Manchester United were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by 10-man Bournemouth at Old Trafford as Artur Boruc saved a second-half Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty to deny the Reds the chance to move into the top four.

Marcos Rojo had put United into a first-half lead, before former Red Joshua King levelled from the spot. Andrew Surman was shown a second yellow card moments before the break for pushing Ibrahimovic following an areal challenge between United’s no.9 and Tyrone Mings.

Boss Jose Mourinho rotated his side, making four changes to the EFL Cup-winning team. The most notable was the return of Luke Shaw, who started a league game for the first time since the goalless draw with Burnley back on 29 October. Phil Jones partnered Rojo in central defence with Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney also included in the starting XI.

United, who came into this one having not played a league fixture for three weeks, could perhaps have been forgiven for having an EFL Cup hangover after bolstering the club’s trophy cabinet with a 41st major honour, but that was completely not the case as the Reds came flying out of the blocks.

Antonio Valencia won the ball high up the field and, after Ibrahimovic’s flick was cleared, the Ecuadorian crossed for Rooney at the back post, but he headed onto the roof of the net. Shaw was obviously out to impress and, after winning the ball in his own box, he sent Paul Pogba away with a glorious ball over the top, but the Frenchman’s effort was tipped wide by Boruc.

United should really have taken the lead moments later as a poor Mings back-pass found Rooney, but his square ball evaded Ibrahimovic, who would have had a tap in. The Reds were then nearly punished as a hopeful long ball found Benik Afobe who held off Rojo, but slipped at the vital moment allowing David De Gea to save.

At the other end, Anthony Martial cut in from the left and fired a low shot at goal which was again saved by Boruc as United began to turn the screw. This had all happened within the first 15 minutes so it was clear the Cherries were in for a long afternoon.

Read more…