Sky Sports Soccer Saturday pundit Paul Merson is expecting a tricky trip for Manchester United at Bournemouth.
The Cherries are three points better off than United, who are currently eight in the Premier League after last week’s 2-1 win over Everton, which Merson accurately predicted.
This week, however, Merson has predicted a different outcome for the Reds. He expects goals but believes Bournemouth will be able to hold on to a point against United.
That would be far from an ideal result for Jose Mourinho, who claimed in last week’s pre-Everton programme notes that United would be in a better position by the end of December.
United failing to beat Bournemouth whether it’s home or away is never a good result, unless you’re expectations have slumped through the gutter.
On paper, there is no contest in this encounter. None whatsoever.
Though Merson describes it as “a hard one to call” before predicting a 2-2 draw.
“This is a bit of a level game, isn’t it? Over the years you’d say these types of games are a walk in the park for Manchester United, but this is a hard game now.
“It’s a hard one to call, too. I went with Manchester United last week 2-1 against Everton because they’re Manchester United. It’s very hard to go against them. But I’m going for a draw here, and it’s a massive compliment to Bournemouth. That’s how far they’ve come, and also where Manchester United have gone too.
“United are sometimes better away, but Bournemouth will have a right go at them, and United are all over the place at the back.”
That probably tells you more about the incredible job Howe has done as manager more than Mourinho’s three-year stint as United boss, but the latter should still be doing a lot better with the quality of players he has available to him.
And as we suggested in our match preview, Merson reckons “Bournemouth will have a right go at them [United]” with Mourinho’s defence all over the place this season.
In the biggest game of the weekend – Arsenal vs Liverpool, Saturday 5.30pm – Merson has gone for a 3-1 Liverpool win by claiming this is when Unai Emery’s side really start to “show some big cracks”.
Read all of Merson’s predictions for this weekend’s Premier League action here.