Football News

“Unacceptable on every level” – Man Utd fans scathing in criticism as Erik ten Hag makes unwanted history against Bournemouth

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:20, 9 December 2023

Bournemouth left Old Trafford victorious for the first time in the club’s history as they beat Manchester United 3-0 on Saturday.

There was cause for Man Utd to celebrate in the build up to this game, not least because of their 2-1 win over Chelsea in midweek. Erik ten Hag had been named Manager of the Month for November after leading Man Utd to three Premier League wins from three, while Harry Maguire was named Player of the Month and Alejandro Garnacho scooped Goal of the Month for his bicycle kick against Everton.

The Red Devils were just three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City at the start of the day and could have moved level on points, piling some pressure on their rivals who play tomorrow. They were in decent form too, with four wins from their past five games, though the defeat against Newcastle was pretty damning given their performance.

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Any hopes of Man Utd building on the midweek win over Chelsea will have flown out of the window after five minutes as Bournemouth took a shock lead. Man Utd played well in the opening stages aside from the goal, which came from Bournemouth applying pressure high up the pitch. Man Utd were trying to play out from the back but Scott McTominay was too slow in receiving the ball in midfield, with Lewis Cook reacting quickly to intercept.

Cook played the ball into the box and there was Dominic Solanke, getting in front of Maguire to tap home a eighth Premier League goal of the season, continuing his fine run of form.

It could have been 2-0 before half time too as Bournemouth focused on soaking up pressure and countering, with Solanke hitting the post. As he has been in recent weeks, Solanke was excellent, and Man Utd just couldn’t deal with him.

Solanke was included in the build up to Bournemouth’s second, leading the break before playing the ball out to Marcus Tavernier who crossed to the back post for Philip Billing to head in. This was a mixture of good attacking play from Bournemouth, in particular Billing’s run and powerful header, and weak defending as Luke Shaw was beaten far too easily in the air.

It was soon 3-0, and this was shocking defending. Tavernier was the provider again, this time from a corner, with his delivery right onto the head of Marco Senesi who was unmarked in the Man Utd box. It’s the fifth time Man Utd have conceded at least three goals in a game at Old Trafford this season, something they have only suffered in two other campaigns this century. But in both 2011/12 and 2021/22, the fifth game came right at the end of the season, while Man Utd are only a few months into this campaign.

You have to go all the way back to 1962/63 to find the last time Man Utd conceded at least three goals in more home games, and even that was only on six occasions.

Bournemouth thought they were leaving Old Trafford with a 4-0 win, but Dango Outtara’s effort was ruled out for handball. That decision, through VAR, brought the second biggest cheer from the home fans on the night, after Anthony Martial was taken off for Rasmus Hojlund.

So Bournemouth had to settle for 3-0, and their first ever victory against Man Utd at Old Trafford, losing nine and drawing one of their first 10 visits to the Theatre of Dreams.

For Man Utd, it was a fourth home league lost this season, having only lost 4+ in one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 21 Premier League campaigns (six in 2001/02). They have also now lost more Premier League home games since Sir Alex retired (35) than they did during his Premier League tenure at the club (34). And, in the dying stages, captain Bruno Fernandes got himself a silly yellow card for dissent, ruling him out of next weekend’s game against Liverpool.

After the game, all the frustration on social media was aimed at Ten Hag, at the end of what had been a positive week.