Manchester United moved four points clear of third-placed Liverpool on Wednesday night, courtesy of a comfortable 2-0 win away to Bournemouth.
Ahead of the weekend’s FA Cup semi-final clash with Tottenham, Jose Mourinho made seven changes to his starting 11, with Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic, among others, all dropping to the bench.
However, the Red Devils were the better side for long periods of the game against a Bournemouth side struggling for form.
Chris Smalling opened the scoring on 28 minutes, after a superb Ander Herrera pass had played in Jesse Lingard, with the England midfielder then setting up his team-mate.
The hosts can count themselves very unlucky not have been awarded a penalty on 56 minutes, when Luke Shaw pulled back Callum Wilson in the box. However, the officials ignored the protests from the Cherries’ players.
A second goal would come in the second-half, with sub Lukaku firing home from a fine Paul Pogba pass.
The game would end 2-0 to the visitors, who bounced back from that shock defeat to West Brom, with the Red Devils now able to look forward to the weekend’s Wembley appearance.
As for Eddie Howe and Bournemouth, despite just one win in nine league games, their Premier League survival for another season looks all but sealed.
After the game, Mourinho praised his side’s performance, saying:
This win was based on good attitude, professionalism and a determination to win an important match for us because now it’s difficult to not finish in the top four.