth to finish fifth

Manchester United 3-1 AFC Bournemouth
After a couple days worth of delays for a false bomb scare, Bournemouth and Manchester United finally closed out the Premier League season at Old Trafford. Neither side had much to play for, either. Bournemouth were solidly mid table and United had a Europa League spot wrapped up. Nothing short of a 19 goal victory would lift them above rivals Manchester City for the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Manchester United went ahead at the tail end of a largely lifeless first half. In the 43rd minute, Wayne Rooney finished off a surgical passing move through the attacking third with a simple low shot into the net. It was one of only two shots that the Red Devils could muster up despite their 65% possession advantage.

The second half had a little more fire to it, but still little offense for either side. All the goals went Manchester United's way. Marcus Rashford doubled the lead in the 75th minute with another well placed low shot. Ashley Young added the third just three minutes from full time. There was still very little energy coming from the teams as the clock wound down. Clearly both sides just wanted it to be over.

Bournemouth did spoil the clean sheet, and David De Gea's run at the Golden Glove for top goalkeeper. A little excuse me shot took a touch off Chris Smalling for an own goal in the final minute of stoppage time.

United's lack of urgency could likely have been attributed to Saturday's FA Cup Final. The chance for silverware at the end of another rough year for Manchester Untied meant there was little reason to take too many chances against a significantly weaker opponent in a mostly meaningless match. They finish fifth on the season, outside the Champions League and stuck in Europe's second tier competition. They ended 15 goals shy of fourth place Manchester City on goal difference.

Bournemouth finishes their first ever Premier League season in 16th place, five points clear of relegation. A solid finish for the little guys who were expected to go back down as a one and done club.

Final European League Tables

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