United 3 - 1 Bournemouth
Valencia Smalling Blind Borthwick-Jackson
Lingard Mata(Herrer) Martial(Young)
The line-up must've raised a few eyebrows. With the FA Cup on the Horizon, I expected LVG to rest our first-teamers. But obviously the Van Gaal brain works differently to every rational human being and he fielded a starting XI that will most probably be very similar to the XI starting this Saturday in the FA Cup final. Thankfully, every player got out of this game in one piece as Bournemouth offered very little opposition and United dictated play from the first whistle to the last.
What I saw today was encouraging; some of our football was gorgeous. But was it because we were playing under no pressure? Was it because we were playing a poor opposition? With this United side you just don't know. There's quality in our side, no doubt, but why is that quality rarely shown? Rooney was outstanding in the middle of the field but that's largely because Bournemouth gave him too much space. Still, I don't want to take nothing away from Rooney's tireless performance. He was involved in all three goals but I was particularly impressed with his ball to Young for our third. Class.
Rashford continues to impress. He did a really good dummy to set up Rooney for our first and then produced a great finish to score our second. A definite starter on Saturday. I am a bit worried that he got chosen in England's provisional squad but he must be absolutely thrilled to have a chance of representing England in the Euros. In the form he's in, he'll probably make it to France. Anyway, whatever happens at the England camp, Rashford had a dream season and he probably won't experience many better things than winning us the derby with his goal. Stuff of dreams.
Borthwick-Jackson is another player who's had a very good debut season and his performance tonight reflected that. The lad must be the champion of whipping in great crosses between the goalie and the defence! I think he's actually miles better than Rojo. Rojo is not a full-back nor he is Manchester United quality....wherever he plays. It will be interesting to see Shaw and Borthwick-Jackson battle it out for a left-back position. Shaw's 20, Jackson is 19; we've got that position covered for years to come.
Overall I am pleased with the performance and I expect nothing less against Crystal Palace on Saturday. I expect the boys to deliver. This is great chance for youngsters like Martial, Rashford, Jackson, Mensah and Lingard to get their hands on their first piece of silverware. Rooney has won everything but never won the FA Cup so he'll be really pumped for the game.
On a final note, I was glad that LVG's end of season speech wasn't met with deafening boos. There were some boos, yes, but not many. That shows some class from our fans. I don't want him to be managing us next season and I have a feeling that he won't be managing us, but at least we showed some respect to a human being who, I'm sure, tried his best for Manchester United. It's a shame that his ideas have become outdated and cannot be successful in the modern game. I hope he manages to deliver the FA Cup on Saturday and retires from the game with some dignity. I like Louis van Gaal as a person, I just hate his tactics and senseless decisions. I also think he lost the plot and can't wait to walk away. Time will tell.
Wembley awaits. Come on United!