I can’t start thinking about next season though until the Cherries get at least their 10th win of the season because football is a game that can bring unexpected results and you are never safe until you are mathematically safe.
40 point barrier
Bournemouth fans will keep looking at the table and be searching for other teams to have played their games to get up to 35 games. Having played more matches than most, it is never comfortable to be something that teams can aim at.
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Yes, it would be remarkable if the Cherries ended up in a relegation tussle with just three games to go but Eddie Howe still knows they can be caught.
40 points is a mark that sticks in front of the players and will be on fans' minds – that is the safety line. It’s the slowing momentum of not picking up a point and knowing that gaps can close, which doesn’t sit comfortably.
There is also pride in wanting to gather as many points as possible that is starting to slip away. Staying up but not surpassing 40 points would perhaps be seen as a disappointment, but being in Bournemouth’s position with points on the board is far more satisfying that being a fan of one of the bottom three clubs.
Safety may just be around the corner and Bournemouth at least have their future in their own hands.
The game could have been so different
They say luck can go against smaller teams when playing Manchester United. At Old Traffford I can see that being the case, but when you’re at home it’s typical to get a decision or two when there is a valid case for a penalty.
But Graham Scott was badly positioned for Luke Shaw’s manipulation of Callum Wilson to miss his clear opportunity to score.
Locking arms and shoving at just the right moment was all that Shaw had to do to ensue Wilson did not make contact with the cross.
But Shaw did it in a way that was clever in keeping his arms close into Wilson’s body and even if their had been VAR, I’d suspect Scott wouldn’t have been quick to want a review.
If the score had gone 1-1 and Shaw had seen red, the game would have been very different and the Cherries could have grabbed the points they need. But decisions are not going to go for your team every week.
This was a match that showed how crucial experienced players are. Howe was very complimentary of United’s central defenders, who shut the door firmly when Wilson and Josh King got close to getting the better of them.
The goals for United also came at good times when the Cherries had been doing most of their best work. Good sides know how to kill games and suck the life out of proceedings. United are meticulous at it and, while it may not be pretty to watch, it is effective.
Jesse Lingard’s clever run to open up the goal for Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku’s thundering finish for the second were both well-taken goals and United don’t tend to miss when they can see a way to three points. They have the quality to punish you and that’s what happened to Bournemouth.
Manager’s thoughts – United shut the door
Howe was pleased with the performance against United as the Cherries gave everything for the cause.
But while Bournemouth’s players got into good positions and stretched United’s centre-backs, they ultimately didn’t give David De Gea much to do.
When asked about the penalty, Howe said he felt it should have been given when he saw it in real time.
Reiterating that you need to get the big decisions going for you in these games, it just didn’t feel that Bournemouth were getting the breaks on the night.
Man of the Match
Lewis Cook performed with imagination and great strength at times to slow down Paul Pogba in the middle of the park.
Lewis is becoming a better player all the time and he’s going to be a centre-piece in this Bournemouth side for the next few seasons, if that is what he desires.