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Manchester United seemingly have little left to play for after their shock 1-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday handed local rivals Manchester City the Premier League title.
But they must provide a response when they visit Bournemouth on Wednesday or risk losing second spot in the top flight before the end of the season.
The Cherries, for their part, are effectively safe from relegation in 11th spot, but they still only have 38 points and will be eager to push themselves over the 40-point barrier as they aim for a top-10 finish.
Read on for a preview of the south-coast clash, along with viewing and scheduling details:
Date: Wednesday, April 18
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET
TV Info: BT Sport 4 (UK), NBCSN (U.S.)
Live Stream: BT Sport, NBC Sports Live
It has long been clear United would not win the Premier League in 2017-18.
However, the fashion in which they conceded the title to City with a whimper after their heroic 3-2 comeback win against the Sky Blues a week earlier is sure to have irked United players and fans alike.
The Red Devils fans who travel to the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday will be desperate to see a response from their side after the lifeless display against the Baggies.
It will be no easy task to turn over Eddie Howe’s side, though, as they have lost just once at home in their last nine matches in all competitions.
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United manager Jose Mourinho may well make some changes for the trip in preparation for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium.
He has a full squad to choose from—apart from No. 2 goalkeeper Sergio Romero—meaning the likes of Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford may all get a runout having started on the bench against West Brom.
Barring a collapse of unprecedented proportions, United have a top-four finish in the Premier League wrapped up this season and can look forward to more UEFA Champions League football next term.
They have also already accrued more points this term, 71, than any other campaign since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, per SuperSport:
Manchester United host West Brom today. The Red Devils are sitting in second place on 71 points, which is their highest season total since Sir Alex Ferguson left. #PL https://t.co/dU4LAzp2tO
But it would be hugely demoralising, particularly for Red Devils fans, were United to take their foot off the gas and simply coast to the finish line this season.
Bournemouth are a high-quality side who will be desperate for a marquee result against the Manchester giants, and they may believe Mourinho’s men are there for the taking.
If United fall to another spineless defeat on Wednesday, the gap in quality between them and City will look more pronounced than ever, and the prospect of the Red Devils closing that gap next season will be bleak.