Fernandes Double Gives Manchester United Fortunate Draw At Bournemouth


For Manchester United, is there a more damning indictment of their current state than the fact they have faced more shots than anyone else in the division this season? André Onana’s goal was peppered again here and they have now conceded a league-high 574 shots. The other teams at the top that list? Sheffield United, Luton and Burnley, a trio mired deep in relegation trouble. It is so easy for sides to ruffle United and it seems Erik ten Hag does not know the solution either, though Bruno Fernandes scored twice at Bournemouth to prevent a humbling defeat. Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert struck for Andoni Iraola’s swarming side and the hosts thought they earned a stoppage-time penalty, only for VAR to rescue Willy Kambwala from further pain.

There were nine minutes of first-half stoppage time and while Fernandes, the United captain, clipped the crossbar with a dipping shot from 25 yards as he went in search of an equaliser, when the fourth official indicated as much it was the visitors who badly required some respite.

If anything was symptomatic of their alarming, anaemic display it was the chance that fell to Kluivert on the edge of the six-yard box a few minutes earlier. The excellent Bournemouth left-back Milos Kerkez popped up on the right to recycle a free-kick and when he sent the ball back where it came from, United were static. Kluivert was alert, however, and made a perfectly-timed run but his effort was repelled by Onana, who was left exposed throughout. Fernandes was the only United player to bother tracking the opposition and even he, really, was too late to react.

By that point United trailed 2-1, Fernandes having volleyed in from close range after a fortuitous deflection off Illia Zabarnyi, but that scoreline flattered Ten Hag’s side, unchanged from their draw against Liverpool last time out. Solanke got the first courtesy of a United tragicomedy and Kluivert got the second.

Bournemouth could feasibly have been out of sight by the interval. Onana went berserk when the woodwork came to United’s aid after Kerkez met Adam Smith’s superb cross from the right. Kerkez’s downward header hit the bar and it spoke volumes that when the ball boomeranged back towards him, he was quickest to it. Diogo Dalot, Willy Kambwala, Harry Maguire and Casemiro watched as Kerkez made a mess of the rebound.

Kluivert’s goal came down United’s right flank, where Bournemouth had joy time and again. Kambwala pointed at an unmarked Kluivert but, with Dalot and Alejandro Garnacho looking at each other in front of the ball, suddenly the teenager was faced with the Bournemouth forward himself. Kluivert feasted on the space afforded to him and rattled a shot inside Onana’s near post. It encapsulated United’s looseness. They were outnumbered, overwhelmed and outrun.

It was a similar story for Bournemouth’s first goal, when Solanke seized on a Kambwala slip. Kambwala lost his footing, tried to regain it, and then stumbled once more. But the goal stemmed from a United goal-kick. Rasmus Højlund chested Onana’s kick into Garnacho, who was replaced by Amad Diallo at the interval, but his touch was poor.

It was, again, a Bournemouth player who showed greater hunger to get to the ball. Marcos Senesi toe-poked a first-time pass into Solanke and he turned Kambwala and promptly buried his 17th league goal of the season, the best tally for a Bournemouth player in the top flight in a single season.

Presumably Ten Hag introduced Diallo in an attempt to prevent Kerkez from charging down the left wing and give the full-back something to think about going the other way. Kerkez pushed into midfield after Lloyd Kelly replaced the injured Luis Sinisterra towards the end of the first half and Kelly almost fed Solanke approaching the hour, only for Kambwala to nab the ball at the front post.