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Danny Wilson says Rangers must improve at home to stand a chance of winning trophies

It is a measure of Rangers’ fortunes on and off the field that, if they win on Saturday at home to St Johnstone, they will have recorded five successive league victories for the first time in as many years. The last time they accomplished the feat was between July and September 2011 when, with Ally McCoist in charge, they prevailed against St Johnstone, Inverness Caley Thistle, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Celtic. Later that season, of course, came the club’s financial meltdown under Craig Whyte, after which four campaigns were spent in pursuit of a return to the top flight of Scottish football. That was achieved last year under Mark Warburton but the best sequence assembled by the Englishman in the Scottish Premiership fell between St Andrew’s Day and Christmas Eve, with full points taken from meetings with Aberdeen, Hearts, Hamilton and Inverness. Rangers’ current run, with four successive wins against Aberdeen home and away, Ross County at Ibrox and Hibernian at Easter Road is not, however, evidence of a tide of superior form, as Danny Wilson admitted readily yesterday. At half time in the game against Hibs, the Rangers central defender berated his team mates in the dressing room, despite the fact that they were leading 2-1. “Within those four results there have been some good performances and some really bad performances as a team,” Wilson said. “We can do much better than we did at Hibs. “I haven’t watched the game back but, from playing in it, I felt we were miles off it in terms of what we want to do and achieve as a team. However, we were able to dig the result out and that was probably something people have held against us - that when the going got tough, we went under. Wilson in action during the 2-1 win over Hibs Credit: ACTION PLUS “There’s no doubt we were well below the standards required. The words at half time were to that effect. After the game everyone was obviously delighted with the result and to be able to show that resilience at a tough place like Hibs, where we haven’t enjoyed great results in our last few encounters. We were just delighted to win and continue the run we’re on and now we know we’ll have it tough against St Johnstone.” It was against St Johnstone, albeit in Perth, that last year’s run of wins came to an end and, if Rangers need further warning of potential hazard, they need only reference Tommy Wright’s ability to coax his players into quarrying points from unpromising fixtures. Saints drew home and away with Rangers in the second half of last season and they left Celtic Park with a 1-1 draw in August. Wright is arguably the most undervalued manager in the division – his name scarcely featured in the reckoning for a successor to Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox, a hiatus that has stretched for seven weeks – and the Northern Irishman was in prickly mood on Monday when he said: “Even our own support is negative about us at the minute, but we cannot let that affect us.” Rangers are still searching for a permanent manager but have secured positive results under Graeme Murty's watch Credit: PA St Johnstone lost at home to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Wright surely spies an opportunity in Rangers’ patchy home form. In nine league games at Ibrox, Rangers have won four, drawn two and lost three. “If we want to achieve anything this season we have to fix the home form because it's not been good enough,” said Wilson. “If we had taken more points at home, we would have been closer to first, but we are not looking too far ahead because, like I say, we know where we have just been.” Rangers will be without Kenny Miller, victim of a hamstring injury, and the veteran striker might still be absent when his colleagues travel to Celtic Park on December 30. Graham Dorrans, meanwhile, has not featured in midfield since the 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock on October 25 and will be out for at least another three months after having undergone ankle surgery. “Graham is really unfortunate and I feel for him,” said Graeme Murty, Rangers’ interim manager. “On medical advice we took a conservative path with his initial rehab and that didn’t work. "I know he’s down and he’s quite low and before we talk about length of time being out I want to make sure the fellow is alright. Having been there myself, I know that coming up to Christmas it’s a brilliant time to be a footballer.  “You get loads of games and at home everything is done for you.  It’s all geared towards you performing in an extended way and you do miss it. We have to make sure Graham as a person is taken care of and then we’ll take care of the player after that.”

Danny Wilson says Rangers must improve at home to stand a chance of winning trophies

It is a measure of Rangers’ fortunes on and off the field that, if they win on Saturday at home to St Johnstone, they will have recorded five successive league victories for the first time in as many years. The last time they accomplished the feat was between July and September 2011 when, with Ally McCoist in charge, they prevailed against St Johnstone, Inverness Caley Thistle, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Celtic. Later that season, of course, came the club’s financial meltdown under Craig Whyte, after which four campaigns were spent in pursuit of a return to the top flight of Scottish football. That was achieved last year under Mark Warburton but the best sequence assembled by the Englishman in the Scottish Premiership fell between St Andrew’s Day and Christmas Eve, with full points taken from meetings with Aberdeen, Hearts, Hamilton and Inverness. Rangers’ current run, with four successive wins against Aberdeen home and away, Ross County at Ibrox and Hibernian at Easter Road is not, however, evidence of a tide of superior form, as Danny Wilson admitted readily yesterday. At half time in the game against Hibs, the Rangers central defender berated his team mates in the dressing room, despite the fact that they were leading 2-1. “Within those four results there have been some good performances and some really bad performances as a team,” Wilson said. “We can do much better than we did at Hibs. “I haven’t watched the game back but, from playing in it, I felt we were miles off it in terms of what we want to do and achieve as a team. However, we were able to dig the result out and that was probably something people have held against us - that when the going got tough, we went under. Wilson in action during the 2-1 win over Hibs Credit: ACTION PLUS “There’s no doubt we were well below the standards required. The words at half time were to that effect. After the game everyone was obviously delighted with the result and to be able to show that resilience at a tough place like Hibs, where we haven’t enjoyed great results in our last few encounters. We were just delighted to win and continue the run we’re on and now we know we’ll have it tough against St Johnstone.” It was against St Johnstone, albeit in Perth, that last year’s run of wins came to an end and, if Rangers need further warning of potential hazard, they need only reference Tommy Wright’s ability to coax his players into quarrying points from unpromising fixtures. Saints drew home and away with Rangers in the second half of last season and they left Celtic Park with a 1-1 draw in August. Wright is arguably the most undervalued manager in the division – his name scarcely featured in the reckoning for a successor to Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox, a hiatus that has stretched for seven weeks – and the Northern Irishman was in prickly mood on Monday when he said: “Even our own support is negative about us at the minute, but we cannot let that affect us.” Rangers are still searching for a permanent manager but have secured positive results under Graeme Murty's watch Credit: PA St Johnstone lost at home to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Wright surely spies an opportunity in Rangers’ patchy home form. In nine league games at Ibrox, Rangers have won four, drawn two and lost three. “If we want to achieve anything this season we have to fix the home form because it's not been good enough,” said Wilson. “If we had taken more points at home, we would have been closer to first, but we are not looking too far ahead because, like I say, we know where we have just been.” Rangers will be without Kenny Miller, victim of a hamstring injury, and the veteran striker might still be absent when his colleagues travel to Celtic Park on December 30. Graham Dorrans, meanwhile, has not featured in midfield since the 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock on October 25 and will be out for at least another three months after having undergone ankle surgery. “Graham is really unfortunate and I feel for him,” said Graeme Murty, Rangers’ interim manager. “On medical advice we took a conservative path with his initial rehab and that didn’t work. "I know he’s down and he’s quite low and before we talk about length of time being out I want to make sure the fellow is alright. Having been there myself, I know that coming up to Christmas it’s a brilliant time to be a footballer.  “You get loads of games and at home everything is done for you.  It’s all geared towards you performing in an extended way and you do miss it. We have to make sure Graham as a person is taken care of and then we’ll take care of the player after that.”

Danny Wilson says Rangers must improve at home to stand a chance of winning trophies

It is a measure of Rangers’ fortunes on and off the field that, if they win on Saturday at home to St Johnstone, they will have recorded five successive league victories for the first time in as many years. The last time they accomplished the feat was between July and September 2011 when, with Ally McCoist in charge, they prevailed against St Johnstone, Inverness Caley Thistle, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Celtic. Later that season, of course, came the club’s financial meltdown under Craig Whyte, after which four campaigns were spent in pursuit of a return to the top flight of Scottish football. That was achieved last year under Mark Warburton but the best sequence assembled by the Englishman in the Scottish Premiership fell between St Andrew’s Day and Christmas Eve, with full points taken from meetings with Aberdeen, Hearts, Hamilton and Inverness. Rangers’ current run, with four successive wins against Aberdeen home and away, Ross County at Ibrox and Hibernian at Easter Road is not, however, evidence of a tide of superior form, as Danny Wilson admitted readily yesterday. At half time in the game against Hibs, the Rangers central defender berated his team mates in the dressing room, despite the fact that they were leading 2-1. “Within those four results there have been some good performances and some really bad performances as a team,” Wilson said. “We can do much better than we did at Hibs. “I haven’t watched the game back but, from playing in it, I felt we were miles off it in terms of what we want to do and achieve as a team. However, we were able to dig the result out and that was probably something people have held against us - that when the going got tough, we went under. Wilson in action during the 2-1 win over Hibs Credit: ACTION PLUS “There’s no doubt we were well below the standards required. The words at half time were to that effect. After the game everyone was obviously delighted with the result and to be able to show that resilience at a tough place like Hibs, where we haven’t enjoyed great results in our last few encounters. We were just delighted to win and continue the run we’re on and now we know we’ll have it tough against St Johnstone.” It was against St Johnstone, albeit in Perth, that last year’s run of wins came to an end and, if Rangers need further warning of potential hazard, they need only reference Tommy Wright’s ability to coax his players into quarrying points from unpromising fixtures. Saints drew home and away with Rangers in the second half of last season and they left Celtic Park with a 1-1 draw in August. Wright is arguably the most undervalued manager in the division – his name scarcely featured in the reckoning for a successor to Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox, a hiatus that has stretched for seven weeks – and the Northern Irishman was in prickly mood on Monday when he said: “Even our own support is negative about us at the minute, but we cannot let that affect us.” Rangers are still searching for a permanent manager but have secured positive results under Graeme Murty's watch Credit: PA St Johnstone lost at home to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Wright surely spies an opportunity in Rangers’ patchy home form. In nine league games at Ibrox, Rangers have won four, drawn two and lost three. “If we want to achieve anything this season we have to fix the home form because it's not been good enough,” said Wilson. “If we had taken more points at home, we would have been closer to first, but we are not looking too far ahead because, like I say, we know where we have just been.” Rangers will be without Kenny Miller, victim of a hamstring injury, and the veteran striker might still be absent when his colleagues travel to Celtic Park on December 30. Graham Dorrans, meanwhile, has not featured in midfield since the 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock on October 25 and will be out for at least another three months after having undergone ankle surgery. “Graham is really unfortunate and I feel for him,” said Graeme Murty, Rangers’ interim manager. “On medical advice we took a conservative path with his initial rehab and that didn’t work. "I know he’s down and he’s quite low and before we talk about length of time being out I want to make sure the fellow is alright. Having been there myself, I know that coming up to Christmas it’s a brilliant time to be a footballer.  “You get loads of games and at home everything is done for you.  It’s all geared towards you performing in an extended way and you do miss it. We have to make sure Graham as a person is taken care of and then we’ll take care of the player after that.”

Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Romelu Lukaku winner lightens the mood at Old Trafford

The derby defeat on Sunday and his part in it may yet prove one of the season’s pivotal results, but Romelu Lukaku can at least say that he still delivers a winner on the days when Manchester United face less dangerous opposition. This was not exactly a roaring riposte from Jose Mourinho’s team to their Sunday humbling, but it was a victory, albeit by one goal while elsewhere yet another opponent were taken apart by the winning machine that is Manchester City. Lukaku’s 25th-minute header was the only goal on a rain-soaked, jaded night at Old Trafford, where a home crowd still stung by the City defeat struggled with a home team that tries to control games rather than dominate opponents with attacking football. Lukaku has managed just three goals since the end of September, before which he had delivered 10 for his club alone, and clearly confidence remains a problem, especially with his defensive mishaps on Sunday. His goal celebration was low-key, so much so it seemed he might not have been the man who got the final touch, but it was him, leaping behind Nathan Ake to direct his header into the goal. While he delivered his third goal in 15 games there was yet another moment in the first half when the Belgian came back to defend a corner and almost caused a catastrophe similar to the two he created in his own area against Manchester City. Eddie Howe said that he thought the United striker should have been sent off, but in the end the referee Graham Scott chose to book him only for his second serious foul on Harry Arter rather than the one that preceded it on Ake. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) It could have been very different if Bournemouth substitute Jermain Defoe had buried a chance late on in the game which forced David De Gea to make another fine save. The United goalkeeper had been equal to Bournemouth’s best efforts in the first half and he had to keep his concentration to the end, helped by a solid performance in the centre of defence from Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. At the end, United were still contemplating second place and that 11-point gap to the leaders, City. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal The Bournemouth fans stayed to applaud their team and manager, who felt his side had been unlucky not to get a point at the very least, and have not won any of their last five Premier League games. There is only a spread of six points over the entirety of the bottom 10 and Howe is adamant that his team will continue to play their passing game. “We are asking players to play the hardest way,” he said. De Gea made saves from Charlie Daniels and then Dan Gosling before United created their goal. It began with Anthony Martial, working down the left and doubling back to pick out Juan Mata. He crossed to Lukaku, lurking in the centre and able to get above Ake to win the header. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal United controlled the game better after the break, but when a team fails to take the game away from their opposition there is always the risk that an equaliser might come, and Old Trafford picked up on that tension. Howe sent on Defoe and Benik Afobe with just less than 20 minutes remaining to try to breathe some life into an attack that had made little impression after the break. Defoe’s chance rattled United and they fell back even further, playing a dangerous game. By then they were focused on defending their lead even though the home crowd encouraged them to go on the attack. Romelu Lukaku's goal separated the two teams Credit: PA Asked about City’s progress and whether they could be caught, Mourinho said simply “my players believe they can win the next match”. At this rate it is going to be a thankless pursuit unless United can change the mood that second place is all they are playing for. 9:53PM FULL TIME Job done. A well won three points for Man Utd in a performance that will leave precisely zero title rivals quivering with fear. Functional, pragmatic, defensive, solid... Mourinho knows how to win games. 9:52PM 90 mins +5 Yes they do. A free-kick on the edge of the area. Jones handballs. Daniels stands over it... Arter will lay it off to him. But the pass is awful! Daniels has to adjust and passes inside to Fraser! HE SHOOTS!  Great save, De Gea. United survive! 9:51PM 90 mins +4 That's the best passage of play all evening. Rashford and Mata move and link superbly with quick one touch passes, Mata finds himself in space on the left and crosses for Lukaku, who can't finish at the near post. They win a corner and look to run down the clock... or they did until Rashford booted the ball out for a goal kick. Bournemouth come forward. Do they have one last chance in them? 9:49PM 90 mins +2 Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Bournemouth still looking for a late equaliser. They're winning all the 50/50s and waiting for tha tmoment to pounce but United are slowing down play and time wasting where possible. Seats are emptying at Old Trafford as fans bail to go home. 9:47PM 90 mins Mata swings a corner straight into Begovic's waiting arms. Bournemouth come forward and win a corner. Fraser stands over it... and Young heads away. Poor. Arter takes his time and waits for Francis to make a run down the right... he's away! The through ball reaches and his cross is towards King at the back post. He can't win the header and United survive. 9:44PM 87 mins Defoe is annoyed at himself. He's managed to keep the ball alive by the goalline, turns back and Afobe is shouting for the ball but Defoe's lifted pass is poor. Not only does it not reach the striker, but if it had he'd have needed peak Zidane levels of control to do anything with it first time. Afobe is not Zidane. 9:42PM 84 mins United have men over! Rashford wants the pass, gets it but does too much and the ball is lost under his feet and now Bournemouth can counter! They're so quick, players sprint forward to stretch the defence. Defoe takes a fast ball on his first touch and tees up the shot at the front post but De Gea is there and lets nothing past him. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Jermain Defoe, 82 min) Young comes on for Shaw. 9:39PM 81 mins Bournemouth in control of possession for now, United looking to counter-attack. Afobe has been heavily involved since coming on and is making some nice runs across the defence. Lewis Cook wins a corner... and it's headed away then headed over by Ake from the follow up. 9:36PM 78 mins Jones has to head away a chipped pass towards Afobe at the near post and it's a corner to Bournemouth. Jones is fouled while clearing that and Man Utd win the free-kick.    9:32PM 75 mins RASHFOOOOOOORRRRRDDDDDD! OOOCHA! Post: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Marcus Rashford, 72 min) That is so unlucky not to be 2-0. He lets fly with turbo rocket from 25 yards almost out of nothing and it goes like a firework toward goal, bouncing for miles off the crossbar.  Bournemouth come forward now, Fraser goes for the one-two with Defoe but Defoe uses that to set up the shot and doesn't get behind the effort as well as he'd like.  9:29PM 72 mins Man Utd players keep receiving the ball, taking forever to pick a pass and then shouting at teammates for not moving into space to help the move. They're so static in possession. Wilson comes off for Afobe, Stanislas off for Defoe. That will probably be a switch to 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 to push for the final 15 minutes or so. 9:27PM 69 mins Bournemouth win a corner. United clear and McTominay sprints to join the attack. He drives with the ball, looks up and hits an early low pass to Rashford. It's so close to teeing him up for a shot at goal but he passes inside to Lingard, who trips over himself. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   9:24PM 67 mins Shaw is sold short by Jones, Stanislas slides in and his studs are high. That's really dangerous... and Shaw - understandably after his history - pulls out of the 50/50. It's just as well he did, that could have been really nasty. There are probably some Vietnam style flashbacks going through his mind right now, let's hope he hasn't been affected by it. Martial has been taken off. Rashford on. 9:21PM 64 mins Lingard is chopped down as United surge forwards on the counter-attack but the referee lets play continue and Martial's attempted pass to Lukaku is easily blocked. I suspect Martial might be taken off soon... Shaw tries an early cross from really deep which curls all the way round to Lukaku. He has to turn back with it and Bournemouth win the ball. 9:19PM 61 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  "I came from India to watch United's game" says the banner. Let's hope it was worth it! I've travelled to Glasgow from Aberdeen - a slightly shorter distance - several times to watch matches and can assure you it wasn't worth it. At all.  And the score should be 2-0. What a miss by Martial! How has he missed that?! He's convinced Daniels got a touch or deflected that somehow. Lukaku is played in by Martial, tries to shoot but Begovic saves and then Martial has an open goal, goes for the side foot volley and shins it way over.  Pass: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Anthony Martial, 60 min)   9:16PM 58 mins McTominay sends a dangerous cross into the box as Lukaku battles to keep the ball alive but Begovic catches well. McTominay has been solid in midfield this evening, he doesn't look out of place at all.    9:13PM 55 mins United are running out of ideas in attack here. It's too slow and there's not enough movement in the final third, with everyone just standing still waiting for a pass. They pass down the wing and hope that player beats his man to get a cross away but it's so easy to stop and Bournemouth are just waiting to win the ball back. They too slow down in the final third but aren't scared to get a shot away. Fraser finds space 25 yards out and shoots low into De Gea. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Ryan Fraser, 54 min)   9:10PM 52 mins Credit: AFP United passing well around the Bournemouth but being forced back every time.  9:08PM 51 mins United's shape is odd. They have four defenders when defending, but that becomes a three at times and in attack a two or three. You can see it here, like a lopsided back three. Average touch positions (49 min) Bournemouth are trying to use space in behind Valencia, who often joins attacks but Fraser hasn't quite managed to cause damage yet. Martial finds space on the left, goes around Smith but slips as he gets to the byline. Goal kick. 9:06PM 48 mins The crowd still sounds like 70,000 people chatting, kind of restless. United take their time with build-up showing no great urgency or want to up the tempo. More of the same then, it turns out. 9:03PM KICK-OFF 2 It's not that the first half was bad, or boring, it's just that Man Utd are so thoroughly unexciting to watch at times. They get the job done, defend well, score the occasional goal... but there's very little flair to them. Let's see if we get a bit more energy and dynamism in this half from them. 8:54PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time)  Look at Lukaku - the number nine. Why is he always on the right? I wonder whether this is deliberate by Mourinho but suspect it's the striker desperately trying to get involved with the game. 8:48PM HALF TIME The tame atmosphere in Old Trafford has been a suitable backdrop for this one. Both teams have enjoyed spells of dominance but United are the only ones to have made chances count. A decent, if largely uneventful game of football. 8:48PM 45 mins +2 Bournemouth attack again. Fraser is played in down the left, he has space, takes on Valencia, De Gea steps across thinking he's going to cross and Fraser shoots! De Gea adjusts and saves.  Clearance: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (David de Gea, 45 + 2 min)   8:43PM 44 mins Shaw steps out and intercepts in Bournemouth's half and United have men over here! Martial's pass doesn't find Lingard on the left and Bournemouth clear but Valencia has the ball on the right now, gives it to Mata, who turns his man and chips over the top again for Martial. His first touch is OK but he loses possession. Lukaku is booked for a foul on Arter, who is down receiving treatment again. 8:41PM 41 mins Another cross from the left is aimed at Lukaku but this time he can't reach the ball. Valencia takes it on the right, fires a low pass back into the area between defenders and Lukaku can't react quickly enough and is offside anyway.  8:38PM 38 mins Credit: PA  It's quite wet at Old Trafford.  8:35PM 36 mins Bournemouth are really good at absorbing play and working the ball forward. They do just that, with Wilson running into the channel beyond Jones to win the ball. King and Stanislas join in, Fraser arrives on the left... and it's a corner. And Francis should score! Ooooohhhhhhh he's made a mess of that. The ball drops to him about 15 yards out and he swings with his left foot but gets it wrong, slicing the ball way over the bar. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   8:32PM 33 mins Oooooh! Another decent opportunity for Bournemouth. They string some passes together, Smith goes on the overlap by the United box and Stanislas has a shot. De Gea saves and Smith tries to tap in the rebound from a narrow angle but was offside anyway. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Junior Stanislas, 30 min)   8:29PM 30 mins Bournemouth are annoyed about that goal because Smith went down holding his face in the build-up. There's a bit of friction now, despite all the rain, as Gosling goes in hard on Jones (but does pull out of the tackle to be fair) and sends him flying. Yellow card. Shaw does really well to get in behind the full-back, comes inside and wins a corner with his low cross.  8:27PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL But that's how Mourinho teams roll! None of the play, hardly any of the chances, and they have the lead. Bournemouth are punished. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) Lukaku holds off Ake, Mata chips it to the back post and the striker easily outjumps the defender to head past the goalkeeper.  8:25PM 25 mins Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal What a challenge by Arter! That's brilliant. Lingard carries the ball at pace towards the penalty area, has it under control as he starts to line up a shot and Arter slides in from behind to win it back.  8:24PM 24 mins Another shot for Bournemouth! Another decent De Gea save! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Dan Gosling, 23 min) The away team are all over United here, or they are until Matic wins a free-kick in his own area. Fraser is causing problems on that left wing. 8:22PM 21 mins Lukaku applauds Martial for a really smart pass, cutting inside onto his right and chipping into the area. It's just too high for Lukaku to reach and goes behind for goal kick.  King has a chance to run at Jones! It's a direct pass forward to Wilson, he dummies it and allows King through. Jones manages to get the block in. Bournemouth win a corner. United are defending these well though and Bournemouth have to work to win the second ball. Daniels glides inside, nobody picks him up and he shoots from 20 yards! De Gea parries it behind for a corner! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Charlie Daniels, 21 min)   8:18PM 18 mins Bournemouth win a corner, get the clearance back out wide and send a cross from deep to the front post. Jones gets in its way, the second corner sets up Stanislas for a 20 yard thunderbolt... but he's closed down.  Lukaku catches Ake with a late slide tackle as the defender plays out from the back. He's lucky not to be booked there. 8:15PM 15 mins Lukaku holds off a tackle and turns inside but his pass is cleared away. United controlling possession here but haven't been able to get into the area apart from that early bicycle kick. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Lingard is off balance as he pokes a pass forward and he's so close to putting Lukaku in on goal! Ake manages to stick out a leg to stop it.  8:12PM 12 mins Valencia recovers as Fraser roams. Bournemouth's counter-attack is filled with quick players, United have to be really careful in midfield. Superb defending from Smalling as he holds off Wilson to make sure he can't be beaten for pace, then calmly passes forward. Lukaku keeps wandering over to the right wing rather than staying in the middle, with Mata running in behind. 8:09PM 9 mins United press high in the Bournemouth half to win it back but have to go back. Martial does superbly to hold two defenders off and wins a free-kick wide left but Bournemouth deal with it well and Wilson is nearly put away on the counter-attack as they work it forwards. Bournemouth are tightly sprung here, waiting to snap at United if they take their eyes off the ball. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   8:06PM 6 mins Patient build-up from United as Bournemouth look to fill the space in their own half and make things difficult. It's a decent turn of pace from Wilson and he might be away from the last man here! Wilson drives at goal, gets to the box and has to turn back. The cross afterwards misses everyone and goes behind for a goal kick. 8:02PM 3 mins There are still quite a few empty seats in Old Trafford this evening, which judging by the weather seems fair, and United are on the attack early on. Lingard tries a bicycle kick inside the 18 yard box but nearly puts it out for a throw-in. 8:00PM KICK-OFF Here we go! Bournemouth in Premier League light blue (slightly neon) get the game started. 7:55PM Teams warming up Credit: REUTERS Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:46PM No Pogba Why are Man Utd so much worse without Paul Pogba? Pogba is missing his second of three games for suspension and without the Frenchman in midfield, United lack real attacking quality in the centre of the park. I did some analysis of it last week, which you can read above. 7:35PM Howe's pre-match words �� “We go into every game looking to win and that’s no different here tonight. I want the same spirit as we showed here last season and we want everyone at 100 per cent.”#afcb �� pic.twitter.com/n7u7L9bnEY— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   7:32PM Milkgate WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? How the Manchester derby tunnel row played out timeline   7:23PM Jose Mourinho says "You lose a match, the best thing is always to play so it's good to have a match. "Ah but he's ready. He played Champions League, the cup against Swansea which is like Premier League, he's training with us all season, he's been on the bench nine games in a row getting his experience. "I think nobody would expect Bournemouth to be top of the league, they are in a safe position so I think they are doing a very positive season. We know they are capable of it, can defend well with two lines of four but they can counter-attack with fast options. It's a good match." 7:15PM Angel Gomes signs professional contract Credit: GETTY IMAGES  That's Nicky Butt looking all proud as he helps Angel Gomes, the very talented English midfielder, sign his first professional contract for Man Utd. He's already played for the first team and at 17-years-old is eligible to agree terms. You might not hear much about him until he's a bit older but still, perhaps this will be an important photograph one day. 7:06PM Starting lineups Man Utd Four changes for Mourinho. Luke Shaw gets his first Prmeier League appearance of the season. Tonight's #MUFC line-up to face Bournemouth... �� pic.twitter.com/xSPLdJTllI— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 13, 2017  Bournemouth �� Here's how we line up against @ManUtd this evening... #afcb �� pic.twitter.com/rhRDirIN96— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   6:40PM Good evening Welcome! It's our liveblog for Man Utd vs Bournemouth, the first game since milk was thrown and spilt in that tumultuous Manchester derby. We can't talk about that though... that would be disrespectful to Bournemouth (Jose Mourinho's opinion, not mine) and so that is who we must discuss.  United, second in the league, could really do with bouncing back tonight - and not in a Partridge kind of way. Man City have a lead of 11 points and could make that 14 if United slip up but Bournemouth are not going to be easy to turnover. Eddie Howe's side is 14th in the league just three points above relegation. How will the two teams lineup? Credit: REUTERS We won't know for sure until the teams are announced but it should be expected that both make changes from their last match to ensure stamina levels are tip top, though my fellow Football Manager enjoyers might agree that a few 92 per cents will be alright on the night.  Having enjoyed (that is not the right word) so little possession against Man City, United may come out with a different gameplan against Bournemouth. There's no need to sit back and counter, since that is what Bournemouth will be doing, but without Paul Pogba, United lack that free flowing link between defence and attack and tend to come unstuck.  Mourinho knows how to win games and trophies, whatever he comes up with for this one has to work because that gap at the top, and the noise from various pundits and fans suggesting that United's style of play is boring, is getting bigger and louder respectively.  Teams should be with us at 7pm. Follow the action with us here if you can't find it on TV (it's not on in the UK) and if you can, let us provide some instant analysis in the form of words and our lovely Roboblogger. You can send me things on Twitter @jj_bull but I quite like to avoid that place nowadays, so an old-fashioned email works too: joseph.bull@telegraph.co.uk.

Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Romelu Lukaku winner lightens the mood at Old Trafford

The derby defeat on Sunday and his part in it may yet prove one of the season’s pivotal results, but Romelu Lukaku can at least say that he still delivers a winner on the days when Manchester United face less dangerous opposition. This was not exactly a roaring riposte from Jose Mourinho’s team to their Sunday humbling, but it was a victory, albeit by one goal while elsewhere yet another opponent were taken apart by the winning machine that is Manchester City. Lukaku’s 25th-minute header was the only goal on a rain-soaked, jaded night at Old Trafford, where a home crowd still stung by the City defeat struggled with a home team that tries to control games rather than dominate opponents with attacking football. Lukaku has managed just three goals since the end of September, before which he had delivered 10 for his club alone, and clearly confidence remains a problem, especially with his defensive mishaps on Sunday. His goal celebration was low-key, so much so it seemed he might not have been the man who got the final touch, but it was him, leaping behind Nathan Ake to direct his header into the goal. While he delivered his third goal in 15 games there was yet another moment in the first half when the Belgian came back to defend a corner and almost caused a catastrophe similar to the two he created in his own area against Manchester City. Eddie Howe said that he thought the United striker should have been sent off, but in the end the referee Graham Scott chose to book him only for his second serious foul on Harry Arter rather than the one that preceded it on Ake. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) It could have been very different if Bournemouth substitute Jermain Defoe had buried a chance late on in the game which forced David De Gea to make another fine save. The United goalkeeper had been equal to Bournemouth’s best efforts in the first half and he had to keep his concentration to the end, helped by a solid performance in the centre of defence from Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. At the end, United were still contemplating second place and that 11-point gap to the leaders, City. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal The Bournemouth fans stayed to applaud their team and manager, who felt his side had been unlucky not to get a point at the very least, and have not won any of their last five Premier League games. There is only a spread of six points over the entirety of the bottom 10 and Howe is adamant that his team will continue to play their passing game. “We are asking players to play the hardest way,” he said. De Gea made saves from Charlie Daniels and then Dan Gosling before United created their goal. It began with Anthony Martial, working down the left and doubling back to pick out Juan Mata. He crossed to Lukaku, lurking in the centre and able to get above Ake to win the header. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal United controlled the game better after the break, but when a team fails to take the game away from their opposition there is always the risk that an equaliser might come, and Old Trafford picked up on that tension. Howe sent on Defoe and Benik Afobe with just less than 20 minutes remaining to try to breathe some life into an attack that had made little impression after the break. Defoe’s chance rattled United and they fell back even further, playing a dangerous game. By then they were focused on defending their lead even though the home crowd encouraged them to go on the attack. Romelu Lukaku's goal separated the two teams Credit: PA Asked about City’s progress and whether they could be caught, Mourinho said simply “my players believe they can win the next match”. At this rate it is going to be a thankless pursuit unless United can change the mood that second place is all they are playing for. 9:53PM FULL TIME Job done. A well won three points for Man Utd in a performance that will leave precisely zero title rivals quivering with fear. Functional, pragmatic, defensive, solid... Mourinho knows how to win games. 9:52PM 90 mins +5 Yes they do. A free-kick on the edge of the area. Jones handballs. Daniels stands over it... Arter will lay it off to him. But the pass is awful! Daniels has to adjust and passes inside to Fraser! HE SHOOTS!  Great save, De Gea. United survive! 9:51PM 90 mins +4 That's the best passage of play all evening. Rashford and Mata move and link superbly with quick one touch passes, Mata finds himself in space on the left and crosses for Lukaku, who can't finish at the near post. They win a corner and look to run down the clock... or they did until Rashford booted the ball out for a goal kick. Bournemouth come forward. Do they have one last chance in them? 9:49PM 90 mins +2 Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Bournemouth still looking for a late equaliser. They're winning all the 50/50s and waiting for tha tmoment to pounce but United are slowing down play and time wasting where possible. Seats are emptying at Old Trafford as fans bail to go home. 9:47PM 90 mins Mata swings a corner straight into Begovic's waiting arms. Bournemouth come forward and win a corner. Fraser stands over it... and Young heads away. Poor. Arter takes his time and waits for Francis to make a run down the right... he's away! The through ball reaches and his cross is towards King at the back post. He can't win the header and United survive. 9:44PM 87 mins Defoe is annoyed at himself. He's managed to keep the ball alive by the goalline, turns back and Afobe is shouting for the ball but Defoe's lifted pass is poor. Not only does it not reach the striker, but if it had he'd have needed peak Zidane levels of control to do anything with it first time. Afobe is not Zidane. 9:42PM 84 mins United have men over! Rashford wants the pass, gets it but does too much and the ball is lost under his feet and now Bournemouth can counter! They're so quick, players sprint forward to stretch the defence. Defoe takes a fast ball on his first touch and tees up the shot at the front post but De Gea is there and lets nothing past him. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Jermain Defoe, 82 min) Young comes on for Shaw. 9:39PM 81 mins Bournemouth in control of possession for now, United looking to counter-attack. Afobe has been heavily involved since coming on and is making some nice runs across the defence. Lewis Cook wins a corner... and it's headed away then headed over by Ake from the follow up. 9:36PM 78 mins Jones has to head away a chipped pass towards Afobe at the near post and it's a corner to Bournemouth. Jones is fouled while clearing that and Man Utd win the free-kick.    9:32PM 75 mins RASHFOOOOOOORRRRRDDDDDD! OOOCHA! Post: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Marcus Rashford, 72 min) That is so unlucky not to be 2-0. He lets fly with turbo rocket from 25 yards almost out of nothing and it goes like a firework toward goal, bouncing for miles off the crossbar.  Bournemouth come forward now, Fraser goes for the one-two with Defoe but Defoe uses that to set up the shot and doesn't get behind the effort as well as he'd like.  9:29PM 72 mins Man Utd players keep receiving the ball, taking forever to pick a pass and then shouting at teammates for not moving into space to help the move. They're so static in possession. Wilson comes off for Afobe, Stanislas off for Defoe. That will probably be a switch to 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 to push for the final 15 minutes or so. 9:27PM 69 mins Bournemouth win a corner. United clear and McTominay sprints to join the attack. He drives with the ball, looks up and hits an early low pass to Rashford. It's so close to teeing him up for a shot at goal but he passes inside to Lingard, who trips over himself. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   9:24PM 67 mins Shaw is sold short by Jones, Stanislas slides in and his studs are high. That's really dangerous... and Shaw - understandably after his history - pulls out of the 50/50. It's just as well he did, that could have been really nasty. There are probably some Vietnam style flashbacks going through his mind right now, let's hope he hasn't been affected by it. Martial has been taken off. Rashford on. 9:21PM 64 mins Lingard is chopped down as United surge forwards on the counter-attack but the referee lets play continue and Martial's attempted pass to Lukaku is easily blocked. I suspect Martial might be taken off soon... Shaw tries an early cross from really deep which curls all the way round to Lukaku. He has to turn back with it and Bournemouth win the ball. 9:19PM 61 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  "I came from India to watch United's game" says the banner. Let's hope it was worth it! I've travelled to Glasgow from Aberdeen - a slightly shorter distance - several times to watch matches and can assure you it wasn't worth it. At all.  And the score should be 2-0. What a miss by Martial! How has he missed that?! He's convinced Daniels got a touch or deflected that somehow. Lukaku is played in by Martial, tries to shoot but Begovic saves and then Martial has an open goal, goes for the side foot volley and shins it way over.  Pass: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Anthony Martial, 60 min)   9:16PM 58 mins McTominay sends a dangerous cross into the box as Lukaku battles to keep the ball alive but Begovic catches well. McTominay has been solid in midfield this evening, he doesn't look out of place at all.    9:13PM 55 mins United are running out of ideas in attack here. It's too slow and there's not enough movement in the final third, with everyone just standing still waiting for a pass. They pass down the wing and hope that player beats his man to get a cross away but it's so easy to stop and Bournemouth are just waiting to win the ball back. They too slow down in the final third but aren't scared to get a shot away. Fraser finds space 25 yards out and shoots low into De Gea. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Ryan Fraser, 54 min)   9:10PM 52 mins Credit: AFP United passing well around the Bournemouth but being forced back every time.  9:08PM 51 mins United's shape is odd. They have four defenders when defending, but that becomes a three at times and in attack a two or three. You can see it here, like a lopsided back three. Average touch positions (49 min) Bournemouth are trying to use space in behind Valencia, who often joins attacks but Fraser hasn't quite managed to cause damage yet. Martial finds space on the left, goes around Smith but slips as he gets to the byline. Goal kick. 9:06PM 48 mins The crowd still sounds like 70,000 people chatting, kind of restless. United take their time with build-up showing no great urgency or want to up the tempo. More of the same then, it turns out. 9:03PM KICK-OFF 2 It's not that the first half was bad, or boring, it's just that Man Utd are so thoroughly unexciting to watch at times. They get the job done, defend well, score the occasional goal... but there's very little flair to them. Let's see if we get a bit more energy and dynamism in this half from them. 8:54PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time)  Look at Lukaku - the number nine. Why is he always on the right? I wonder whether this is deliberate by Mourinho but suspect it's the striker desperately trying to get involved with the game. 8:48PM HALF TIME The tame atmosphere in Old Trafford has been a suitable backdrop for this one. Both teams have enjoyed spells of dominance but United are the only ones to have made chances count. A decent, if largely uneventful game of football. 8:48PM 45 mins +2 Bournemouth attack again. Fraser is played in down the left, he has space, takes on Valencia, De Gea steps across thinking he's going to cross and Fraser shoots! De Gea adjusts and saves.  Clearance: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (David de Gea, 45 + 2 min)   8:43PM 44 mins Shaw steps out and intercepts in Bournemouth's half and United have men over here! Martial's pass doesn't find Lingard on the left and Bournemouth clear but Valencia has the ball on the right now, gives it to Mata, who turns his man and chips over the top again for Martial. His first touch is OK but he loses possession. Lukaku is booked for a foul on Arter, who is down receiving treatment again. 8:41PM 41 mins Another cross from the left is aimed at Lukaku but this time he can't reach the ball. Valencia takes it on the right, fires a low pass back into the area between defenders and Lukaku can't react quickly enough and is offside anyway.  8:38PM 38 mins Credit: PA  It's quite wet at Old Trafford.  8:35PM 36 mins Bournemouth are really good at absorbing play and working the ball forward. They do just that, with Wilson running into the channel beyond Jones to win the ball. King and Stanislas join in, Fraser arrives on the left... and it's a corner. And Francis should score! Ooooohhhhhhh he's made a mess of that. The ball drops to him about 15 yards out and he swings with his left foot but gets it wrong, slicing the ball way over the bar. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   8:32PM 33 mins Oooooh! Another decent opportunity for Bournemouth. They string some passes together, Smith goes on the overlap by the United box and Stanislas has a shot. De Gea saves and Smith tries to tap in the rebound from a narrow angle but was offside anyway. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Junior Stanislas, 30 min)   8:29PM 30 mins Bournemouth are annoyed about that goal because Smith went down holding his face in the build-up. There's a bit of friction now, despite all the rain, as Gosling goes in hard on Jones (but does pull out of the tackle to be fair) and sends him flying. Yellow card. Shaw does really well to get in behind the full-back, comes inside and wins a corner with his low cross.  8:27PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL But that's how Mourinho teams roll! None of the play, hardly any of the chances, and they have the lead. Bournemouth are punished. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) Lukaku holds off Ake, Mata chips it to the back post and the striker easily outjumps the defender to head past the goalkeeper.  8:25PM 25 mins Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal What a challenge by Arter! That's brilliant. Lingard carries the ball at pace towards the penalty area, has it under control as he starts to line up a shot and Arter slides in from behind to win it back.  8:24PM 24 mins Another shot for Bournemouth! Another decent De Gea save! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Dan Gosling, 23 min) The away team are all over United here, or they are until Matic wins a free-kick in his own area. Fraser is causing problems on that left wing. 8:22PM 21 mins Lukaku applauds Martial for a really smart pass, cutting inside onto his right and chipping into the area. It's just too high for Lukaku to reach and goes behind for goal kick.  King has a chance to run at Jones! It's a direct pass forward to Wilson, he dummies it and allows King through. Jones manages to get the block in. Bournemouth win a corner. United are defending these well though and Bournemouth have to work to win the second ball. Daniels glides inside, nobody picks him up and he shoots from 20 yards! De Gea parries it behind for a corner! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Charlie Daniels, 21 min)   8:18PM 18 mins Bournemouth win a corner, get the clearance back out wide and send a cross from deep to the front post. Jones gets in its way, the second corner sets up Stanislas for a 20 yard thunderbolt... but he's closed down.  Lukaku catches Ake with a late slide tackle as the defender plays out from the back. He's lucky not to be booked there. 8:15PM 15 mins Lukaku holds off a tackle and turns inside but his pass is cleared away. United controlling possession here but haven't been able to get into the area apart from that early bicycle kick. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Lingard is off balance as he pokes a pass forward and he's so close to putting Lukaku in on goal! Ake manages to stick out a leg to stop it.  8:12PM 12 mins Valencia recovers as Fraser roams. Bournemouth's counter-attack is filled with quick players, United have to be really careful in midfield. Superb defending from Smalling as he holds off Wilson to make sure he can't be beaten for pace, then calmly passes forward. Lukaku keeps wandering over to the right wing rather than staying in the middle, with Mata running in behind. 8:09PM 9 mins United press high in the Bournemouth half to win it back but have to go back. Martial does superbly to hold two defenders off and wins a free-kick wide left but Bournemouth deal with it well and Wilson is nearly put away on the counter-attack as they work it forwards. Bournemouth are tightly sprung here, waiting to snap at United if they take their eyes off the ball. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   8:06PM 6 mins Patient build-up from United as Bournemouth look to fill the space in their own half and make things difficult. It's a decent turn of pace from Wilson and he might be away from the last man here! Wilson drives at goal, gets to the box and has to turn back. The cross afterwards misses everyone and goes behind for a goal kick. 8:02PM 3 mins There are still quite a few empty seats in Old Trafford this evening, which judging by the weather seems fair, and United are on the attack early on. Lingard tries a bicycle kick inside the 18 yard box but nearly puts it out for a throw-in. 8:00PM KICK-OFF Here we go! Bournemouth in Premier League light blue (slightly neon) get the game started. 7:55PM Teams warming up Credit: REUTERS Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:46PM No Pogba Why are Man Utd so much worse without Paul Pogba? Pogba is missing his second of three games for suspension and without the Frenchman in midfield, United lack real attacking quality in the centre of the park. I did some analysis of it last week, which you can read above. 7:35PM Howe's pre-match words �� “We go into every game looking to win and that’s no different here tonight. I want the same spirit as we showed here last season and we want everyone at 100 per cent.”#afcb �� pic.twitter.com/n7u7L9bnEY— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   7:32PM Milkgate WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? How the Manchester derby tunnel row played out timeline   7:23PM Jose Mourinho says "You lose a match, the best thing is always to play so it's good to have a match. "Ah but he's ready. He played Champions League, the cup against Swansea which is like Premier League, he's training with us all season, he's been on the bench nine games in a row getting his experience. "I think nobody would expect Bournemouth to be top of the league, they are in a safe position so I think they are doing a very positive season. We know they are capable of it, can defend well with two lines of four but they can counter-attack with fast options. It's a good match." 7:15PM Angel Gomes signs professional contract Credit: GETTY IMAGES  That's Nicky Butt looking all proud as he helps Angel Gomes, the very talented English midfielder, sign his first professional contract for Man Utd. He's already played for the first team and at 17-years-old is eligible to agree terms. You might not hear much about him until he's a bit older but still, perhaps this will be an important photograph one day. 7:06PM Starting lineups Man Utd Four changes for Mourinho. Luke Shaw gets his first Prmeier League appearance of the season. Tonight's #MUFC line-up to face Bournemouth... �� pic.twitter.com/xSPLdJTllI— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 13, 2017  Bournemouth �� Here's how we line up against @ManUtd this evening... #afcb �� pic.twitter.com/rhRDirIN96— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   6:40PM Good evening Welcome! It's our liveblog for Man Utd vs Bournemouth, the first game since milk was thrown and spilt in that tumultuous Manchester derby. We can't talk about that though... that would be disrespectful to Bournemouth (Jose Mourinho's opinion, not mine) and so that is who we must discuss.  United, second in the league, could really do with bouncing back tonight - and not in a Partridge kind of way. Man City have a lead of 11 points and could make that 14 if United slip up but Bournemouth are not going to be easy to turnover. Eddie Howe's side is 14th in the league just three points above relegation. How will the two teams lineup? Credit: REUTERS We won't know for sure until the teams are announced but it should be expected that both make changes from their last match to ensure stamina levels are tip top, though my fellow Football Manager enjoyers might agree that a few 92 per cents will be alright on the night.  Having enjoyed (that is not the right word) so little possession against Man City, United may come out with a different gameplan against Bournemouth. There's no need to sit back and counter, since that is what Bournemouth will be doing, but without Paul Pogba, United lack that free flowing link between defence and attack and tend to come unstuck.  Mourinho knows how to win games and trophies, whatever he comes up with for this one has to work because that gap at the top, and the noise from various pundits and fans suggesting that United's style of play is boring, is getting bigger and louder respectively.  Teams should be with us at 7pm. Follow the action with us here if you can't find it on TV (it's not on in the UK) and if you can, let us provide some instant analysis in the form of words and our lovely Roboblogger. You can send me things on Twitter @jj_bull but I quite like to avoid that place nowadays, so an old-fashioned email works too: joseph.bull@telegraph.co.uk.

Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Romelu Lukaku winner lightens the mood at Old Trafford

The derby defeat on Sunday and his part in it may yet prove one of the season’s pivotal results, but Romelu Lukaku can at least say that he still delivers a winner on the days when Manchester United face less dangerous opposition. This was not exactly a roaring riposte from Jose Mourinho’s team to their Sunday humbling, but it was a victory, albeit by one goal while elsewhere yet another opponent were taken apart by the winning machine that is Manchester City. Lukaku’s 25th-minute header was the only goal on a rain-soaked, jaded night at Old Trafford, where a home crowd still stung by the City defeat struggled with a home team that tries to control games rather than dominate opponents with attacking football. Lukaku has managed just three goals since the end of September, before which he had delivered 10 for his club alone, and clearly confidence remains a problem, especially with his defensive mishaps on Sunday. His goal celebration was low-key, so much so it seemed he might not have been the man who got the final touch, but it was him, leaping behind Nathan Ake to direct his header into the goal. While he delivered his third goal in 15 games there was yet another moment in the first half when the Belgian came back to defend a corner and almost caused a catastrophe similar to the two he created in his own area against Manchester City. Eddie Howe said that he thought the United striker should have been sent off, but in the end the referee Graham Scott chose to book him only for his second serious foul on Harry Arter rather than the one that preceded it on Ake. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) It could have been very different if Bournemouth substitute Jermain Defoe had buried a chance late on in the game which forced David De Gea to make another fine save. The United goalkeeper had been equal to Bournemouth’s best efforts in the first half and he had to keep his concentration to the end, helped by a solid performance in the centre of defence from Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. At the end, United were still contemplating second place and that 11-point gap to the leaders, City. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal The Bournemouth fans stayed to applaud their team and manager, who felt his side had been unlucky not to get a point at the very least, and have not won any of their last five Premier League games. There is only a spread of six points over the entirety of the bottom 10 and Howe is adamant that his team will continue to play their passing game. “We are asking players to play the hardest way,” he said. De Gea made saves from Charlie Daniels and then Dan Gosling before United created their goal. It began with Anthony Martial, working down the left and doubling back to pick out Juan Mata. He crossed to Lukaku, lurking in the centre and able to get above Ake to win the header. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal United controlled the game better after the break, but when a team fails to take the game away from their opposition there is always the risk that an equaliser might come, and Old Trafford picked up on that tension. Howe sent on Defoe and Benik Afobe with just less than 20 minutes remaining to try to breathe some life into an attack that had made little impression after the break. Defoe’s chance rattled United and they fell back even further, playing a dangerous game. By then they were focused on defending their lead even though the home crowd encouraged them to go on the attack. Romelu Lukaku's goal separated the two teams Credit: PA Asked about City’s progress and whether they could be caught, Mourinho said simply “my players believe they can win the next match”. At this rate it is going to be a thankless pursuit unless United can change the mood that second place is all they are playing for. 9:53PM FULL TIME Job done. A well won three points for Man Utd in a performance that will leave precisely zero title rivals quivering with fear. Functional, pragmatic, defensive, solid... Mourinho knows how to win games. 9:52PM 90 mins +5 Yes they do. A free-kick on the edge of the area. Jones handballs. Daniels stands over it... Arter will lay it off to him. But the pass is awful! Daniels has to adjust and passes inside to Fraser! HE SHOOTS!  Great save, De Gea. United survive! 9:51PM 90 mins +4 That's the best passage of play all evening. Rashford and Mata move and link superbly with quick one touch passes, Mata finds himself in space on the left and crosses for Lukaku, who can't finish at the near post. They win a corner and look to run down the clock... or they did until Rashford booted the ball out for a goal kick. Bournemouth come forward. Do they have one last chance in them? 9:49PM 90 mins +2 Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Bournemouth still looking for a late equaliser. They're winning all the 50/50s and waiting for tha tmoment to pounce but United are slowing down play and time wasting where possible. Seats are emptying at Old Trafford as fans bail to go home. 9:47PM 90 mins Mata swings a corner straight into Begovic's waiting arms. Bournemouth come forward and win a corner. Fraser stands over it... and Young heads away. Poor. Arter takes his time and waits for Francis to make a run down the right... he's away! The through ball reaches and his cross is towards King at the back post. He can't win the header and United survive. 9:44PM 87 mins Defoe is annoyed at himself. He's managed to keep the ball alive by the goalline, turns back and Afobe is shouting for the ball but Defoe's lifted pass is poor. Not only does it not reach the striker, but if it had he'd have needed peak Zidane levels of control to do anything with it first time. Afobe is not Zidane. 9:42PM 84 mins United have men over! Rashford wants the pass, gets it but does too much and the ball is lost under his feet and now Bournemouth can counter! They're so quick, players sprint forward to stretch the defence. Defoe takes a fast ball on his first touch and tees up the shot at the front post but De Gea is there and lets nothing past him. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Jermain Defoe, 82 min) Young comes on for Shaw. 9:39PM 81 mins Bournemouth in control of possession for now, United looking to counter-attack. Afobe has been heavily involved since coming on and is making some nice runs across the defence. Lewis Cook wins a corner... and it's headed away then headed over by Ake from the follow up. 9:36PM 78 mins Jones has to head away a chipped pass towards Afobe at the near post and it's a corner to Bournemouth. Jones is fouled while clearing that and Man Utd win the free-kick.    9:32PM 75 mins RASHFOOOOOOORRRRRDDDDDD! OOOCHA! Post: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Marcus Rashford, 72 min) That is so unlucky not to be 2-0. He lets fly with turbo rocket from 25 yards almost out of nothing and it goes like a firework toward goal, bouncing for miles off the crossbar.  Bournemouth come forward now, Fraser goes for the one-two with Defoe but Defoe uses that to set up the shot and doesn't get behind the effort as well as he'd like.  9:29PM 72 mins Man Utd players keep receiving the ball, taking forever to pick a pass and then shouting at teammates for not moving into space to help the move. They're so static in possession. Wilson comes off for Afobe, Stanislas off for Defoe. That will probably be a switch to 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 to push for the final 15 minutes or so. 9:27PM 69 mins Bournemouth win a corner. United clear and McTominay sprints to join the attack. He drives with the ball, looks up and hits an early low pass to Rashford. It's so close to teeing him up for a shot at goal but he passes inside to Lingard, who trips over himself. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   9:24PM 67 mins Shaw is sold short by Jones, Stanislas slides in and his studs are high. That's really dangerous... and Shaw - understandably after his history - pulls out of the 50/50. It's just as well he did, that could have been really nasty. There are probably some Vietnam style flashbacks going through his mind right now, let's hope he hasn't been affected by it. Martial has been taken off. Rashford on. 9:21PM 64 mins Lingard is chopped down as United surge forwards on the counter-attack but the referee lets play continue and Martial's attempted pass to Lukaku is easily blocked. I suspect Martial might be taken off soon... Shaw tries an early cross from really deep which curls all the way round to Lukaku. He has to turn back with it and Bournemouth win the ball. 9:19PM 61 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  "I came from India to watch United's game" says the banner. Let's hope it was worth it! I've travelled to Glasgow from Aberdeen - a slightly shorter distance - several times to watch matches and can assure you it wasn't worth it. At all.  And the score should be 2-0. What a miss by Martial! How has he missed that?! He's convinced Daniels got a touch or deflected that somehow. Lukaku is played in by Martial, tries to shoot but Begovic saves and then Martial has an open goal, goes for the side foot volley and shins it way over.  Pass: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Anthony Martial, 60 min)   9:16PM 58 mins McTominay sends a dangerous cross into the box as Lukaku battles to keep the ball alive but Begovic catches well. McTominay has been solid in midfield this evening, he doesn't look out of place at all.    9:13PM 55 mins United are running out of ideas in attack here. It's too slow and there's not enough movement in the final third, with everyone just standing still waiting for a pass. They pass down the wing and hope that player beats his man to get a cross away but it's so easy to stop and Bournemouth are just waiting to win the ball back. They too slow down in the final third but aren't scared to get a shot away. Fraser finds space 25 yards out and shoots low into De Gea. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Ryan Fraser, 54 min)   9:10PM 52 mins Credit: AFP United passing well around the Bournemouth but being forced back every time.  9:08PM 51 mins United's shape is odd. They have four defenders when defending, but that becomes a three at times and in attack a two or three. You can see it here, like a lopsided back three. Average touch positions (49 min) Bournemouth are trying to use space in behind Valencia, who often joins attacks but Fraser hasn't quite managed to cause damage yet. Martial finds space on the left, goes around Smith but slips as he gets to the byline. Goal kick. 9:06PM 48 mins The crowd still sounds like 70,000 people chatting, kind of restless. United take their time with build-up showing no great urgency or want to up the tempo. More of the same then, it turns out. 9:03PM KICK-OFF 2 It's not that the first half was bad, or boring, it's just that Man Utd are so thoroughly unexciting to watch at times. They get the job done, defend well, score the occasional goal... but there's very little flair to them. Let's see if we get a bit more energy and dynamism in this half from them. 8:54PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time)  Look at Lukaku - the number nine. Why is he always on the right? I wonder whether this is deliberate by Mourinho but suspect it's the striker desperately trying to get involved with the game. 8:48PM HALF TIME The tame atmosphere in Old Trafford has been a suitable backdrop for this one. Both teams have enjoyed spells of dominance but United are the only ones to have made chances count. A decent, if largely uneventful game of football. 8:48PM 45 mins +2 Bournemouth attack again. Fraser is played in down the left, he has space, takes on Valencia, De Gea steps across thinking he's going to cross and Fraser shoots! De Gea adjusts and saves.  Clearance: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (David de Gea, 45 + 2 min)   8:43PM 44 mins Shaw steps out and intercepts in Bournemouth's half and United have men over here! Martial's pass doesn't find Lingard on the left and Bournemouth clear but Valencia has the ball on the right now, gives it to Mata, who turns his man and chips over the top again for Martial. His first touch is OK but he loses possession. Lukaku is booked for a foul on Arter, who is down receiving treatment again. 8:41PM 41 mins Another cross from the left is aimed at Lukaku but this time he can't reach the ball. Valencia takes it on the right, fires a low pass back into the area between defenders and Lukaku can't react quickly enough and is offside anyway.  8:38PM 38 mins Credit: PA  It's quite wet at Old Trafford.  8:35PM 36 mins Bournemouth are really good at absorbing play and working the ball forward. They do just that, with Wilson running into the channel beyond Jones to win the ball. King and Stanislas join in, Fraser arrives on the left... and it's a corner. And Francis should score! Ooooohhhhhhh he's made a mess of that. The ball drops to him about 15 yards out and he swings with his left foot but gets it wrong, slicing the ball way over the bar. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   8:32PM 33 mins Oooooh! Another decent opportunity for Bournemouth. They string some passes together, Smith goes on the overlap by the United box and Stanislas has a shot. De Gea saves and Smith tries to tap in the rebound from a narrow angle but was offside anyway. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Junior Stanislas, 30 min)   8:29PM 30 mins Bournemouth are annoyed about that goal because Smith went down holding his face in the build-up. There's a bit of friction now, despite all the rain, as Gosling goes in hard on Jones (but does pull out of the tackle to be fair) and sends him flying. Yellow card. Shaw does really well to get in behind the full-back, comes inside and wins a corner with his low cross.  8:27PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL But that's how Mourinho teams roll! None of the play, hardly any of the chances, and they have the lead. Bournemouth are punished. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) Lukaku holds off Ake, Mata chips it to the back post and the striker easily outjumps the defender to head past the goalkeeper.  8:25PM 25 mins Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal What a challenge by Arter! That's brilliant. Lingard carries the ball at pace towards the penalty area, has it under control as he starts to line up a shot and Arter slides in from behind to win it back.  8:24PM 24 mins Another shot for Bournemouth! Another decent De Gea save! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Dan Gosling, 23 min) The away team are all over United here, or they are until Matic wins a free-kick in his own area. Fraser is causing problems on that left wing. 8:22PM 21 mins Lukaku applauds Martial for a really smart pass, cutting inside onto his right and chipping into the area. It's just too high for Lukaku to reach and goes behind for goal kick.  King has a chance to run at Jones! It's a direct pass forward to Wilson, he dummies it and allows King through. Jones manages to get the block in. Bournemouth win a corner. United are defending these well though and Bournemouth have to work to win the second ball. Daniels glides inside, nobody picks him up and he shoots from 20 yards! De Gea parries it behind for a corner! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Charlie Daniels, 21 min)   8:18PM 18 mins Bournemouth win a corner, get the clearance back out wide and send a cross from deep to the front post. Jones gets in its way, the second corner sets up Stanislas for a 20 yard thunderbolt... but he's closed down.  Lukaku catches Ake with a late slide tackle as the defender plays out from the back. He's lucky not to be booked there. 8:15PM 15 mins Lukaku holds off a tackle and turns inside but his pass is cleared away. United controlling possession here but haven't been able to get into the area apart from that early bicycle kick. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Lingard is off balance as he pokes a pass forward and he's so close to putting Lukaku in on goal! Ake manages to stick out a leg to stop it.  8:12PM 12 mins Valencia recovers as Fraser roams. Bournemouth's counter-attack is filled with quick players, United have to be really careful in midfield. Superb defending from Smalling as he holds off Wilson to make sure he can't be beaten for pace, then calmly passes forward. Lukaku keeps wandering over to the right wing rather than staying in the middle, with Mata running in behind. 8:09PM 9 mins United press high in the Bournemouth half to win it back but have to go back. Martial does superbly to hold two defenders off and wins a free-kick wide left but Bournemouth deal with it well and Wilson is nearly put away on the counter-attack as they work it forwards. Bournemouth are tightly sprung here, waiting to snap at United if they take their eyes off the ball. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   8:06PM 6 mins Patient build-up from United as Bournemouth look to fill the space in their own half and make things difficult. It's a decent turn of pace from Wilson and he might be away from the last man here! Wilson drives at goal, gets to the box and has to turn back. The cross afterwards misses everyone and goes behind for a goal kick. 8:02PM 3 mins There are still quite a few empty seats in Old Trafford this evening, which judging by the weather seems fair, and United are on the attack early on. Lingard tries a bicycle kick inside the 18 yard box but nearly puts it out for a throw-in. 8:00PM KICK-OFF Here we go! Bournemouth in Premier League light blue (slightly neon) get the game started. 7:55PM Teams warming up Credit: REUTERS Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:46PM No Pogba Why are Man Utd so much worse without Paul Pogba? Pogba is missing his second of three games for suspension and without the Frenchman in midfield, United lack real attacking quality in the centre of the park. I did some analysis of it last week, which you can read above. 7:35PM Howe's pre-match words �� “We go into every game looking to win and that’s no different here tonight. I want the same spirit as we showed here last season and we want everyone at 100 per cent.”#afcb �� pic.twitter.com/n7u7L9bnEY— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   7:32PM Milkgate WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? How the Manchester derby tunnel row played out timeline   7:23PM Jose Mourinho says "You lose a match, the best thing is always to play so it's good to have a match. "Ah but he's ready. He played Champions League, the cup against Swansea which is like Premier League, he's training with us all season, he's been on the bench nine games in a row getting his experience. "I think nobody would expect Bournemouth to be top of the league, they are in a safe position so I think they are doing a very positive season. We know they are capable of it, can defend well with two lines of four but they can counter-attack with fast options. It's a good match." 7:15PM Angel Gomes signs professional contract Credit: GETTY IMAGES  That's Nicky Butt looking all proud as he helps Angel Gomes, the very talented English midfielder, sign his first professional contract for Man Utd. He's already played for the first team and at 17-years-old is eligible to agree terms. You might not hear much about him until he's a bit older but still, perhaps this will be an important photograph one day. 7:06PM Starting lineups Man Utd Four changes for Mourinho. Luke Shaw gets his first Prmeier League appearance of the season. Tonight's #MUFC line-up to face Bournemouth... �� pic.twitter.com/xSPLdJTllI— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 13, 2017  Bournemouth �� Here's how we line up against @ManUtd this evening... #afcb �� pic.twitter.com/rhRDirIN96— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   6:40PM Good evening Welcome! It's our liveblog for Man Utd vs Bournemouth, the first game since milk was thrown and spilt in that tumultuous Manchester derby. We can't talk about that though... that would be disrespectful to Bournemouth (Jose Mourinho's opinion, not mine) and so that is who we must discuss.  United, second in the league, could really do with bouncing back tonight - and not in a Partridge kind of way. Man City have a lead of 11 points and could make that 14 if United slip up but Bournemouth are not going to be easy to turnover. Eddie Howe's side is 14th in the league just three points above relegation. How will the two teams lineup? Credit: REUTERS We won't know for sure until the teams are announced but it should be expected that both make changes from their last match to ensure stamina levels are tip top, though my fellow Football Manager enjoyers might agree that a few 92 per cents will be alright on the night.  Having enjoyed (that is not the right word) so little possession against Man City, United may come out with a different gameplan against Bournemouth. There's no need to sit back and counter, since that is what Bournemouth will be doing, but without Paul Pogba, United lack that free flowing link between defence and attack and tend to come unstuck.  Mourinho knows how to win games and trophies, whatever he comes up with for this one has to work because that gap at the top, and the noise from various pundits and fans suggesting that United's style of play is boring, is getting bigger and louder respectively.  Teams should be with us at 7pm. Follow the action with us here if you can't find it on TV (it's not on in the UK) and if you can, let us provide some instant analysis in the form of words and our lovely Roboblogger. You can send me things on Twitter @jj_bull but I quite like to avoid that place nowadays, so an old-fashioned email works too: joseph.bull@telegraph.co.uk.

Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Romelu Lukaku winner lightens the mood at Old Trafford

The derby defeat on Sunday and his part in it may yet prove one of the season’s pivotal results, but Romelu Lukaku can at least say that he still delivers a winner on the days when Manchester United face less dangerous opposition. This was not exactly a roaring riposte from Jose Mourinho’s team to their Sunday humbling, but it was a victory, albeit by one goal while elsewhere yet another opponent were taken apart by the winning machine that is Manchester City. Lukaku’s 25th-minute header was the only goal on a rain-soaked, jaded night at Old Trafford, where a home crowd still stung by the City defeat struggled with a home team that tries to control games rather than dominate opponents with attacking football. Lukaku has managed just three goals since the end of September, before which he had delivered 10 for his club alone, and clearly confidence remains a problem, especially with his defensive mishaps on Sunday. His goal celebration was low-key, so much so it seemed he might not have been the man who got the final touch, but it was him, leaping behind Nathan Ake to direct his header into the goal. While he delivered his third goal in 15 games there was yet another moment in the first half when the Belgian came back to defend a corner and almost caused a catastrophe similar to the two he created in his own area against Manchester City. Eddie Howe said that he thought the United striker should have been sent off, but in the end the referee Graham Scott chose to book him only for his second serious foul on Harry Arter rather than the one that preceded it on Ake. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) It could have been very different if Bournemouth substitute Jermain Defoe had buried a chance late on in the game which forced David De Gea to make another fine save. The United goalkeeper had been equal to Bournemouth’s best efforts in the first half and he had to keep his concentration to the end, helped by a solid performance in the centre of defence from Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. At the end, United were still contemplating second place and that 11-point gap to the leaders, City. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal The Bournemouth fans stayed to applaud their team and manager, who felt his side had been unlucky not to get a point at the very least, and have not won any of their last five Premier League games. There is only a spread of six points over the entirety of the bottom 10 and Howe is adamant that his team will continue to play their passing game. “We are asking players to play the hardest way,” he said. De Gea made saves from Charlie Daniels and then Dan Gosling before United created their goal. It began with Anthony Martial, working down the left and doubling back to pick out Juan Mata. He crossed to Lukaku, lurking in the centre and able to get above Ake to win the header. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal United controlled the game better after the break, but when a team fails to take the game away from their opposition there is always the risk that an equaliser might come, and Old Trafford picked up on that tension. Howe sent on Defoe and Benik Afobe with just less than 20 minutes remaining to try to breathe some life into an attack that had made little impression after the break. Defoe’s chance rattled United and they fell back even further, playing a dangerous game. By then they were focused on defending their lead even though the home crowd encouraged them to go on the attack. Romelu Lukaku's goal separated the two teams Credit: PA Asked about City’s progress and whether they could be caught, Mourinho said simply “my players believe they can win the next match”. At this rate it is going to be a thankless pursuit unless United can change the mood that second place is all they are playing for. 9:53PM FULL TIME Job done. A well won three points for Man Utd in a performance that will leave precisely zero title rivals quivering with fear. Functional, pragmatic, defensive, solid... Mourinho knows how to win games. 9:52PM 90 mins +5 Yes they do. A free-kick on the edge of the area. Jones handballs. Daniels stands over it... Arter will lay it off to him. But the pass is awful! Daniels has to adjust and passes inside to Fraser! HE SHOOTS!  Great save, De Gea. United survive! 9:51PM 90 mins +4 That's the best passage of play all evening. Rashford and Mata move and link superbly with quick one touch passes, Mata finds himself in space on the left and crosses for Lukaku, who can't finish at the near post. They win a corner and look to run down the clock... or they did until Rashford booted the ball out for a goal kick. Bournemouth come forward. Do they have one last chance in them? 9:49PM 90 mins +2 Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Bournemouth still looking for a late equaliser. They're winning all the 50/50s and waiting for tha tmoment to pounce but United are slowing down play and time wasting where possible. Seats are emptying at Old Trafford as fans bail to go home. 9:47PM 90 mins Mata swings a corner straight into Begovic's waiting arms. Bournemouth come forward and win a corner. Fraser stands over it... and Young heads away. Poor. Arter takes his time and waits for Francis to make a run down the right... he's away! The through ball reaches and his cross is towards King at the back post. He can't win the header and United survive. 9:44PM 87 mins Defoe is annoyed at himself. He's managed to keep the ball alive by the goalline, turns back and Afobe is shouting for the ball but Defoe's lifted pass is poor. Not only does it not reach the striker, but if it had he'd have needed peak Zidane levels of control to do anything with it first time. Afobe is not Zidane. 9:42PM 84 mins United have men over! Rashford wants the pass, gets it but does too much and the ball is lost under his feet and now Bournemouth can counter! They're so quick, players sprint forward to stretch the defence. Defoe takes a fast ball on his first touch and tees up the shot at the front post but De Gea is there and lets nothing past him. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Jermain Defoe, 82 min) Young comes on for Shaw. 9:39PM 81 mins Bournemouth in control of possession for now, United looking to counter-attack. Afobe has been heavily involved since coming on and is making some nice runs across the defence. Lewis Cook wins a corner... and it's headed away then headed over by Ake from the follow up. 9:36PM 78 mins Jones has to head away a chipped pass towards Afobe at the near post and it's a corner to Bournemouth. Jones is fouled while clearing that and Man Utd win the free-kick.    9:32PM 75 mins RASHFOOOOOOORRRRRDDDDDD! OOOCHA! Post: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Marcus Rashford, 72 min) That is so unlucky not to be 2-0. He lets fly with turbo rocket from 25 yards almost out of nothing and it goes like a firework toward goal, bouncing for miles off the crossbar.  Bournemouth come forward now, Fraser goes for the one-two with Defoe but Defoe uses that to set up the shot and doesn't get behind the effort as well as he'd like.  9:29PM 72 mins Man Utd players keep receiving the ball, taking forever to pick a pass and then shouting at teammates for not moving into space to help the move. They're so static in possession. Wilson comes off for Afobe, Stanislas off for Defoe. That will probably be a switch to 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 to push for the final 15 minutes or so. 9:27PM 69 mins Bournemouth win a corner. United clear and McTominay sprints to join the attack. He drives with the ball, looks up and hits an early low pass to Rashford. It's so close to teeing him up for a shot at goal but he passes inside to Lingard, who trips over himself. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   9:24PM 67 mins Shaw is sold short by Jones, Stanislas slides in and his studs are high. That's really dangerous... and Shaw - understandably after his history - pulls out of the 50/50. It's just as well he did, that could have been really nasty. There are probably some Vietnam style flashbacks going through his mind right now, let's hope he hasn't been affected by it. Martial has been taken off. Rashford on. 9:21PM 64 mins Lingard is chopped down as United surge forwards on the counter-attack but the referee lets play continue and Martial's attempted pass to Lukaku is easily blocked. I suspect Martial might be taken off soon... Shaw tries an early cross from really deep which curls all the way round to Lukaku. He has to turn back with it and Bournemouth win the ball. 9:19PM 61 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  "I came from India to watch United's game" says the banner. Let's hope it was worth it! I've travelled to Glasgow from Aberdeen - a slightly shorter distance - several times to watch matches and can assure you it wasn't worth it. At all.  And the score should be 2-0. What a miss by Martial! How has he missed that?! He's convinced Daniels got a touch or deflected that somehow. Lukaku is played in by Martial, tries to shoot but Begovic saves and then Martial has an open goal, goes for the side foot volley and shins it way over.  Pass: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Anthony Martial, 60 min)   9:16PM 58 mins McTominay sends a dangerous cross into the box as Lukaku battles to keep the ball alive but Begovic catches well. McTominay has been solid in midfield this evening, he doesn't look out of place at all.    9:13PM 55 mins United are running out of ideas in attack here. It's too slow and there's not enough movement in the final third, with everyone just standing still waiting for a pass. They pass down the wing and hope that player beats his man to get a cross away but it's so easy to stop and Bournemouth are just waiting to win the ball back. They too slow down in the final third but aren't scared to get a shot away. Fraser finds space 25 yards out and shoots low into De Gea. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Ryan Fraser, 54 min)   9:10PM 52 mins Credit: AFP United passing well around the Bournemouth but being forced back every time.  9:08PM 51 mins United's shape is odd. They have four defenders when defending, but that becomes a three at times and in attack a two or three. You can see it here, like a lopsided back three. Average touch positions (49 min) Bournemouth are trying to use space in behind Valencia, who often joins attacks but Fraser hasn't quite managed to cause damage yet. Martial finds space on the left, goes around Smith but slips as he gets to the byline. Goal kick. 9:06PM 48 mins The crowd still sounds like 70,000 people chatting, kind of restless. United take their time with build-up showing no great urgency or want to up the tempo. More of the same then, it turns out. 9:03PM KICK-OFF 2 It's not that the first half was bad, or boring, it's just that Man Utd are so thoroughly unexciting to watch at times. They get the job done, defend well, score the occasional goal... but there's very little flair to them. Let's see if we get a bit more energy and dynamism in this half from them. 8:54PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time)  Look at Lukaku - the number nine. Why is he always on the right? I wonder whether this is deliberate by Mourinho but suspect it's the striker desperately trying to get involved with the game. 8:48PM HALF TIME The tame atmosphere in Old Trafford has been a suitable backdrop for this one. Both teams have enjoyed spells of dominance but United are the only ones to have made chances count. A decent, if largely uneventful game of football. 8:48PM 45 mins +2 Bournemouth attack again. Fraser is played in down the left, he has space, takes on Valencia, De Gea steps across thinking he's going to cross and Fraser shoots! De Gea adjusts and saves.  Clearance: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (David de Gea, 45 + 2 min)   8:43PM 44 mins Shaw steps out and intercepts in Bournemouth's half and United have men over here! Martial's pass doesn't find Lingard on the left and Bournemouth clear but Valencia has the ball on the right now, gives it to Mata, who turns his man and chips over the top again for Martial. His first touch is OK but he loses possession. Lukaku is booked for a foul on Arter, who is down receiving treatment again. 8:41PM 41 mins Another cross from the left is aimed at Lukaku but this time he can't reach the ball. Valencia takes it on the right, fires a low pass back into the area between defenders and Lukaku can't react quickly enough and is offside anyway.  8:38PM 38 mins Credit: PA  It's quite wet at Old Trafford.  8:35PM 36 mins Bournemouth are really good at absorbing play and working the ball forward. They do just that, with Wilson running into the channel beyond Jones to win the ball. King and Stanislas join in, Fraser arrives on the left... and it's a corner. And Francis should score! Ooooohhhhhhh he's made a mess of that. The ball drops to him about 15 yards out and he swings with his left foot but gets it wrong, slicing the ball way over the bar. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   8:32PM 33 mins Oooooh! Another decent opportunity for Bournemouth. They string some passes together, Smith goes on the overlap by the United box and Stanislas has a shot. De Gea saves and Smith tries to tap in the rebound from a narrow angle but was offside anyway. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Junior Stanislas, 30 min)   8:29PM 30 mins Bournemouth are annoyed about that goal because Smith went down holding his face in the build-up. There's a bit of friction now, despite all the rain, as Gosling goes in hard on Jones (but does pull out of the tackle to be fair) and sends him flying. Yellow card. Shaw does really well to get in behind the full-back, comes inside and wins a corner with his low cross.  8:27PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL But that's how Mourinho teams roll! None of the play, hardly any of the chances, and they have the lead. Bournemouth are punished. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) Lukaku holds off Ake, Mata chips it to the back post and the striker easily outjumps the defender to head past the goalkeeper.  8:25PM 25 mins Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal What a challenge by Arter! That's brilliant. Lingard carries the ball at pace towards the penalty area, has it under control as he starts to line up a shot and Arter slides in from behind to win it back.  8:24PM 24 mins Another shot for Bournemouth! Another decent De Gea save! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Dan Gosling, 23 min) The away team are all over United here, or they are until Matic wins a free-kick in his own area. Fraser is causing problems on that left wing. 8:22PM 21 mins Lukaku applauds Martial for a really smart pass, cutting inside onto his right and chipping into the area. It's just too high for Lukaku to reach and goes behind for goal kick.  King has a chance to run at Jones! It's a direct pass forward to Wilson, he dummies it and allows King through. Jones manages to get the block in. Bournemouth win a corner. United are defending these well though and Bournemouth have to work to win the second ball. Daniels glides inside, nobody picks him up and he shoots from 20 yards! De Gea parries it behind for a corner! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Charlie Daniels, 21 min)   8:18PM 18 mins Bournemouth win a corner, get the clearance back out wide and send a cross from deep to the front post. Jones gets in its way, the second corner sets up Stanislas for a 20 yard thunderbolt... but he's closed down.  Lukaku catches Ake with a late slide tackle as the defender plays out from the back. He's lucky not to be booked there. 8:15PM 15 mins Lukaku holds off a tackle and turns inside but his pass is cleared away. United controlling possession here but haven't been able to get into the area apart from that early bicycle kick. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Lingard is off balance as he pokes a pass forward and he's so close to putting Lukaku in on goal! Ake manages to stick out a leg to stop it.  8:12PM 12 mins Valencia recovers as Fraser roams. Bournemouth's counter-attack is filled with quick players, United have to be really careful in midfield. Superb defending from Smalling as he holds off Wilson to make sure he can't be beaten for pace, then calmly passes forward. Lukaku keeps wandering over to the right wing rather than staying in the middle, with Mata running in behind. 8:09PM 9 mins United press high in the Bournemouth half to win it back but have to go back. Martial does superbly to hold two defenders off and wins a free-kick wide left but Bournemouth deal with it well and Wilson is nearly put away on the counter-attack as they work it forwards. Bournemouth are tightly sprung here, waiting to snap at United if they take their eyes off the ball. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   8:06PM 6 mins Patient build-up from United as Bournemouth look to fill the space in their own half and make things difficult. It's a decent turn of pace from Wilson and he might be away from the last man here! Wilson drives at goal, gets to the box and has to turn back. The cross afterwards misses everyone and goes behind for a goal kick. 8:02PM 3 mins There are still quite a few empty seats in Old Trafford this evening, which judging by the weather seems fair, and United are on the attack early on. Lingard tries a bicycle kick inside the 18 yard box but nearly puts it out for a throw-in. 8:00PM KICK-OFF Here we go! Bournemouth in Premier League light blue (slightly neon) get the game started. 7:55PM Teams warming up Credit: REUTERS Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:46PM No Pogba Why are Man Utd so much worse without Paul Pogba? Pogba is missing his second of three games for suspension and without the Frenchman in midfield, United lack real attacking quality in the centre of the park. I did some analysis of it last week, which you can read above. 7:35PM Howe's pre-match words �� “We go into every game looking to win and that’s no different here tonight. I want the same spirit as we showed here last season and we want everyone at 100 per cent.”#afcb �� pic.twitter.com/n7u7L9bnEY— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   7:32PM Milkgate WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? How the Manchester derby tunnel row played out timeline   7:23PM Jose Mourinho says "You lose a match, the best thing is always to play so it's good to have a match. "Ah but he's ready. He played Champions League, the cup against Swansea which is like Premier League, he's training with us all season, he's been on the bench nine games in a row getting his experience. "I think nobody would expect Bournemouth to be top of the league, they are in a safe position so I think they are doing a very positive season. We know they are capable of it, can defend well with two lines of four but they can counter-attack with fast options. It's a good match." 7:15PM Angel Gomes signs professional contract Credit: GETTY IMAGES  That's Nicky Butt looking all proud as he helps Angel Gomes, the very talented English midfielder, sign his first professional contract for Man Utd. He's already played for the first team and at 17-years-old is eligible to agree terms. You might not hear much about him until he's a bit older but still, perhaps this will be an important photograph one day. 7:06PM Starting lineups Man Utd Four changes for Mourinho. Luke Shaw gets his first Prmeier League appearance of the season. Tonight's #MUFC line-up to face Bournemouth... �� pic.twitter.com/xSPLdJTllI— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 13, 2017  Bournemouth �� Here's how we line up against @ManUtd this evening... #afcb �� pic.twitter.com/rhRDirIN96— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   6:40PM Good evening Welcome! It's our liveblog for Man Utd vs Bournemouth, the first game since milk was thrown and spilt in that tumultuous Manchester derby. We can't talk about that though... that would be disrespectful to Bournemouth (Jose Mourinho's opinion, not mine) and so that is who we must discuss.  United, second in the league, could really do with bouncing back tonight - and not in a Partridge kind of way. Man City have a lead of 11 points and could make that 14 if United slip up but Bournemouth are not going to be easy to turnover. Eddie Howe's side is 14th in the league just three points above relegation. How will the two teams lineup? Credit: REUTERS We won't know for sure until the teams are announced but it should be expected that both make changes from their last match to ensure stamina levels are tip top, though my fellow Football Manager enjoyers might agree that a few 92 per cents will be alright on the night.  Having enjoyed (that is not the right word) so little possession against Man City, United may come out with a different gameplan against Bournemouth. There's no need to sit back and counter, since that is what Bournemouth will be doing, but without Paul Pogba, United lack that free flowing link between defence and attack and tend to come unstuck.  Mourinho knows how to win games and trophies, whatever he comes up with for this one has to work because that gap at the top, and the noise from various pundits and fans suggesting that United's style of play is boring, is getting bigger and louder respectively.  Teams should be with us at 7pm. Follow the action with us here if you can't find it on TV (it's not on in the UK) and if you can, let us provide some instant analysis in the form of words and our lovely Roboblogger. You can send me things on Twitter @jj_bull but I quite like to avoid that place nowadays, so an old-fashioned email works too: joseph.bull@telegraph.co.uk.

Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Romelu Lukaku winner lightens the mood at Old Trafford

The derby defeat on Sunday and his part in it may yet prove one of the season’s pivotal results, but Romelu Lukaku can at least say that he still delivers a winner on the days when Manchester United face less dangerous opposition. This was not exactly a roaring riposte from Jose Mourinho’s team to their Sunday humbling, but it was a victory, albeit by one goal while elsewhere yet another opponent were taken apart by the winning machine that is Manchester City. Lukaku’s 25th-minute header was the only goal on a rain-soaked, jaded night at Old Trafford, where a home crowd still stung by the City defeat struggled with a home team that tries to control games rather than dominate opponents with attacking football. Lukaku has managed just three goals since the end of September, before which he had delivered 10 for his club alone, and clearly confidence remains a problem, especially with his defensive mishaps on Sunday. His goal celebration was low-key, so much so it seemed he might not have been the man who got the final touch, but it was him, leaping behind Nathan Ake to direct his header into the goal. While he delivered his third goal in 15 games there was yet another moment in the first half when the Belgian came back to defend a corner and almost caused a catastrophe similar to the two he created in his own area against Manchester City. Eddie Howe said that he thought the United striker should have been sent off, but in the end the referee Graham Scott chose to book him only for his second serious foul on Harry Arter rather than the one that preceded it on Ake. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) It could have been very different if Bournemouth substitute Jermain Defoe had buried a chance late on in the game which forced David De Gea to make another fine save. The United goalkeeper had been equal to Bournemouth’s best efforts in the first half and he had to keep his concentration to the end, helped by a solid performance in the centre of defence from Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. At the end, United were still contemplating second place and that 11-point gap to the leaders, City. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal The Bournemouth fans stayed to applaud their team and manager, who felt his side had been unlucky not to get a point at the very least, and have not won any of their last five Premier League games. There is only a spread of six points over the entirety of the bottom 10 and Howe is adamant that his team will continue to play their passing game. “We are asking players to play the hardest way,” he said. De Gea made saves from Charlie Daniels and then Dan Gosling before United created their goal. It began with Anthony Martial, working down the left and doubling back to pick out Juan Mata. He crossed to Lukaku, lurking in the centre and able to get above Ake to win the header. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal United controlled the game better after the break, but when a team fails to take the game away from their opposition there is always the risk that an equaliser might come, and Old Trafford picked up on that tension. Howe sent on Defoe and Benik Afobe with just less than 20 minutes remaining to try to breathe some life into an attack that had made little impression after the break. Defoe’s chance rattled United and they fell back even further, playing a dangerous game. By then they were focused on defending their lead even though the home crowd encouraged them to go on the attack. Romelu Lukaku's goal separated the two teams Credit: PA Asked about City’s progress and whether they could be caught, Mourinho said simply “my players believe they can win the next match”. At this rate it is going to be a thankless pursuit unless United can change the mood that second place is all they are playing for. 9:53PM FULL TIME Job done. A well won three points for Man Utd in a performance that will leave precisely zero title rivals quivering with fear. Functional, pragmatic, defensive, solid... Mourinho knows how to win games. 9:52PM 90 mins +5 Yes they do. A free-kick on the edge of the area. Jones handballs. Daniels stands over it... Arter will lay it off to him. But the pass is awful! Daniels has to adjust and passes inside to Fraser! HE SHOOTS!  Great save, De Gea. United survive! 9:51PM 90 mins +4 That's the best passage of play all evening. Rashford and Mata move and link superbly with quick one touch passes, Mata finds himself in space on the left and crosses for Lukaku, who can't finish at the near post. They win a corner and look to run down the clock... or they did until Rashford booted the ball out for a goal kick. Bournemouth come forward. Do they have one last chance in them? 9:49PM 90 mins +2 Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Bournemouth still looking for a late equaliser. They're winning all the 50/50s and waiting for tha tmoment to pounce but United are slowing down play and time wasting where possible. Seats are emptying at Old Trafford as fans bail to go home. 9:47PM 90 mins Mata swings a corner straight into Begovic's waiting arms. Bournemouth come forward and win a corner. Fraser stands over it... and Young heads away. Poor. Arter takes his time and waits for Francis to make a run down the right... he's away! The through ball reaches and his cross is towards King at the back post. He can't win the header and United survive. 9:44PM 87 mins Defoe is annoyed at himself. He's managed to keep the ball alive by the goalline, turns back and Afobe is shouting for the ball but Defoe's lifted pass is poor. Not only does it not reach the striker, but if it had he'd have needed peak Zidane levels of control to do anything with it first time. Afobe is not Zidane. 9:42PM 84 mins United have men over! Rashford wants the pass, gets it but does too much and the ball is lost under his feet and now Bournemouth can counter! They're so quick, players sprint forward to stretch the defence. Defoe takes a fast ball on his first touch and tees up the shot at the front post but De Gea is there and lets nothing past him. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Jermain Defoe, 82 min) Young comes on for Shaw. 9:39PM 81 mins Bournemouth in control of possession for now, United looking to counter-attack. Afobe has been heavily involved since coming on and is making some nice runs across the defence. Lewis Cook wins a corner... and it's headed away then headed over by Ake from the follow up. 9:36PM 78 mins Jones has to head away a chipped pass towards Afobe at the near post and it's a corner to Bournemouth. Jones is fouled while clearing that and Man Utd win the free-kick.    9:32PM 75 mins RASHFOOOOOOORRRRRDDDDDD! OOOCHA! Post: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Marcus Rashford, 72 min) That is so unlucky not to be 2-0. He lets fly with turbo rocket from 25 yards almost out of nothing and it goes like a firework toward goal, bouncing for miles off the crossbar.  Bournemouth come forward now, Fraser goes for the one-two with Defoe but Defoe uses that to set up the shot and doesn't get behind the effort as well as he'd like.  9:29PM 72 mins Man Utd players keep receiving the ball, taking forever to pick a pass and then shouting at teammates for not moving into space to help the move. They're so static in possession. Wilson comes off for Afobe, Stanislas off for Defoe. That will probably be a switch to 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 to push for the final 15 minutes or so. 9:27PM 69 mins Bournemouth win a corner. United clear and McTominay sprints to join the attack. He drives with the ball, looks up and hits an early low pass to Rashford. It's so close to teeing him up for a shot at goal but he passes inside to Lingard, who trips over himself. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   9:24PM 67 mins Shaw is sold short by Jones, Stanislas slides in and his studs are high. That's really dangerous... and Shaw - understandably after his history - pulls out of the 50/50. It's just as well he did, that could have been really nasty. There are probably some Vietnam style flashbacks going through his mind right now, let's hope he hasn't been affected by it. Martial has been taken off. Rashford on. 9:21PM 64 mins Lingard is chopped down as United surge forwards on the counter-attack but the referee lets play continue and Martial's attempted pass to Lukaku is easily blocked. I suspect Martial might be taken off soon... Shaw tries an early cross from really deep which curls all the way round to Lukaku. He has to turn back with it and Bournemouth win the ball. 9:19PM 61 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  "I came from India to watch United's game" says the banner. Let's hope it was worth it! I've travelled to Glasgow from Aberdeen - a slightly shorter distance - several times to watch matches and can assure you it wasn't worth it. At all.  And the score should be 2-0. What a miss by Martial! How has he missed that?! He's convinced Daniels got a touch or deflected that somehow. Lukaku is played in by Martial, tries to shoot but Begovic saves and then Martial has an open goal, goes for the side foot volley and shins it way over.  Pass: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Anthony Martial, 60 min)   9:16PM 58 mins McTominay sends a dangerous cross into the box as Lukaku battles to keep the ball alive but Begovic catches well. McTominay has been solid in midfield this evening, he doesn't look out of place at all.    9:13PM 55 mins United are running out of ideas in attack here. It's too slow and there's not enough movement in the final third, with everyone just standing still waiting for a pass. They pass down the wing and hope that player beats his man to get a cross away but it's so easy to stop and Bournemouth are just waiting to win the ball back. They too slow down in the final third but aren't scared to get a shot away. Fraser finds space 25 yards out and shoots low into De Gea. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Ryan Fraser, 54 min)   9:10PM 52 mins Credit: AFP United passing well around the Bournemouth but being forced back every time.  9:08PM 51 mins United's shape is odd. They have four defenders when defending, but that becomes a three at times and in attack a two or three. You can see it here, like a lopsided back three. Average touch positions (49 min) Bournemouth are trying to use space in behind Valencia, who often joins attacks but Fraser hasn't quite managed to cause damage yet. Martial finds space on the left, goes around Smith but slips as he gets to the byline. Goal kick. 9:06PM 48 mins The crowd still sounds like 70,000 people chatting, kind of restless. United take their time with build-up showing no great urgency or want to up the tempo. More of the same then, it turns out. 9:03PM KICK-OFF 2 It's not that the first half was bad, or boring, it's just that Man Utd are so thoroughly unexciting to watch at times. They get the job done, defend well, score the occasional goal... but there's very little flair to them. Let's see if we get a bit more energy and dynamism in this half from them. 8:54PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time)  Look at Lukaku - the number nine. Why is he always on the right? I wonder whether this is deliberate by Mourinho but suspect it's the striker desperately trying to get involved with the game. 8:48PM HALF TIME The tame atmosphere in Old Trafford has been a suitable backdrop for this one. Both teams have enjoyed spells of dominance but United are the only ones to have made chances count. A decent, if largely uneventful game of football. 8:48PM 45 mins +2 Bournemouth attack again. Fraser is played in down the left, he has space, takes on Valencia, De Gea steps across thinking he's going to cross and Fraser shoots! De Gea adjusts and saves.  Clearance: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (David de Gea, 45 + 2 min)   8:43PM 44 mins Shaw steps out and intercepts in Bournemouth's half and United have men over here! Martial's pass doesn't find Lingard on the left and Bournemouth clear but Valencia has the ball on the right now, gives it to Mata, who turns his man and chips over the top again for Martial. His first touch is OK but he loses possession. Lukaku is booked for a foul on Arter, who is down receiving treatment again. 8:41PM 41 mins Another cross from the left is aimed at Lukaku but this time he can't reach the ball. Valencia takes it on the right, fires a low pass back into the area between defenders and Lukaku can't react quickly enough and is offside anyway.  8:38PM 38 mins Credit: PA  It's quite wet at Old Trafford.  8:35PM 36 mins Bournemouth are really good at absorbing play and working the ball forward. They do just that, with Wilson running into the channel beyond Jones to win the ball. King and Stanislas join in, Fraser arrives on the left... and it's a corner. And Francis should score! Ooooohhhhhhh he's made a mess of that. The ball drops to him about 15 yards out and he swings with his left foot but gets it wrong, slicing the ball way over the bar. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   8:32PM 33 mins Oooooh! Another decent opportunity for Bournemouth. They string some passes together, Smith goes on the overlap by the United box and Stanislas has a shot. De Gea saves and Smith tries to tap in the rebound from a narrow angle but was offside anyway. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Junior Stanislas, 30 min)   8:29PM 30 mins Bournemouth are annoyed about that goal because Smith went down holding his face in the build-up. There's a bit of friction now, despite all the rain, as Gosling goes in hard on Jones (but does pull out of the tackle to be fair) and sends him flying. Yellow card. Shaw does really well to get in behind the full-back, comes inside and wins a corner with his low cross.  8:27PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL But that's how Mourinho teams roll! None of the play, hardly any of the chances, and they have the lead. Bournemouth are punished. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) Lukaku holds off Ake, Mata chips it to the back post and the striker easily outjumps the defender to head past the goalkeeper.  8:25PM 25 mins Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal What a challenge by Arter! That's brilliant. Lingard carries the ball at pace towards the penalty area, has it under control as he starts to line up a shot and Arter slides in from behind to win it back.  8:24PM 24 mins Another shot for Bournemouth! Another decent De Gea save! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Dan Gosling, 23 min) The away team are all over United here, or they are until Matic wins a free-kick in his own area. Fraser is causing problems on that left wing. 8:22PM 21 mins Lukaku applauds Martial for a really smart pass, cutting inside onto his right and chipping into the area. It's just too high for Lukaku to reach and goes behind for goal kick.  King has a chance to run at Jones! It's a direct pass forward to Wilson, he dummies it and allows King through. Jones manages to get the block in. Bournemouth win a corner. United are defending these well though and Bournemouth have to work to win the second ball. Daniels glides inside, nobody picks him up and he shoots from 20 yards! De Gea parries it behind for a corner! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Charlie Daniels, 21 min)   8:18PM 18 mins Bournemouth win a corner, get the clearance back out wide and send a cross from deep to the front post. Jones gets in its way, the second corner sets up Stanislas for a 20 yard thunderbolt... but he's closed down.  Lukaku catches Ake with a late slide tackle as the defender plays out from the back. He's lucky not to be booked there. 8:15PM 15 mins Lukaku holds off a tackle and turns inside but his pass is cleared away. United controlling possession here but haven't been able to get into the area apart from that early bicycle kick. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Lingard is off balance as he pokes a pass forward and he's so close to putting Lukaku in on goal! Ake manages to stick out a leg to stop it.  8:12PM 12 mins Valencia recovers as Fraser roams. Bournemouth's counter-attack is filled with quick players, United have to be really careful in midfield. Superb defending from Smalling as he holds off Wilson to make sure he can't be beaten for pace, then calmly passes forward. Lukaku keeps wandering over to the right wing rather than staying in the middle, with Mata running in behind. 8:09PM 9 mins United press high in the Bournemouth half to win it back but have to go back. Martial does superbly to hold two defenders off and wins a free-kick wide left but Bournemouth deal with it well and Wilson is nearly put away on the counter-attack as they work it forwards. Bournemouth are tightly sprung here, waiting to snap at United if they take their eyes off the ball. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   8:06PM 6 mins Patient build-up from United as Bournemouth look to fill the space in their own half and make things difficult. It's a decent turn of pace from Wilson and he might be away from the last man here! Wilson drives at goal, gets to the box and has to turn back. The cross afterwards misses everyone and goes behind for a goal kick. 8:02PM 3 mins There are still quite a few empty seats in Old Trafford this evening, which judging by the weather seems fair, and United are on the attack early on. Lingard tries a bicycle kick inside the 18 yard box but nearly puts it out for a throw-in. 8:00PM KICK-OFF Here we go! Bournemouth in Premier League light blue (slightly neon) get the game started. 7:55PM Teams warming up Credit: REUTERS Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:46PM No Pogba Why are Man Utd so much worse without Paul Pogba? Pogba is missing his second of three games for suspension and without the Frenchman in midfield, United lack real attacking quality in the centre of the park. I did some analysis of it last week, which you can read above. 7:35PM Howe's pre-match words �� “We go into every game looking to win and that’s no different here tonight. I want the same spirit as we showed here last season and we want everyone at 100 per cent.”#afcb �� pic.twitter.com/n7u7L9bnEY— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   7:32PM Milkgate WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? How the Manchester derby tunnel row played out timeline   7:23PM Jose Mourinho says "You lose a match, the best thing is always to play so it's good to have a match. "Ah but he's ready. He played Champions League, the cup against Swansea which is like Premier League, he's training with us all season, he's been on the bench nine games in a row getting his experience. "I think nobody would expect Bournemouth to be top of the league, they are in a safe position so I think they are doing a very positive season. We know they are capable of it, can defend well with two lines of four but they can counter-attack with fast options. It's a good match." 7:15PM Angel Gomes signs professional contract Credit: GETTY IMAGES  That's Nicky Butt looking all proud as he helps Angel Gomes, the very talented English midfielder, sign his first professional contract for Man Utd. He's already played for the first team and at 17-years-old is eligible to agree terms. You might not hear much about him until he's a bit older but still, perhaps this will be an important photograph one day. 7:06PM Starting lineups Man Utd Four changes for Mourinho. Luke Shaw gets his first Prmeier League appearance of the season. Tonight's #MUFC line-up to face Bournemouth... �� pic.twitter.com/xSPLdJTllI— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 13, 2017  Bournemouth �� Here's how we line up against @ManUtd this evening... #afcb �� pic.twitter.com/rhRDirIN96— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   6:40PM Good evening Welcome! It's our liveblog for Man Utd vs Bournemouth, the first game since milk was thrown and spilt in that tumultuous Manchester derby. We can't talk about that though... that would be disrespectful to Bournemouth (Jose Mourinho's opinion, not mine) and so that is who we must discuss.  United, second in the league, could really do with bouncing back tonight - and not in a Partridge kind of way. Man City have a lead of 11 points and could make that 14 if United slip up but Bournemouth are not going to be easy to turnover. Eddie Howe's side is 14th in the league just three points above relegation. How will the two teams lineup? Credit: REUTERS We won't know for sure until the teams are announced but it should be expected that both make changes from their last match to ensure stamina levels are tip top, though my fellow Football Manager enjoyers might agree that a few 92 per cents will be alright on the night.  Having enjoyed (that is not the right word) so little possession against Man City, United may come out with a different gameplan against Bournemouth. There's no need to sit back and counter, since that is what Bournemouth will be doing, but without Paul Pogba, United lack that free flowing link between defence and attack and tend to come unstuck.  Mourinho knows how to win games and trophies, whatever he comes up with for this one has to work because that gap at the top, and the noise from various pundits and fans suggesting that United's style of play is boring, is getting bigger and louder respectively.  Teams should be with us at 7pm. Follow the action with us here if you can't find it on TV (it's not on in the UK) and if you can, let us provide some instant analysis in the form of words and our lovely Roboblogger. You can send me things on Twitter @jj_bull but I quite like to avoid that place nowadays, so an old-fashioned email works too: joseph.bull@telegraph.co.uk.

Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Romelu Lukaku winner lightens the mood at Old Trafford

The derby defeat on Sunday and his part in it may yet prove one of the season’s pivotal results, but Romelu Lukaku can at least say that he still delivers a winner on the days when Manchester United face less dangerous opposition. This was not exactly a roaring riposte from Jose Mourinho’s team to their Sunday humbling, but it was a victory, albeit by one goal while elsewhere yet another opponent were taken apart by the winning machine that is Manchester City. Lukaku’s 25th-minute header was the only goal on a rain-soaked, jaded night at Old Trafford, where a home crowd still stung by the City defeat struggled with a home team that tries to control games rather than dominate opponents with attacking football. Lukaku has managed just three goals since the end of September, before which he had delivered 10 for his club alone, and clearly confidence remains a problem, especially with his defensive mishaps on Sunday. His goal celebration was low-key, so much so it seemed he might not have been the man who got the final touch, but it was him, leaping behind Nathan Ake to direct his header into the goal. While he delivered his third goal in 15 games there was yet another moment in the first half when the Belgian came back to defend a corner and almost caused a catastrophe similar to the two he created in his own area against Manchester City. Eddie Howe said that he thought the United striker should have been sent off, but in the end the referee Graham Scott chose to book him only for his second serious foul on Harry Arter rather than the one that preceded it on Ake. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) It could have been very different if Bournemouth substitute Jermain Defoe had buried a chance late on in the game which forced David De Gea to make another fine save. The United goalkeeper had been equal to Bournemouth’s best efforts in the first half and he had to keep his concentration to the end, helped by a solid performance in the centre of defence from Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. At the end, United were still contemplating second place and that 11-point gap to the leaders, City. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal The Bournemouth fans stayed to applaud their team and manager, who felt his side had been unlucky not to get a point at the very least, and have not won any of their last five Premier League games. There is only a spread of six points over the entirety of the bottom 10 and Howe is adamant that his team will continue to play their passing game. “We are asking players to play the hardest way,” he said. De Gea made saves from Charlie Daniels and then Dan Gosling before United created their goal. It began with Anthony Martial, working down the left and doubling back to pick out Juan Mata. He crossed to Lukaku, lurking in the centre and able to get above Ake to win the header. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal United controlled the game better after the break, but when a team fails to take the game away from their opposition there is always the risk that an equaliser might come, and Old Trafford picked up on that tension. Howe sent on Defoe and Benik Afobe with just less than 20 minutes remaining to try to breathe some life into an attack that had made little impression after the break. Defoe’s chance rattled United and they fell back even further, playing a dangerous game. By then they were focused on defending their lead even though the home crowd encouraged them to go on the attack. Romelu Lukaku's goal separated the two teams Credit: PA Asked about City’s progress and whether they could be caught, Mourinho said simply “my players believe they can win the next match”. At this rate it is going to be a thankless pursuit unless United can change the mood that second place is all they are playing for. 9:53PM FULL TIME Job done. A well won three points for Man Utd in a performance that will leave precisely zero title rivals quivering with fear. Functional, pragmatic, defensive, solid... Mourinho knows how to win games. 9:52PM 90 mins +5 Yes they do. A free-kick on the edge of the area. Jones handballs. Daniels stands over it... Arter will lay it off to him. But the pass is awful! Daniels has to adjust and passes inside to Fraser! HE SHOOTS!  Great save, De Gea. United survive! 9:51PM 90 mins +4 That's the best passage of play all evening. Rashford and Mata move and link superbly with quick one touch passes, Mata finds himself in space on the left and crosses for Lukaku, who can't finish at the near post. They win a corner and look to run down the clock... or they did until Rashford booted the ball out for a goal kick. Bournemouth come forward. Do they have one last chance in them? 9:49PM 90 mins +2 Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Bournemouth still looking for a late equaliser. They're winning all the 50/50s and waiting for tha tmoment to pounce but United are slowing down play and time wasting where possible. Seats are emptying at Old Trafford as fans bail to go home. 9:47PM 90 mins Mata swings a corner straight into Begovic's waiting arms. Bournemouth come forward and win a corner. Fraser stands over it... and Young heads away. Poor. Arter takes his time and waits for Francis to make a run down the right... he's away! The through ball reaches and his cross is towards King at the back post. He can't win the header and United survive. 9:44PM 87 mins Defoe is annoyed at himself. He's managed to keep the ball alive by the goalline, turns back and Afobe is shouting for the ball but Defoe's lifted pass is poor. Not only does it not reach the striker, but if it had he'd have needed peak Zidane levels of control to do anything with it first time. Afobe is not Zidane. 9:42PM 84 mins United have men over! Rashford wants the pass, gets it but does too much and the ball is lost under his feet and now Bournemouth can counter! They're so quick, players sprint forward to stretch the defence. Defoe takes a fast ball on his first touch and tees up the shot at the front post but De Gea is there and lets nothing past him. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Jermain Defoe, 82 min) Young comes on for Shaw. 9:39PM 81 mins Bournemouth in control of possession for now, United looking to counter-attack. Afobe has been heavily involved since coming on and is making some nice runs across the defence. Lewis Cook wins a corner... and it's headed away then headed over by Ake from the follow up. 9:36PM 78 mins Jones has to head away a chipped pass towards Afobe at the near post and it's a corner to Bournemouth. Jones is fouled while clearing that and Man Utd win the free-kick.    9:32PM 75 mins RASHFOOOOOOORRRRRDDDDDD! OOOCHA! Post: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Marcus Rashford, 72 min) That is so unlucky not to be 2-0. He lets fly with turbo rocket from 25 yards almost out of nothing and it goes like a firework toward goal, bouncing for miles off the crossbar.  Bournemouth come forward now, Fraser goes for the one-two with Defoe but Defoe uses that to set up the shot and doesn't get behind the effort as well as he'd like.  9:29PM 72 mins Man Utd players keep receiving the ball, taking forever to pick a pass and then shouting at teammates for not moving into space to help the move. They're so static in possession. Wilson comes off for Afobe, Stanislas off for Defoe. That will probably be a switch to 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 to push for the final 15 minutes or so. 9:27PM 69 mins Bournemouth win a corner. United clear and McTominay sprints to join the attack. He drives with the ball, looks up and hits an early low pass to Rashford. It's so close to teeing him up for a shot at goal but he passes inside to Lingard, who trips over himself. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   9:24PM 67 mins Shaw is sold short by Jones, Stanislas slides in and his studs are high. That's really dangerous... and Shaw - understandably after his history - pulls out of the 50/50. It's just as well he did, that could have been really nasty. There are probably some Vietnam style flashbacks going through his mind right now, let's hope he hasn't been affected by it. Martial has been taken off. Rashford on. 9:21PM 64 mins Lingard is chopped down as United surge forwards on the counter-attack but the referee lets play continue and Martial's attempted pass to Lukaku is easily blocked. I suspect Martial might be taken off soon... Shaw tries an early cross from really deep which curls all the way round to Lukaku. He has to turn back with it and Bournemouth win the ball. 9:19PM 61 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  "I came from India to watch United's game" says the banner. Let's hope it was worth it! I've travelled to Glasgow from Aberdeen - a slightly shorter distance - several times to watch matches and can assure you it wasn't worth it. At all.  And the score should be 2-0. What a miss by Martial! How has he missed that?! He's convinced Daniels got a touch or deflected that somehow. Lukaku is played in by Martial, tries to shoot but Begovic saves and then Martial has an open goal, goes for the side foot volley and shins it way over.  Pass: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Anthony Martial, 60 min)   9:16PM 58 mins McTominay sends a dangerous cross into the box as Lukaku battles to keep the ball alive but Begovic catches well. McTominay has been solid in midfield this evening, he doesn't look out of place at all.    9:13PM 55 mins United are running out of ideas in attack here. It's too slow and there's not enough movement in the final third, with everyone just standing still waiting for a pass. They pass down the wing and hope that player beats his man to get a cross away but it's so easy to stop and Bournemouth are just waiting to win the ball back. They too slow down in the final third but aren't scared to get a shot away. Fraser finds space 25 yards out and shoots low into De Gea. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Ryan Fraser, 54 min)   9:10PM 52 mins Credit: AFP United passing well around the Bournemouth but being forced back every time.  9:08PM 51 mins United's shape is odd. They have four defenders when defending, but that becomes a three at times and in attack a two or three. You can see it here, like a lopsided back three. Average touch positions (49 min) Bournemouth are trying to use space in behind Valencia, who often joins attacks but Fraser hasn't quite managed to cause damage yet. Martial finds space on the left, goes around Smith but slips as he gets to the byline. Goal kick. 9:06PM 48 mins The crowd still sounds like 70,000 people chatting, kind of restless. United take their time with build-up showing no great urgency or want to up the tempo. More of the same then, it turns out. 9:03PM KICK-OFF 2 It's not that the first half was bad, or boring, it's just that Man Utd are so thoroughly unexciting to watch at times. They get the job done, defend well, score the occasional goal... but there's very little flair to them. Let's see if we get a bit more energy and dynamism in this half from them. 8:54PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time)  Look at Lukaku - the number nine. Why is he always on the right? I wonder whether this is deliberate by Mourinho but suspect it's the striker desperately trying to get involved with the game. 8:48PM HALF TIME The tame atmosphere in Old Trafford has been a suitable backdrop for this one. Both teams have enjoyed spells of dominance but United are the only ones to have made chances count. A decent, if largely uneventful game of football. 8:48PM 45 mins +2 Bournemouth attack again. Fraser is played in down the left, he has space, takes on Valencia, De Gea steps across thinking he's going to cross and Fraser shoots! De Gea adjusts and saves.  Clearance: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (David de Gea, 45 + 2 min)   8:43PM 44 mins Shaw steps out and intercepts in Bournemouth's half and United have men over here! Martial's pass doesn't find Lingard on the left and Bournemouth clear but Valencia has the ball on the right now, gives it to Mata, who turns his man and chips over the top again for Martial. His first touch is OK but he loses possession. Lukaku is booked for a foul on Arter, who is down receiving treatment again. 8:41PM 41 mins Another cross from the left is aimed at Lukaku but this time he can't reach the ball. Valencia takes it on the right, fires a low pass back into the area between defenders and Lukaku can't react quickly enough and is offside anyway.  8:38PM 38 mins Credit: PA  It's quite wet at Old Trafford.  8:35PM 36 mins Bournemouth are really good at absorbing play and working the ball forward. They do just that, with Wilson running into the channel beyond Jones to win the ball. King and Stanislas join in, Fraser arrives on the left... and it's a corner. And Francis should score! Ooooohhhhhhh he's made a mess of that. The ball drops to him about 15 yards out and he swings with his left foot but gets it wrong, slicing the ball way over the bar. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   8:32PM 33 mins Oooooh! Another decent opportunity for Bournemouth. They string some passes together, Smith goes on the overlap by the United box and Stanislas has a shot. De Gea saves and Smith tries to tap in the rebound from a narrow angle but was offside anyway. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Junior Stanislas, 30 min)   8:29PM 30 mins Bournemouth are annoyed about that goal because Smith went down holding his face in the build-up. There's a bit of friction now, despite all the rain, as Gosling goes in hard on Jones (but does pull out of the tackle to be fair) and sends him flying. Yellow card. Shaw does really well to get in behind the full-back, comes inside and wins a corner with his low cross.  8:27PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL But that's how Mourinho teams roll! None of the play, hardly any of the chances, and they have the lead. Bournemouth are punished. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) Lukaku holds off Ake, Mata chips it to the back post and the striker easily outjumps the defender to head past the goalkeeper.  8:25PM 25 mins Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal What a challenge by Arter! That's brilliant. Lingard carries the ball at pace towards the penalty area, has it under control as he starts to line up a shot and Arter slides in from behind to win it back.  8:24PM 24 mins Another shot for Bournemouth! Another decent De Gea save! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Dan Gosling, 23 min) The away team are all over United here, or they are until Matic wins a free-kick in his own area. Fraser is causing problems on that left wing. 8:22PM 21 mins Lukaku applauds Martial for a really smart pass, cutting inside onto his right and chipping into the area. It's just too high for Lukaku to reach and goes behind for goal kick.  King has a chance to run at Jones! It's a direct pass forward to Wilson, he dummies it and allows King through. Jones manages to get the block in. Bournemouth win a corner. United are defending these well though and Bournemouth have to work to win the second ball. Daniels glides inside, nobody picks him up and he shoots from 20 yards! De Gea parries it behind for a corner! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Charlie Daniels, 21 min)   8:18PM 18 mins Bournemouth win a corner, get the clearance back out wide and send a cross from deep to the front post. Jones gets in its way, the second corner sets up Stanislas for a 20 yard thunderbolt... but he's closed down.  Lukaku catches Ake with a late slide tackle as the defender plays out from the back. He's lucky not to be booked there. 8:15PM 15 mins Lukaku holds off a tackle and turns inside but his pass is cleared away. United controlling possession here but haven't been able to get into the area apart from that early bicycle kick. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Lingard is off balance as he pokes a pass forward and he's so close to putting Lukaku in on goal! Ake manages to stick out a leg to stop it.  8:12PM 12 mins Valencia recovers as Fraser roams. Bournemouth's counter-attack is filled with quick players, United have to be really careful in midfield. Superb defending from Smalling as he holds off Wilson to make sure he can't be beaten for pace, then calmly passes forward. Lukaku keeps wandering over to the right wing rather than staying in the middle, with Mata running in behind. 8:09PM 9 mins United press high in the Bournemouth half to win it back but have to go back. Martial does superbly to hold two defenders off and wins a free-kick wide left but Bournemouth deal with it well and Wilson is nearly put away on the counter-attack as they work it forwards. Bournemouth are tightly sprung here, waiting to snap at United if they take their eyes off the ball. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   8:06PM 6 mins Patient build-up from United as Bournemouth look to fill the space in their own half and make things difficult. It's a decent turn of pace from Wilson and he might be away from the last man here! Wilson drives at goal, gets to the box and has to turn back. The cross afterwards misses everyone and goes behind for a goal kick. 8:02PM 3 mins There are still quite a few empty seats in Old Trafford this evening, which judging by the weather seems fair, and United are on the attack early on. Lingard tries a bicycle kick inside the 18 yard box but nearly puts it out for a throw-in. 8:00PM KICK-OFF Here we go! Bournemouth in Premier League light blue (slightly neon) get the game started. 7:55PM Teams warming up Credit: REUTERS Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:46PM No Pogba Why are Man Utd so much worse without Paul Pogba? Pogba is missing his second of three games for suspension and without the Frenchman in midfield, United lack real attacking quality in the centre of the park. I did some analysis of it last week, which you can read above. 7:35PM Howe's pre-match words �� “We go into every game looking to win and that’s no different here tonight. I want the same spirit as we showed here last season and we want everyone at 100 per cent.”#afcb �� pic.twitter.com/n7u7L9bnEY— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   7:32PM Milkgate WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? How the Manchester derby tunnel row played out timeline   7:23PM Jose Mourinho says "You lose a match, the best thing is always to play so it's good to have a match. "Ah but he's ready. He played Champions League, the cup against Swansea which is like Premier League, he's training with us all season, he's been on the bench nine games in a row getting his experience. "I think nobody would expect Bournemouth to be top of the league, they are in a safe position so I think they are doing a very positive season. We know they are capable of it, can defend well with two lines of four but they can counter-attack with fast options. It's a good match." 7:15PM Angel Gomes signs professional contract Credit: GETTY IMAGES  That's Nicky Butt looking all proud as he helps Angel Gomes, the very talented English midfielder, sign his first professional contract for Man Utd. He's already played for the first team and at 17-years-old is eligible to agree terms. You might not hear much about him until he's a bit older but still, perhaps this will be an important photograph one day. 7:06PM Starting lineups Man Utd Four changes for Mourinho. Luke Shaw gets his first Prmeier League appearance of the season. Tonight's #MUFC line-up to face Bournemouth... �� pic.twitter.com/xSPLdJTllI— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 13, 2017  Bournemouth �� Here's how we line up against @ManUtd this evening... #afcb �� pic.twitter.com/rhRDirIN96— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   6:40PM Good evening Welcome! It's our liveblog for Man Utd vs Bournemouth, the first game since milk was thrown and spilt in that tumultuous Manchester derby. We can't talk about that though... that would be disrespectful to Bournemouth (Jose Mourinho's opinion, not mine) and so that is who we must discuss.  United, second in the league, could really do with bouncing back tonight - and not in a Partridge kind of way. Man City have a lead of 11 points and could make that 14 if United slip up but Bournemouth are not going to be easy to turnover. Eddie Howe's side is 14th in the league just three points above relegation. How will the two teams lineup? Credit: REUTERS We won't know for sure until the teams are announced but it should be expected that both make changes from their last match to ensure stamina levels are tip top, though my fellow Football Manager enjoyers might agree that a few 92 per cents will be alright on the night.  Having enjoyed (that is not the right word) so little possession against Man City, United may come out with a different gameplan against Bournemouth. There's no need to sit back and counter, since that is what Bournemouth will be doing, but without Paul Pogba, United lack that free flowing link between defence and attack and tend to come unstuck.  Mourinho knows how to win games and trophies, whatever he comes up with for this one has to work because that gap at the top, and the noise from various pundits and fans suggesting that United's style of play is boring, is getting bigger and louder respectively.  Teams should be with us at 7pm. Follow the action with us here if you can't find it on TV (it's not on in the UK) and if you can, let us provide some instant analysis in the form of words and our lovely Roboblogger. You can send me things on Twitter @jj_bull but I quite like to avoid that place nowadays, so an old-fashioned email works too: joseph.bull@telegraph.co.uk.

Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Romelu Lukaku winner lightens the mood at Old Trafford

The derby defeat on Sunday and his part in it may yet prove one of the season’s pivotal results, but Romelu Lukaku can at least say that he still delivers a winner on the days when Manchester United face less dangerous opposition. This was not exactly a roaring riposte from Jose Mourinho’s team to their Sunday humbling, but it was a victory, albeit by one goal while elsewhere yet another opponent were taken apart by the winning machine that is Manchester City. Lukaku’s 25th-minute header was the only goal on a rain-soaked, jaded night at Old Trafford, where a home crowd still stung by the City defeat struggled with a home team that tries to control games rather than dominate opponents with attacking football. Lukaku has managed just three goals since the end of September, before which he had delivered 10 for his club alone, and clearly confidence remains a problem, especially with his defensive mishaps on Sunday. His goal celebration was low-key, so much so it seemed he might not have been the man who got the final touch, but it was him, leaping behind Nathan Ake to direct his header into the goal. While he delivered his third goal in 15 games there was yet another moment in the first half when the Belgian came back to defend a corner and almost caused a catastrophe similar to the two he created in his own area against Manchester City. Eddie Howe said that he thought the United striker should have been sent off, but in the end the referee Graham Scott chose to book him only for his second serious foul on Harry Arter rather than the one that preceded it on Ake. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) It could have been very different if Bournemouth substitute Jermain Defoe had buried a chance late on in the game which forced David De Gea to make another fine save. The United goalkeeper had been equal to Bournemouth’s best efforts in the first half and he had to keep his concentration to the end, helped by a solid performance in the centre of defence from Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. At the end, United were still contemplating second place and that 11-point gap to the leaders, City. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal The Bournemouth fans stayed to applaud their team and manager, who felt his side had been unlucky not to get a point at the very least, and have not won any of their last five Premier League games. There is only a spread of six points over the entirety of the bottom 10 and Howe is adamant that his team will continue to play their passing game. “We are asking players to play the hardest way,” he said. De Gea made saves from Charlie Daniels and then Dan Gosling before United created their goal. It began with Anthony Martial, working down the left and doubling back to pick out Juan Mata. He crossed to Lukaku, lurking in the centre and able to get above Ake to win the header. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal United controlled the game better after the break, but when a team fails to take the game away from their opposition there is always the risk that an equaliser might come, and Old Trafford picked up on that tension. Howe sent on Defoe and Benik Afobe with just less than 20 minutes remaining to try to breathe some life into an attack that had made little impression after the break. Defoe’s chance rattled United and they fell back even further, playing a dangerous game. By then they were focused on defending their lead even though the home crowd encouraged them to go on the attack. Romelu Lukaku's goal separated the two teams Credit: PA Asked about City’s progress and whether they could be caught, Mourinho said simply “my players believe they can win the next match”. At this rate it is going to be a thankless pursuit unless United can change the mood that second place is all they are playing for. 9:53PM FULL TIME Job done. A well won three points for Man Utd in a performance that will leave precisely zero title rivals quivering with fear. Functional, pragmatic, defensive, solid... Mourinho knows how to win games. 9:52PM 90 mins +5 Yes they do. A free-kick on the edge of the area. Jones handballs. Daniels stands over it... Arter will lay it off to him. But the pass is awful! Daniels has to adjust and passes inside to Fraser! HE SHOOTS!  Great save, De Gea. United survive! 9:51PM 90 mins +4 That's the best passage of play all evening. Rashford and Mata move and link superbly with quick one touch passes, Mata finds himself in space on the left and crosses for Lukaku, who can't finish at the near post. They win a corner and look to run down the clock... or they did until Rashford booted the ball out for a goal kick. Bournemouth come forward. Do they have one last chance in them? 9:49PM 90 mins +2 Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Bournemouth still looking for a late equaliser. They're winning all the 50/50s and waiting for tha tmoment to pounce but United are slowing down play and time wasting where possible. Seats are emptying at Old Trafford as fans bail to go home. 9:47PM 90 mins Mata swings a corner straight into Begovic's waiting arms. Bournemouth come forward and win a corner. Fraser stands over it... and Young heads away. Poor. Arter takes his time and waits for Francis to make a run down the right... he's away! The through ball reaches and his cross is towards King at the back post. He can't win the header and United survive. 9:44PM 87 mins Defoe is annoyed at himself. He's managed to keep the ball alive by the goalline, turns back and Afobe is shouting for the ball but Defoe's lifted pass is poor. Not only does it not reach the striker, but if it had he'd have needed peak Zidane levels of control to do anything with it first time. Afobe is not Zidane. 9:42PM 84 mins United have men over! Rashford wants the pass, gets it but does too much and the ball is lost under his feet and now Bournemouth can counter! They're so quick, players sprint forward to stretch the defence. Defoe takes a fast ball on his first touch and tees up the shot at the front post but De Gea is there and lets nothing past him. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Jermain Defoe, 82 min) Young comes on for Shaw. 9:39PM 81 mins Bournemouth in control of possession for now, United looking to counter-attack. Afobe has been heavily involved since coming on and is making some nice runs across the defence. Lewis Cook wins a corner... and it's headed away then headed over by Ake from the follow up. 9:36PM 78 mins Jones has to head away a chipped pass towards Afobe at the near post and it's a corner to Bournemouth. Jones is fouled while clearing that and Man Utd win the free-kick.    9:32PM 75 mins RASHFOOOOOOORRRRRDDDDDD! OOOCHA! Post: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Marcus Rashford, 72 min) That is so unlucky not to be 2-0. He lets fly with turbo rocket from 25 yards almost out of nothing and it goes like a firework toward goal, bouncing for miles off the crossbar.  Bournemouth come forward now, Fraser goes for the one-two with Defoe but Defoe uses that to set up the shot and doesn't get behind the effort as well as he'd like.  9:29PM 72 mins Man Utd players keep receiving the ball, taking forever to pick a pass and then shouting at teammates for not moving into space to help the move. They're so static in possession. Wilson comes off for Afobe, Stanislas off for Defoe. That will probably be a switch to 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 to push for the final 15 minutes or so. 9:27PM 69 mins Bournemouth win a corner. United clear and McTominay sprints to join the attack. He drives with the ball, looks up and hits an early low pass to Rashford. It's so close to teeing him up for a shot at goal but he passes inside to Lingard, who trips over himself. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   9:24PM 67 mins Shaw is sold short by Jones, Stanislas slides in and his studs are high. That's really dangerous... and Shaw - understandably after his history - pulls out of the 50/50. It's just as well he did, that could have been really nasty. There are probably some Vietnam style flashbacks going through his mind right now, let's hope he hasn't been affected by it. Martial has been taken off. Rashford on. 9:21PM 64 mins Lingard is chopped down as United surge forwards on the counter-attack but the referee lets play continue and Martial's attempted pass to Lukaku is easily blocked. I suspect Martial might be taken off soon... Shaw tries an early cross from really deep which curls all the way round to Lukaku. He has to turn back with it and Bournemouth win the ball. 9:19PM 61 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  "I came from India to watch United's game" says the banner. Let's hope it was worth it! I've travelled to Glasgow from Aberdeen - a slightly shorter distance - several times to watch matches and can assure you it wasn't worth it. At all.  And the score should be 2-0. What a miss by Martial! How has he missed that?! He's convinced Daniels got a touch or deflected that somehow. Lukaku is played in by Martial, tries to shoot but Begovic saves and then Martial has an open goal, goes for the side foot volley and shins it way over.  Pass: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Anthony Martial, 60 min)   9:16PM 58 mins McTominay sends a dangerous cross into the box as Lukaku battles to keep the ball alive but Begovic catches well. McTominay has been solid in midfield this evening, he doesn't look out of place at all.    9:13PM 55 mins United are running out of ideas in attack here. It's too slow and there's not enough movement in the final third, with everyone just standing still waiting for a pass. They pass down the wing and hope that player beats his man to get a cross away but it's so easy to stop and Bournemouth are just waiting to win the ball back. They too slow down in the final third but aren't scared to get a shot away. Fraser finds space 25 yards out and shoots low into De Gea. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Ryan Fraser, 54 min)   9:10PM 52 mins Credit: AFP United passing well around the Bournemouth but being forced back every time.  9:08PM 51 mins United's shape is odd. They have four defenders when defending, but that becomes a three at times and in attack a two or three. You can see it here, like a lopsided back three. Average touch positions (49 min) Bournemouth are trying to use space in behind Valencia, who often joins attacks but Fraser hasn't quite managed to cause damage yet. Martial finds space on the left, goes around Smith but slips as he gets to the byline. Goal kick. 9:06PM 48 mins The crowd still sounds like 70,000 people chatting, kind of restless. United take their time with build-up showing no great urgency or want to up the tempo. More of the same then, it turns out. 9:03PM KICK-OFF 2 It's not that the first half was bad, or boring, it's just that Man Utd are so thoroughly unexciting to watch at times. They get the job done, defend well, score the occasional goal... but there's very little flair to them. Let's see if we get a bit more energy and dynamism in this half from them. 8:54PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time)  Look at Lukaku - the number nine. Why is he always on the right? I wonder whether this is deliberate by Mourinho but suspect it's the striker desperately trying to get involved with the game. 8:48PM HALF TIME The tame atmosphere in Old Trafford has been a suitable backdrop for this one. Both teams have enjoyed spells of dominance but United are the only ones to have made chances count. A decent, if largely uneventful game of football. 8:48PM 45 mins +2 Bournemouth attack again. Fraser is played in down the left, he has space, takes on Valencia, De Gea steps across thinking he's going to cross and Fraser shoots! De Gea adjusts and saves.  Clearance: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (David de Gea, 45 + 2 min)   8:43PM 44 mins Shaw steps out and intercepts in Bournemouth's half and United have men over here! Martial's pass doesn't find Lingard on the left and Bournemouth clear but Valencia has the ball on the right now, gives it to Mata, who turns his man and chips over the top again for Martial. His first touch is OK but he loses possession. Lukaku is booked for a foul on Arter, who is down receiving treatment again. 8:41PM 41 mins Another cross from the left is aimed at Lukaku but this time he can't reach the ball. Valencia takes it on the right, fires a low pass back into the area between defenders and Lukaku can't react quickly enough and is offside anyway.  8:38PM 38 mins Credit: PA  It's quite wet at Old Trafford.  8:35PM 36 mins Bournemouth are really good at absorbing play and working the ball forward. They do just that, with Wilson running into the channel beyond Jones to win the ball. King and Stanislas join in, Fraser arrives on the left... and it's a corner. And Francis should score! Ooooohhhhhhh he's made a mess of that. The ball drops to him about 15 yards out and he swings with his left foot but gets it wrong, slicing the ball way over the bar. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   8:32PM 33 mins Oooooh! Another decent opportunity for Bournemouth. They string some passes together, Smith goes on the overlap by the United box and Stanislas has a shot. De Gea saves and Smith tries to tap in the rebound from a narrow angle but was offside anyway. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Junior Stanislas, 30 min)   8:29PM 30 mins Bournemouth are annoyed about that goal because Smith went down holding his face in the build-up. There's a bit of friction now, despite all the rain, as Gosling goes in hard on Jones (but does pull out of the tackle to be fair) and sends him flying. Yellow card. Shaw does really well to get in behind the full-back, comes inside and wins a corner with his low cross.  8:27PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL But that's how Mourinho teams roll! None of the play, hardly any of the chances, and they have the lead. Bournemouth are punished. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) Lukaku holds off Ake, Mata chips it to the back post and the striker easily outjumps the defender to head past the goalkeeper.  8:25PM 25 mins Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal What a challenge by Arter! That's brilliant. Lingard carries the ball at pace towards the penalty area, has it under control as he starts to line up a shot and Arter slides in from behind to win it back.  8:24PM 24 mins Another shot for Bournemouth! Another decent De Gea save! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Dan Gosling, 23 min) The away team are all over United here, or they are until Matic wins a free-kick in his own area. Fraser is causing problems on that left wing. 8:22PM 21 mins Lukaku applauds Martial for a really smart pass, cutting inside onto his right and chipping into the area. It's just too high for Lukaku to reach and goes behind for goal kick.  King has a chance to run at Jones! It's a direct pass forward to Wilson, he dummies it and allows King through. Jones manages to get the block in. Bournemouth win a corner. United are defending these well though and Bournemouth have to work to win the second ball. Daniels glides inside, nobody picks him up and he shoots from 20 yards! De Gea parries it behind for a corner! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Charlie Daniels, 21 min)   8:18PM 18 mins Bournemouth win a corner, get the clearance back out wide and send a cross from deep to the front post. Jones gets in its way, the second corner sets up Stanislas for a 20 yard thunderbolt... but he's closed down.  Lukaku catches Ake with a late slide tackle as the defender plays out from the back. He's lucky not to be booked there. 8:15PM 15 mins Lukaku holds off a tackle and turns inside but his pass is cleared away. United controlling possession here but haven't been able to get into the area apart from that early bicycle kick. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Lingard is off balance as he pokes a pass forward and he's so close to putting Lukaku in on goal! Ake manages to stick out a leg to stop it.  8:12PM 12 mins Valencia recovers as Fraser roams. Bournemouth's counter-attack is filled with quick players, United have to be really careful in midfield. Superb defending from Smalling as he holds off Wilson to make sure he can't be beaten for pace, then calmly passes forward. Lukaku keeps wandering over to the right wing rather than staying in the middle, with Mata running in behind. 8:09PM 9 mins United press high in the Bournemouth half to win it back but have to go back. Martial does superbly to hold two defenders off and wins a free-kick wide left but Bournemouth deal with it well and Wilson is nearly put away on the counter-attack as they work it forwards. Bournemouth are tightly sprung here, waiting to snap at United if they take their eyes off the ball. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   8:06PM 6 mins Patient build-up from United as Bournemouth look to fill the space in their own half and make things difficult. It's a decent turn of pace from Wilson and he might be away from the last man here! Wilson drives at goal, gets to the box and has to turn back. The cross afterwards misses everyone and goes behind for a goal kick. 8:02PM 3 mins There are still quite a few empty seats in Old Trafford this evening, which judging by the weather seems fair, and United are on the attack early on. Lingard tries a bicycle kick inside the 18 yard box but nearly puts it out for a throw-in. 8:00PM KICK-OFF Here we go! Bournemouth in Premier League light blue (slightly neon) get the game started. 7:55PM Teams warming up Credit: REUTERS Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:46PM No Pogba Why are Man Utd so much worse without Paul Pogba? Pogba is missing his second of three games for suspension and without the Frenchman in midfield, United lack real attacking quality in the centre of the park. I did some analysis of it last week, which you can read above. 7:35PM Howe's pre-match words �� “We go into every game looking to win and that’s no different here tonight. I want the same spirit as we showed here last season and we want everyone at 100 per cent.”#afcb �� pic.twitter.com/n7u7L9bnEY— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   7:32PM Milkgate WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? How the Manchester derby tunnel row played out timeline   7:23PM Jose Mourinho says "You lose a match, the best thing is always to play so it's good to have a match. "Ah but he's ready. He played Champions League, the cup against Swansea which is like Premier League, he's training with us all season, he's been on the bench nine games in a row getting his experience. "I think nobody would expect Bournemouth to be top of the league, they are in a safe position so I think they are doing a very positive season. We know they are capable of it, can defend well with two lines of four but they can counter-attack with fast options. It's a good match." 7:15PM Angel Gomes signs professional contract Credit: GETTY IMAGES  That's Nicky Butt looking all proud as he helps Angel Gomes, the very talented English midfielder, sign his first professional contract for Man Utd. He's already played for the first team and at 17-years-old is eligible to agree terms. You might not hear much about him until he's a bit older but still, perhaps this will be an important photograph one day. 7:06PM Starting lineups Man Utd Four changes for Mourinho. Luke Shaw gets his first Prmeier League appearance of the season. Tonight's #MUFC line-up to face Bournemouth... �� pic.twitter.com/xSPLdJTllI— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 13, 2017  Bournemouth �� Here's how we line up against @ManUtd this evening... #afcb �� pic.twitter.com/rhRDirIN96— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   6:40PM Good evening Welcome! It's our liveblog for Man Utd vs Bournemouth, the first game since milk was thrown and spilt in that tumultuous Manchester derby. We can't talk about that though... that would be disrespectful to Bournemouth (Jose Mourinho's opinion, not mine) and so that is who we must discuss.  United, second in the league, could really do with bouncing back tonight - and not in a Partridge kind of way. Man City have a lead of 11 points and could make that 14 if United slip up but Bournemouth are not going to be easy to turnover. Eddie Howe's side is 14th in the league just three points above relegation. How will the two teams lineup? Credit: REUTERS We won't know for sure until the teams are announced but it should be expected that both make changes from their last match to ensure stamina levels are tip top, though my fellow Football Manager enjoyers might agree that a few 92 per cents will be alright on the night.  Having enjoyed (that is not the right word) so little possession against Man City, United may come out with a different gameplan against Bournemouth. There's no need to sit back and counter, since that is what Bournemouth will be doing, but without Paul Pogba, United lack that free flowing link between defence and attack and tend to come unstuck.  Mourinho knows how to win games and trophies, whatever he comes up with for this one has to work because that gap at the top, and the noise from various pundits and fans suggesting that United's style of play is boring, is getting bigger and louder respectively.  Teams should be with us at 7pm. Follow the action with us here if you can't find it on TV (it's not on in the UK) and if you can, let us provide some instant analysis in the form of words and our lovely Roboblogger. You can send me things on Twitter @jj_bull but I quite like to avoid that place nowadays, so an old-fashioned email works too: joseph.bull@telegraph.co.uk.

Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Romelu Lukaku winner lightens the mood at Old Trafford

The derby defeat on Sunday and his part in it may yet prove one of the season’s pivotal results, but Romelu Lukaku can at least say that he still delivers a winner on the days when Manchester United face less dangerous opposition. This was not exactly a roaring riposte from Jose Mourinho’s team to their Sunday humbling, but it was a victory, albeit by one goal while elsewhere yet another opponent were taken apart by the winning machine that is Manchester City. Lukaku’s 25th-minute header was the only goal on a rain-soaked, jaded night at Old Trafford, where a home crowd still stung by the City defeat struggled with a home team that tries to control games rather than dominate opponents with attacking football. Lukaku has managed just three goals since the end of September, before which he had delivered 10 for his club alone, and clearly confidence remains a problem, especially with his defensive mishaps on Sunday. His goal celebration was low-key, so much so it seemed he might not have been the man who got the final touch, but it was him, leaping behind Nathan Ake to direct his header into the goal. While he delivered his third goal in 15 games there was yet another moment in the first half when the Belgian came back to defend a corner and almost caused a catastrophe similar to the two he created in his own area against Manchester City. Eddie Howe said that he thought the United striker should have been sent off, but in the end the referee Graham Scott chose to book him only for his second serious foul on Harry Arter rather than the one that preceded it on Ake. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) It could have been very different if Bournemouth substitute Jermain Defoe had buried a chance late on in the game which forced David De Gea to make another fine save. The United goalkeeper had been equal to Bournemouth’s best efforts in the first half and he had to keep his concentration to the end, helped by a solid performance in the centre of defence from Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. At the end, United were still contemplating second place and that 11-point gap to the leaders, City. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal The Bournemouth fans stayed to applaud their team and manager, who felt his side had been unlucky not to get a point at the very least, and have not won any of their last five Premier League games. There is only a spread of six points over the entirety of the bottom 10 and Howe is adamant that his team will continue to play their passing game. “We are asking players to play the hardest way,” he said. De Gea made saves from Charlie Daniels and then Dan Gosling before United created their goal. It began with Anthony Martial, working down the left and doubling back to pick out Juan Mata. He crossed to Lukaku, lurking in the centre and able to get above Ake to win the header. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal United controlled the game better after the break, but when a team fails to take the game away from their opposition there is always the risk that an equaliser might come, and Old Trafford picked up on that tension. Howe sent on Defoe and Benik Afobe with just less than 20 minutes remaining to try to breathe some life into an attack that had made little impression after the break. Defoe’s chance rattled United and they fell back even further, playing a dangerous game. By then they were focused on defending their lead even though the home crowd encouraged them to go on the attack. Romelu Lukaku's goal separated the two teams Credit: PA Asked about City’s progress and whether they could be caught, Mourinho said simply “my players believe they can win the next match”. At this rate it is going to be a thankless pursuit unless United can change the mood that second place is all they are playing for. 9:53PM FULL TIME Job done. A well won three points for Man Utd in a performance that will leave precisely zero title rivals quivering with fear. Functional, pragmatic, defensive, solid... Mourinho knows how to win games. 9:52PM 90 mins +5 Yes they do. A free-kick on the edge of the area. Jones handballs. Daniels stands over it... Arter will lay it off to him. But the pass is awful! Daniels has to adjust and passes inside to Fraser! HE SHOOTS!  Great save, De Gea. United survive! 9:51PM 90 mins +4 That's the best passage of play all evening. Rashford and Mata move and link superbly with quick one touch passes, Mata finds himself in space on the left and crosses for Lukaku, who can't finish at the near post. They win a corner and look to run down the clock... or they did until Rashford booted the ball out for a goal kick. Bournemouth come forward. Do they have one last chance in them? 9:49PM 90 mins +2 Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Bournemouth still looking for a late equaliser. They're winning all the 50/50s and waiting for tha tmoment to pounce but United are slowing down play and time wasting where possible. Seats are emptying at Old Trafford as fans bail to go home. 9:47PM 90 mins Mata swings a corner straight into Begovic's waiting arms. Bournemouth come forward and win a corner. Fraser stands over it... and Young heads away. Poor. Arter takes his time and waits for Francis to make a run down the right... he's away! The through ball reaches and his cross is towards King at the back post. He can't win the header and United survive. 9:44PM 87 mins Defoe is annoyed at himself. He's managed to keep the ball alive by the goalline, turns back and Afobe is shouting for the ball but Defoe's lifted pass is poor. Not only does it not reach the striker, but if it had he'd have needed peak Zidane levels of control to do anything with it first time. Afobe is not Zidane. 9:42PM 84 mins United have men over! Rashford wants the pass, gets it but does too much and the ball is lost under his feet and now Bournemouth can counter! They're so quick, players sprint forward to stretch the defence. Defoe takes a fast ball on his first touch and tees up the shot at the front post but De Gea is there and lets nothing past him. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Jermain Defoe, 82 min) Young comes on for Shaw. 9:39PM 81 mins Bournemouth in control of possession for now, United looking to counter-attack. Afobe has been heavily involved since coming on and is making some nice runs across the defence. Lewis Cook wins a corner... and it's headed away then headed over by Ake from the follow up. 9:36PM 78 mins Jones has to head away a chipped pass towards Afobe at the near post and it's a corner to Bournemouth. Jones is fouled while clearing that and Man Utd win the free-kick.    9:32PM 75 mins RASHFOOOOOOORRRRRDDDDDD! OOOCHA! Post: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Marcus Rashford, 72 min) That is so unlucky not to be 2-0. He lets fly with turbo rocket from 25 yards almost out of nothing and it goes like a firework toward goal, bouncing for miles off the crossbar.  Bournemouth come forward now, Fraser goes for the one-two with Defoe but Defoe uses that to set up the shot and doesn't get behind the effort as well as he'd like.  9:29PM 72 mins Man Utd players keep receiving the ball, taking forever to pick a pass and then shouting at teammates for not moving into space to help the move. They're so static in possession. Wilson comes off for Afobe, Stanislas off for Defoe. That will probably be a switch to 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 to push for the final 15 minutes or so. 9:27PM 69 mins Bournemouth win a corner. United clear and McTominay sprints to join the attack. He drives with the ball, looks up and hits an early low pass to Rashford. It's so close to teeing him up for a shot at goal but he passes inside to Lingard, who trips over himself. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   9:24PM 67 mins Shaw is sold short by Jones, Stanislas slides in and his studs are high. That's really dangerous... and Shaw - understandably after his history - pulls out of the 50/50. It's just as well he did, that could have been really nasty. There are probably some Vietnam style flashbacks going through his mind right now, let's hope he hasn't been affected by it. Martial has been taken off. Rashford on. 9:21PM 64 mins Lingard is chopped down as United surge forwards on the counter-attack but the referee lets play continue and Martial's attempted pass to Lukaku is easily blocked. I suspect Martial might be taken off soon... Shaw tries an early cross from really deep which curls all the way round to Lukaku. He has to turn back with it and Bournemouth win the ball. 9:19PM 61 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  "I came from India to watch United's game" says the banner. Let's hope it was worth it! I've travelled to Glasgow from Aberdeen - a slightly shorter distance - several times to watch matches and can assure you it wasn't worth it. At all.  And the score should be 2-0. What a miss by Martial! How has he missed that?! He's convinced Daniels got a touch or deflected that somehow. Lukaku is played in by Martial, tries to shoot but Begovic saves and then Martial has an open goal, goes for the side foot volley and shins it way over.  Pass: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Anthony Martial, 60 min)   9:16PM 58 mins McTominay sends a dangerous cross into the box as Lukaku battles to keep the ball alive but Begovic catches well. McTominay has been solid in midfield this evening, he doesn't look out of place at all.    9:13PM 55 mins United are running out of ideas in attack here. It's too slow and there's not enough movement in the final third, with everyone just standing still waiting for a pass. They pass down the wing and hope that player beats his man to get a cross away but it's so easy to stop and Bournemouth are just waiting to win the ball back. They too slow down in the final third but aren't scared to get a shot away. Fraser finds space 25 yards out and shoots low into De Gea. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Ryan Fraser, 54 min)   9:10PM 52 mins Credit: AFP United passing well around the Bournemouth but being forced back every time.  9:08PM 51 mins United's shape is odd. They have four defenders when defending, but that becomes a three at times and in attack a two or three. You can see it here, like a lopsided back three. Average touch positions (49 min) Bournemouth are trying to use space in behind Valencia, who often joins attacks but Fraser hasn't quite managed to cause damage yet. Martial finds space on the left, goes around Smith but slips as he gets to the byline. Goal kick. 9:06PM 48 mins The crowd still sounds like 70,000 people chatting, kind of restless. United take their time with build-up showing no great urgency or want to up the tempo. More of the same then, it turns out. 9:03PM KICK-OFF 2 It's not that the first half was bad, or boring, it's just that Man Utd are so thoroughly unexciting to watch at times. They get the job done, defend well, score the occasional goal... but there's very little flair to them. Let's see if we get a bit more energy and dynamism in this half from them. 8:54PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time)  Look at Lukaku - the number nine. Why is he always on the right? I wonder whether this is deliberate by Mourinho but suspect it's the striker desperately trying to get involved with the game. 8:48PM HALF TIME The tame atmosphere in Old Trafford has been a suitable backdrop for this one. Both teams have enjoyed spells of dominance but United are the only ones to have made chances count. A decent, if largely uneventful game of football. 8:48PM 45 mins +2 Bournemouth attack again. Fraser is played in down the left, he has space, takes on Valencia, De Gea steps across thinking he's going to cross and Fraser shoots! De Gea adjusts and saves.  Clearance: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (David de Gea, 45 + 2 min)   8:43PM 44 mins Shaw steps out and intercepts in Bournemouth's half and United have men over here! Martial's pass doesn't find Lingard on the left and Bournemouth clear but Valencia has the ball on the right now, gives it to Mata, who turns his man and chips over the top again for Martial. His first touch is OK but he loses possession. Lukaku is booked for a foul on Arter, who is down receiving treatment again. 8:41PM 41 mins Another cross from the left is aimed at Lukaku but this time he can't reach the ball. Valencia takes it on the right, fires a low pass back into the area between defenders and Lukaku can't react quickly enough and is offside anyway.  8:38PM 38 mins Credit: PA  It's quite wet at Old Trafford.  8:35PM 36 mins Bournemouth are really good at absorbing play and working the ball forward. They do just that, with Wilson running into the channel beyond Jones to win the ball. King and Stanislas join in, Fraser arrives on the left... and it's a corner. And Francis should score! Ooooohhhhhhh he's made a mess of that. The ball drops to him about 15 yards out and he swings with his left foot but gets it wrong, slicing the ball way over the bar. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   8:32PM 33 mins Oooooh! Another decent opportunity for Bournemouth. They string some passes together, Smith goes on the overlap by the United box and Stanislas has a shot. De Gea saves and Smith tries to tap in the rebound from a narrow angle but was offside anyway. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Junior Stanislas, 30 min)   8:29PM 30 mins Bournemouth are annoyed about that goal because Smith went down holding his face in the build-up. There's a bit of friction now, despite all the rain, as Gosling goes in hard on Jones (but does pull out of the tackle to be fair) and sends him flying. Yellow card. Shaw does really well to get in behind the full-back, comes inside and wins a corner with his low cross.  8:27PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL But that's how Mourinho teams roll! None of the play, hardly any of the chances, and they have the lead. Bournemouth are punished. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) Lukaku holds off Ake, Mata chips it to the back post and the striker easily outjumps the defender to head past the goalkeeper.  8:25PM 25 mins Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal What a challenge by Arter! That's brilliant. Lingard carries the ball at pace towards the penalty area, has it under control as he starts to line up a shot and Arter slides in from behind to win it back.  8:24PM 24 mins Another shot for Bournemouth! Another decent De Gea save! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Dan Gosling, 23 min) The away team are all over United here, or they are until Matic wins a free-kick in his own area. Fraser is causing problems on that left wing. 8:22PM 21 mins Lukaku applauds Martial for a really smart pass, cutting inside onto his right and chipping into the area. It's just too high for Lukaku to reach and goes behind for goal kick.  King has a chance to run at Jones! It's a direct pass forward to Wilson, he dummies it and allows King through. Jones manages to get the block in. Bournemouth win a corner. United are defending these well though and Bournemouth have to work to win the second ball. Daniels glides inside, nobody picks him up and he shoots from 20 yards! De Gea parries it behind for a corner! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Charlie Daniels, 21 min)   8:18PM 18 mins Bournemouth win a corner, get the clearance back out wide and send a cross from deep to the front post. Jones gets in its way, the second corner sets up Stanislas for a 20 yard thunderbolt... but he's closed down.  Lukaku catches Ake with a late slide tackle as the defender plays out from the back. He's lucky not to be booked there. 8:15PM 15 mins Lukaku holds off a tackle and turns inside but his pass is cleared away. United controlling possession here but haven't been able to get into the area apart from that early bicycle kick. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Lingard is off balance as he pokes a pass forward and he's so close to putting Lukaku in on goal! Ake manages to stick out a leg to stop it.  8:12PM 12 mins Valencia recovers as Fraser roams. Bournemouth's counter-attack is filled with quick players, United have to be really careful in midfield. Superb defending from Smalling as he holds off Wilson to make sure he can't be beaten for pace, then calmly passes forward. Lukaku keeps wandering over to the right wing rather than staying in the middle, with Mata running in behind. 8:09PM 9 mins United press high in the Bournemouth half to win it back but have to go back. Martial does superbly to hold two defenders off and wins a free-kick wide left but Bournemouth deal with it well and Wilson is nearly put away on the counter-attack as they work it forwards. Bournemouth are tightly sprung here, waiting to snap at United if they take their eyes off the ball. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   8:06PM 6 mins Patient build-up from United as Bournemouth look to fill the space in their own half and make things difficult. It's a decent turn of pace from Wilson and he might be away from the last man here! Wilson drives at goal, gets to the box and has to turn back. The cross afterwards misses everyone and goes behind for a goal kick. 8:02PM 3 mins There are still quite a few empty seats in Old Trafford this evening, which judging by the weather seems fair, and United are on the attack early on. Lingard tries a bicycle kick inside the 18 yard box but nearly puts it out for a throw-in. 8:00PM KICK-OFF Here we go! Bournemouth in Premier League light blue (slightly neon) get the game started. 7:55PM Teams warming up Credit: REUTERS Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:46PM No Pogba Why are Man Utd so much worse without Paul Pogba? Pogba is missing his second of three games for suspension and without the Frenchman in midfield, United lack real attacking quality in the centre of the park. I did some analysis of it last week, which you can read above. 7:35PM Howe's pre-match words �� “We go into every game looking to win and that’s no different here tonight. I want the same spirit as we showed here last season and we want everyone at 100 per cent.”#afcb �� pic.twitter.com/n7u7L9bnEY— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   7:32PM Milkgate WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? How the Manchester derby tunnel row played out timeline   7:23PM Jose Mourinho says "You lose a match, the best thing is always to play so it's good to have a match. "Ah but he's ready. He played Champions League, the cup against Swansea which is like Premier League, he's training with us all season, he's been on the bench nine games in a row getting his experience. "I think nobody would expect Bournemouth to be top of the league, they are in a safe position so I think they are doing a very positive season. We know they are capable of it, can defend well with two lines of four but they can counter-attack with fast options. It's a good match." 7:15PM Angel Gomes signs professional contract Credit: GETTY IMAGES  That's Nicky Butt looking all proud as he helps Angel Gomes, the very talented English midfielder, sign his first professional contract for Man Utd. He's already played for the first team and at 17-years-old is eligible to agree terms. You might not hear much about him until he's a bit older but still, perhaps this will be an important photograph one day. 7:06PM Starting lineups Man Utd Four changes for Mourinho. Luke Shaw gets his first Prmeier League appearance of the season. Tonight's #MUFC line-up to face Bournemouth... �� pic.twitter.com/xSPLdJTllI— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 13, 2017  Bournemouth �� Here's how we line up against @ManUtd this evening... #afcb �� pic.twitter.com/rhRDirIN96— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   6:40PM Good evening Welcome! It's our liveblog for Man Utd vs Bournemouth, the first game since milk was thrown and spilt in that tumultuous Manchester derby. We can't talk about that though... that would be disrespectful to Bournemouth (Jose Mourinho's opinion, not mine) and so that is who we must discuss.  United, second in the league, could really do with bouncing back tonight - and not in a Partridge kind of way. Man City have a lead of 11 points and could make that 14 if United slip up but Bournemouth are not going to be easy to turnover. Eddie Howe's side is 14th in the league just three points above relegation. How will the two teams lineup? Credit: REUTERS We won't know for sure until the teams are announced but it should be expected that both make changes from their last match to ensure stamina levels are tip top, though my fellow Football Manager enjoyers might agree that a few 92 per cents will be alright on the night.  Having enjoyed (that is not the right word) so little possession against Man City, United may come out with a different gameplan against Bournemouth. There's no need to sit back and counter, since that is what Bournemouth will be doing, but without Paul Pogba, United lack that free flowing link between defence and attack and tend to come unstuck.  Mourinho knows how to win games and trophies, whatever he comes up with for this one has to work because that gap at the top, and the noise from various pundits and fans suggesting that United's style of play is boring, is getting bigger and louder respectively.  Teams should be with us at 7pm. Follow the action with us here if you can't find it on TV (it's not on in the UK) and if you can, let us provide some instant analysis in the form of words and our lovely Roboblogger. You can send me things on Twitter @jj_bull but I quite like to avoid that place nowadays, so an old-fashioned email works too: joseph.bull@telegraph.co.uk.

Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Romelu Lukaku winner lightens the mood at Old Trafford

The derby defeat on Sunday and his part in it may yet prove one of the season’s pivotal results, but Romelu Lukaku can at least say that he still delivers a winner on the days when Manchester United face less dangerous opposition. This was not exactly a roaring riposte from Jose Mourinho’s team to their Sunday humbling, but it was a victory, albeit by one goal while elsewhere yet another opponent were taken apart by the winning machine that is Manchester City. Lukaku’s 25th-minute header was the only goal on a rain-soaked, jaded night at Old Trafford, where a home crowd still stung by the City defeat struggled with a home team that tries to control games rather than dominate opponents with attacking football. Lukaku has managed just three goals since the end of September, before which he had delivered 10 for his club alone, and clearly confidence remains a problem, especially with his defensive mishaps on Sunday. His goal celebration was low-key, so much so it seemed he might not have been the man who got the final touch, but it was him, leaping behind Nathan Ake to direct his header into the goal. While he delivered his third goal in 15 games there was yet another moment in the first half when the Belgian came back to defend a corner and almost caused a catastrophe similar to the two he created in his own area against Manchester City. Eddie Howe said that he thought the United striker should have been sent off, but in the end the referee Graham Scott chose to book him only for his second serious foul on Harry Arter rather than the one that preceded it on Ake. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) It could have been very different if Bournemouth substitute Jermain Defoe had buried a chance late on in the game which forced David De Gea to make another fine save. The United goalkeeper had been equal to Bournemouth’s best efforts in the first half and he had to keep his concentration to the end, helped by a solid performance in the centre of defence from Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. At the end, United were still contemplating second place and that 11-point gap to the leaders, City. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal The Bournemouth fans stayed to applaud their team and manager, who felt his side had been unlucky not to get a point at the very least, and have not won any of their last five Premier League games. There is only a spread of six points over the entirety of the bottom 10 and Howe is adamant that his team will continue to play their passing game. “We are asking players to play the hardest way,” he said. De Gea made saves from Charlie Daniels and then Dan Gosling before United created their goal. It began with Anthony Martial, working down the left and doubling back to pick out Juan Mata. He crossed to Lukaku, lurking in the centre and able to get above Ake to win the header. Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal United controlled the game better after the break, but when a team fails to take the game away from their opposition there is always the risk that an equaliser might come, and Old Trafford picked up on that tension. Howe sent on Defoe and Benik Afobe with just less than 20 minutes remaining to try to breathe some life into an attack that had made little impression after the break. Defoe’s chance rattled United and they fell back even further, playing a dangerous game. By then they were focused on defending their lead even though the home crowd encouraged them to go on the attack. Romelu Lukaku's goal separated the two teams Credit: PA Asked about City’s progress and whether they could be caught, Mourinho said simply “my players believe they can win the next match”. At this rate it is going to be a thankless pursuit unless United can change the mood that second place is all they are playing for. 9:53PM FULL TIME Job done. A well won three points for Man Utd in a performance that will leave precisely zero title rivals quivering with fear. Functional, pragmatic, defensive, solid... Mourinho knows how to win games. 9:52PM 90 mins +5 Yes they do. A free-kick on the edge of the area. Jones handballs. Daniels stands over it... Arter will lay it off to him. But the pass is awful! Daniels has to adjust and passes inside to Fraser! HE SHOOTS!  Great save, De Gea. United survive! 9:51PM 90 mins +4 That's the best passage of play all evening. Rashford and Mata move and link superbly with quick one touch passes, Mata finds himself in space on the left and crosses for Lukaku, who can't finish at the near post. They win a corner and look to run down the clock... or they did until Rashford booted the ball out for a goal kick. Bournemouth come forward. Do they have one last chance in them? 9:49PM 90 mins +2 Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Bournemouth still looking for a late equaliser. They're winning all the 50/50s and waiting for tha tmoment to pounce but United are slowing down play and time wasting where possible. Seats are emptying at Old Trafford as fans bail to go home. 9:47PM 90 mins Mata swings a corner straight into Begovic's waiting arms. Bournemouth come forward and win a corner. Fraser stands over it... and Young heads away. Poor. Arter takes his time and waits for Francis to make a run down the right... he's away! The through ball reaches and his cross is towards King at the back post. He can't win the header and United survive. 9:44PM 87 mins Defoe is annoyed at himself. He's managed to keep the ball alive by the goalline, turns back and Afobe is shouting for the ball but Defoe's lifted pass is poor. Not only does it not reach the striker, but if it had he'd have needed peak Zidane levels of control to do anything with it first time. Afobe is not Zidane. 9:42PM 84 mins United have men over! Rashford wants the pass, gets it but does too much and the ball is lost under his feet and now Bournemouth can counter! They're so quick, players sprint forward to stretch the defence. Defoe takes a fast ball on his first touch and tees up the shot at the front post but De Gea is there and lets nothing past him. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Jermain Defoe, 82 min) Young comes on for Shaw. 9:39PM 81 mins Bournemouth in control of possession for now, United looking to counter-attack. Afobe has been heavily involved since coming on and is making some nice runs across the defence. Lewis Cook wins a corner... and it's headed away then headed over by Ake from the follow up. 9:36PM 78 mins Jones has to head away a chipped pass towards Afobe at the near post and it's a corner to Bournemouth. Jones is fouled while clearing that and Man Utd win the free-kick.    9:32PM 75 mins RASHFOOOOOOORRRRRDDDDDD! OOOCHA! Post: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Marcus Rashford, 72 min) That is so unlucky not to be 2-0. He lets fly with turbo rocket from 25 yards almost out of nothing and it goes like a firework toward goal, bouncing for miles off the crossbar.  Bournemouth come forward now, Fraser goes for the one-two with Defoe but Defoe uses that to set up the shot and doesn't get behind the effort as well as he'd like.  9:29PM 72 mins Man Utd players keep receiving the ball, taking forever to pick a pass and then shouting at teammates for not moving into space to help the move. They're so static in possession. Wilson comes off for Afobe, Stanislas off for Defoe. That will probably be a switch to 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 to push for the final 15 minutes or so. 9:27PM 69 mins Bournemouth win a corner. United clear and McTominay sprints to join the attack. He drives with the ball, looks up and hits an early low pass to Rashford. It's so close to teeing him up for a shot at goal but he passes inside to Lingard, who trips over himself. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   9:24PM 67 mins Shaw is sold short by Jones, Stanislas slides in and his studs are high. That's really dangerous... and Shaw - understandably after his history - pulls out of the 50/50. It's just as well he did, that could have been really nasty. There are probably some Vietnam style flashbacks going through his mind right now, let's hope he hasn't been affected by it. Martial has been taken off. Rashford on. 9:21PM 64 mins Lingard is chopped down as United surge forwards on the counter-attack but the referee lets play continue and Martial's attempted pass to Lukaku is easily blocked. I suspect Martial might be taken off soon... Shaw tries an early cross from really deep which curls all the way round to Lukaku. He has to turn back with it and Bournemouth win the ball. 9:19PM 61 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  "I came from India to watch United's game" says the banner. Let's hope it was worth it! I've travelled to Glasgow from Aberdeen - a slightly shorter distance - several times to watch matches and can assure you it wasn't worth it. At all.  And the score should be 2-0. What a miss by Martial! How has he missed that?! He's convinced Daniels got a touch or deflected that somehow. Lukaku is played in by Martial, tries to shoot but Begovic saves and then Martial has an open goal, goes for the side foot volley and shins it way over.  Pass: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Anthony Martial, 60 min)   9:16PM 58 mins McTominay sends a dangerous cross into the box as Lukaku battles to keep the ball alive but Begovic catches well. McTominay has been solid in midfield this evening, he doesn't look out of place at all.    9:13PM 55 mins United are running out of ideas in attack here. It's too slow and there's not enough movement in the final third, with everyone just standing still waiting for a pass. They pass down the wing and hope that player beats his man to get a cross away but it's so easy to stop and Bournemouth are just waiting to win the ball back. They too slow down in the final third but aren't scared to get a shot away. Fraser finds space 25 yards out and shoots low into De Gea. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Ryan Fraser, 54 min)   9:10PM 52 mins Credit: AFP United passing well around the Bournemouth but being forced back every time.  9:08PM 51 mins United's shape is odd. They have four defenders when defending, but that becomes a three at times and in attack a two or three. You can see it here, like a lopsided back three. Average touch positions (49 min) Bournemouth are trying to use space in behind Valencia, who often joins attacks but Fraser hasn't quite managed to cause damage yet. Martial finds space on the left, goes around Smith but slips as he gets to the byline. Goal kick. 9:06PM 48 mins The crowd still sounds like 70,000 people chatting, kind of restless. United take their time with build-up showing no great urgency or want to up the tempo. More of the same then, it turns out. 9:03PM KICK-OFF 2 It's not that the first half was bad, or boring, it's just that Man Utd are so thoroughly unexciting to watch at times. They get the job done, defend well, score the occasional goal... but there's very little flair to them. Let's see if we get a bit more energy and dynamism in this half from them. 8:54PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time)  Look at Lukaku - the number nine. Why is he always on the right? I wonder whether this is deliberate by Mourinho but suspect it's the striker desperately trying to get involved with the game. 8:48PM HALF TIME The tame atmosphere in Old Trafford has been a suitable backdrop for this one. Both teams have enjoyed spells of dominance but United are the only ones to have made chances count. A decent, if largely uneventful game of football. 8:48PM 45 mins +2 Bournemouth attack again. Fraser is played in down the left, he has space, takes on Valencia, De Gea steps across thinking he's going to cross and Fraser shoots! De Gea adjusts and saves.  Clearance: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (David de Gea, 45 + 2 min)   8:43PM 44 mins Shaw steps out and intercepts in Bournemouth's half and United have men over here! Martial's pass doesn't find Lingard on the left and Bournemouth clear but Valencia has the ball on the right now, gives it to Mata, who turns his man and chips over the top again for Martial. His first touch is OK but he loses possession. Lukaku is booked for a foul on Arter, who is down receiving treatment again. 8:41PM 41 mins Another cross from the left is aimed at Lukaku but this time he can't reach the ball. Valencia takes it on the right, fires a low pass back into the area between defenders and Lukaku can't react quickly enough and is offside anyway.  8:38PM 38 mins Credit: PA  It's quite wet at Old Trafford.  8:35PM 36 mins Bournemouth are really good at absorbing play and working the ball forward. They do just that, with Wilson running into the channel beyond Jones to win the ball. King and Stanislas join in, Fraser arrives on the left... and it's a corner. And Francis should score! Ooooohhhhhhh he's made a mess of that. The ball drops to him about 15 yards out and he swings with his left foot but gets it wrong, slicing the ball way over the bar. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth   8:32PM 33 mins Oooooh! Another decent opportunity for Bournemouth. They string some passes together, Smith goes on the overlap by the United box and Stanislas has a shot. De Gea saves and Smith tries to tap in the rebound from a narrow angle but was offside anyway. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Junior Stanislas, 30 min)   8:29PM 30 mins Bournemouth are annoyed about that goal because Smith went down holding his face in the build-up. There's a bit of friction now, despite all the rain, as Gosling goes in hard on Jones (but does pull out of the tackle to be fair) and sends him flying. Yellow card. Shaw does really well to get in behind the full-back, comes inside and wins a corner with his low cross.  8:27PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL But that's how Mourinho teams roll! None of the play, hardly any of the chances, and they have the lead. Bournemouth are punished. Man Utd 1 - 0 Bournemouth (Romelu Lukaku, 25 min) Lukaku holds off Ake, Mata chips it to the back post and the striker easily outjumps the defender to head past the goalkeeper.  8:25PM 25 mins Man Utd vs Bournemouth shots on goal What a challenge by Arter! That's brilliant. Lingard carries the ball at pace towards the penalty area, has it under control as he starts to line up a shot and Arter slides in from behind to win it back.  8:24PM 24 mins Another shot for Bournemouth! Another decent De Gea save! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Dan Gosling, 23 min) The away team are all over United here, or they are until Matic wins a free-kick in his own area. Fraser is causing problems on that left wing. 8:22PM 21 mins Lukaku applauds Martial for a really smart pass, cutting inside onto his right and chipping into the area. It's just too high for Lukaku to reach and goes behind for goal kick.  King has a chance to run at Jones! It's a direct pass forward to Wilson, he dummies it and allows King through. Jones manages to get the block in. Bournemouth win a corner. United are defending these well though and Bournemouth have to work to win the second ball. Daniels glides inside, nobody picks him up and he shoots from 20 yards! De Gea parries it behind for a corner! Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 Bournemouth (Charlie Daniels, 21 min)   8:18PM 18 mins Bournemouth win a corner, get the clearance back out wide and send a cross from deep to the front post. Jones gets in its way, the second corner sets up Stanislas for a 20 yard thunderbolt... but he's closed down.  Lukaku catches Ake with a late slide tackle as the defender plays out from the back. He's lucky not to be booked there. 8:15PM 15 mins Lukaku holds off a tackle and turns inside but his pass is cleared away. United controlling possession here but haven't been able to get into the area apart from that early bicycle kick. Possession: Man Utd vs Bournemouth Lingard is off balance as he pokes a pass forward and he's so close to putting Lukaku in on goal! Ake manages to stick out a leg to stop it.  8:12PM 12 mins Valencia recovers as Fraser roams. Bournemouth's counter-attack is filled with quick players, United have to be really careful in midfield. Superb defending from Smalling as he holds off Wilson to make sure he can't be beaten for pace, then calmly passes forward. Lukaku keeps wandering over to the right wing rather than staying in the middle, with Mata running in behind. 8:09PM 9 mins United press high in the Bournemouth half to win it back but have to go back. Martial does superbly to hold two defenders off and wins a free-kick wide left but Bournemouth deal with it well and Wilson is nearly put away on the counter-attack as they work it forwards. Bournemouth are tightly sprung here, waiting to snap at United if they take their eyes off the ball. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   8:06PM 6 mins Patient build-up from United as Bournemouth look to fill the space in their own half and make things difficult. It's a decent turn of pace from Wilson and he might be away from the last man here! Wilson drives at goal, gets to the box and has to turn back. The cross afterwards misses everyone and goes behind for a goal kick. 8:02PM 3 mins There are still quite a few empty seats in Old Trafford this evening, which judging by the weather seems fair, and United are on the attack early on. Lingard tries a bicycle kick inside the 18 yard box but nearly puts it out for a throw-in. 8:00PM KICK-OFF Here we go! Bournemouth in Premier League light blue (slightly neon) get the game started. 7:55PM Teams warming up Credit: REUTERS Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:46PM No Pogba Why are Man Utd so much worse without Paul Pogba? Pogba is missing his second of three games for suspension and without the Frenchman in midfield, United lack real attacking quality in the centre of the park. I did some analysis of it last week, which you can read above. 7:35PM Howe's pre-match words �� “We go into every game looking to win and that’s no different here tonight. I want the same spirit as we showed here last season and we want everyone at 100 per cent.”#afcb �� pic.twitter.com/n7u7L9bnEY— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   7:32PM Milkgate WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? How the Manchester derby tunnel row played out timeline   7:23PM Jose Mourinho says "You lose a match, the best thing is always to play so it's good to have a match. "Ah but he's ready. He played Champions League, the cup against Swansea which is like Premier League, he's training with us all season, he's been on the bench nine games in a row getting his experience. "I think nobody would expect Bournemouth to be top of the league, they are in a safe position so I think they are doing a very positive season. We know they are capable of it, can defend well with two lines of four but they can counter-attack with fast options. It's a good match." 7:15PM Angel Gomes signs professional contract Credit: GETTY IMAGES  That's Nicky Butt looking all proud as he helps Angel Gomes, the very talented English midfielder, sign his first professional contract for Man Utd. He's already played for the first team and at 17-years-old is eligible to agree terms. You might not hear much about him until he's a bit older but still, perhaps this will be an important photograph one day. 7:06PM Starting lineups Man Utd Four changes for Mourinho. Luke Shaw gets his first Prmeier League appearance of the season. Tonight's #MUFC line-up to face Bournemouth... �� pic.twitter.com/xSPLdJTllI— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 13, 2017  Bournemouth �� Here's how we line up against @ManUtd this evening... #afcb �� pic.twitter.com/rhRDirIN96— AFC Bournemouth �� (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2017   6:40PM Good evening Welcome! It's our liveblog for Man Utd vs Bournemouth, the first game since milk was thrown and spilt in that tumultuous Manchester derby. We can't talk about that though... that would be disrespectful to Bournemouth (Jose Mourinho's opinion, not mine) and so that is who we must discuss.  United, second in the league, could really do with bouncing back tonight - and not in a Partridge kind of way. Man City have a lead of 11 points and could make that 14 if United slip up but Bournemouth are not going to be easy to turnover. Eddie Howe's side is 14th in the league just three points above relegation. How will the two teams lineup? Credit: REUTERS We won't know for sure until the teams are announced but it should be expected that both make changes from their last match to ensure stamina levels are tip top, though my fellow Football Manager enjoyers might agree that a few 92 per cents will be alright on the night.  Having enjoyed (that is not the right word) so little possession against Man City, United may come out with a different gameplan against Bournemouth. There's no need to sit back and counter, since that is what Bournemouth will be doing, but without Paul Pogba, United lack that free flowing link between defence and attack and tend to come unstuck.  Mourinho knows how to win games and trophies, whatever he comes up with for this one has to work because that gap at the top, and the noise from various pundits and fans suggesting that United's style of play is boring, is getting bigger and louder respectively.  Teams should be with us at 7pm. Follow the action with us here if you can't find it on TV (it's not on in the UK) and if you can, let us provide some instant analysis in the form of words and our lovely Roboblogger. You can send me things on Twitter @jj_bull but I quite like to avoid that place nowadays, so an old-fashioned email works too: joseph.bull@telegraph.co.uk.

Managerless Rangers' January transfer activity to be led by former Manchester City academy director

As they approach the January transfer window with no sign of filling their managerial vacancy, Rangers will rely upon Mark Allen to reinforce their squad for the second half of the season. The man formerly in charge of the Manchester City academy is now director of football at Ibrox and according to interim manager, Graeme Murty, Allen could be thwarted in pursuit of targets because of the absence of a manager in the wake of Derek McInnes’s decision to snub Rangers’ offer to take charge. “It’s possible but, to be perfectly honest, I think we're buying a bit of trouble if we get focused on it,” Murty said. “Our recruitment department and Mark are looking at targets. “We're in daily discussions but, as it comes closer to that time and to individual players, you'll have to talk to Mark because he's in charge of that side of it at the moment. “I haven't been told anything is going to stop us getting a player that we like but, similarly, I haven't yet been detailed with specific targets. That will just have to take care of itself when January comes.” Meanwhile, the gulf that must somehow be bridged if Rangers are ever to restore their credibility as challengers to Celtic can be summed up by their respective aims on visits to Easter Road. On Sunday Celtic left the stadium with their unbeaten run extended to 68 in successive domestic fixtures. Interim manager Graeme Murty thinks Rangers could suffer in the transfer market given their lack of a permanent manager Credit: PA On Wednesday Rangers will aim to get to four wins in a row, having achieved three on the bounce for the first time in a year after beating Aberdeen home and away as well as coming from behind to prevail against Ross County at Ibrox on Saturday. Hibernian, of course, are in good shape with Neil Lennon in charge of their first season back in the top flight of Scottish football and a win would put them level with Rangers on points, and perhaps also with Aberdeen, depending upon the outcome in Perth, where the Dons meet St Johnstone. Hibs beat Rangers at Ibrox when the hapless Pedro Caixinha was in charge earlier in the season, but Murty did not accept that it would be a marker for him to reverse that outcome. “It’s three points. There’s no point reading any more into that,” he said. Murty and his de facto assistant, Jonatan Johansson, were at Easter Road to watch Hibs play Celtic on Sunday, although the interim boss confessed that the value of the exercise was debatable because of Lennon’s versatility. “JJ and I actually questioned how useful it was because I am not sure that Hibs will play in the same manner against us. I think they will have a different mindset, but it was useful for me to see the environment and to see some of their personnel without being constrained by the TV screen, to see how they move and what their strengths are. “Then we came back and watched three or four hours of their games and seeing them play in different formations. Mr Lennon is very adept at changing formations within the game too and we have to be on our toes dealing with that. Rangers are aiming for a fourth win in a row Credit: PA “I just think they will be more intense than they were against Celtic. The way that Celtic play in spreading the pitch and playing out from the back, and them being so good at it, actually draws the teeth of any aggressive press at the moment. I think Hibs will have possibly a different formation from the start.” Asked if Rangers’ current modest unbeaten run has encouraged him to nourish hope of extending the sequence as far as the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on December 30, Murty said: This is Rangers - we should be looking at that anyway. “We are trying make sure we take care of one marker at a time. If we get carried away and start looking at Celtic Park, I have got no doubt there are opponents before that that will be looking to trip us up. “We have to deal with Hibs’ intensity, their level of play, because they have got some good players. They have been successful this season and we have to make sure we are fully prepared for that. “Then, if we get closer to Celtic, great, but let’s make sure we focus on our process and our game first. Let’s not worry about Celtic, let’s concern ourselves with us. “At Aberdeen, everyone contributed and even Carlos Pena was involved when he came off, congratulating the guys, realising that everyone has a part to play. “If we get that mindset, that togetherness, as I’ve said there are qualities and threats within our group that mean we can go and hurt teams.”

Managerless Rangers' January transfer activity to be led by former Manchester City academy director

As they approach the January transfer window with no sign of filling their managerial vacancy, Rangers will rely upon Mark Allen to reinforce their squad for the second half of the season. The man formerly in charge of the Manchester City academy is now director of football at Ibrox and according to interim manager, Graeme Murty, Allen could be thwarted in pursuit of targets because of the absence of a manager in the wake of Derek McInnes’s decision to snub Rangers’ offer to take charge. “It’s possible but, to be perfectly honest, I think we're buying a bit of trouble if we get focused on it,” Murty said. “Our recruitment department and Mark are looking at targets. “We're in daily discussions but, as it comes closer to that time and to individual players, you'll have to talk to Mark because he's in charge of that side of it at the moment. “I haven't been told anything is going to stop us getting a player that we like but, similarly, I haven't yet been detailed with specific targets. That will just have to take care of itself when January comes.” Meanwhile, the gulf that must somehow be bridged if Rangers are ever to restore their credibility as challengers to Celtic can be summed up by their respective aims on visits to Easter Road. On Sunday Celtic left the stadium with their unbeaten run extended to 68 in successive domestic fixtures. Interim manager Graeme Murty thinks Rangers could suffer in the transfer market given their lack of a permanent manager Credit: PA On Wednesday Rangers will aim to get to four wins in a row, having achieved three on the bounce for the first time in a year after beating Aberdeen home and away as well as coming from behind to prevail against Ross County at Ibrox on Saturday. Hibernian, of course, are in good shape with Neil Lennon in charge of their first season back in the top flight of Scottish football and a win would put them level with Rangers on points, and perhaps also with Aberdeen, depending upon the outcome in Perth, where the Dons meet St Johnstone. Hibs beat Rangers at Ibrox when the hapless Pedro Caixinha was in charge earlier in the season, but Murty did not accept that it would be a marker for him to reverse that outcome. “It’s three points. There’s no point reading any more into that,” he said. Murty and his de facto assistant, Jonatan Johansson, were at Easter Road to watch Hibs play Celtic on Sunday, although the interim boss confessed that the value of the exercise was debatable because of Lennon’s versatility. “JJ and I actually questioned how useful it was because I am not sure that Hibs will play in the same manner against us. I think they will have a different mindset, but it was useful for me to see the environment and to see some of their personnel without being constrained by the TV screen, to see how they move and what their strengths are. “Then we came back and watched three or four hours of their games and seeing them play in different formations. Mr Lennon is very adept at changing formations within the game too and we have to be on our toes dealing with that. Rangers are aiming for a fourth win in a row Credit: PA “I just think they will be more intense than they were against Celtic. The way that Celtic play in spreading the pitch and playing out from the back, and them being so good at it, actually draws the teeth of any aggressive press at the moment. I think Hibs will have possibly a different formation from the start.” Asked if Rangers’ current modest unbeaten run has encouraged him to nourish hope of extending the sequence as far as the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on December 30, Murty said: This is Rangers - we should be looking at that anyway. “We are trying make sure we take care of one marker at a time. If we get carried away and start looking at Celtic Park, I have got no doubt there are opponents before that that will be looking to trip us up. “We have to deal with Hibs’ intensity, their level of play, because they have got some good players. They have been successful this season and we have to make sure we are fully prepared for that. “Then, if we get closer to Celtic, great, but let’s make sure we focus on our process and our game first. Let’s not worry about Celtic, let’s concern ourselves with us. “At Aberdeen, everyone contributed and even Carlos Pena was involved when he came off, congratulating the guys, realising that everyone has a part to play. “If we get that mindset, that togetherness, as I’ve said there are qualities and threats within our group that mean we can go and hurt teams.”

Managerless Rangers' January transfer activity to be led by former Manchester City academy director

As they approach the January transfer window with no sign of filling their managerial vacancy, Rangers will rely upon Mark Allen to reinforce their squad for the second half of the season. The man formerly in charge of the Manchester City academy is now director of football at Ibrox and according to interim manager, Graeme Murty, Allen could be thwarted in pursuit of targets because of the absence of a manager in the wake of Derek McInnes’s decision to snub Rangers’ offer to take charge. “It’s possible but, to be perfectly honest, I think we're buying a bit of trouble if we get focused on it,” Murty said. “Our recruitment department and Mark are looking at targets. “We're in daily discussions but, as it comes closer to that time and to individual players, you'll have to talk to Mark because he's in charge of that side of it at the moment. “I haven't been told anything is going to stop us getting a player that we like but, similarly, I haven't yet been detailed with specific targets. That will just have to take care of itself when January comes.” Meanwhile, the gulf that must somehow be bridged if Rangers are ever to restore their credibility as challengers to Celtic can be summed up by their respective aims on visits to Easter Road. On Sunday Celtic left the stadium with their unbeaten run extended to 68 in successive domestic fixtures. Interim manager Graeme Murty thinks Rangers could suffer in the transfer market given their lack of a permanent manager Credit: PA On Wednesday Rangers will aim to get to four wins in a row, having achieved three on the bounce for the first time in a year after beating Aberdeen home and away as well as coming from behind to prevail against Ross County at Ibrox on Saturday. Hibernian, of course, are in good shape with Neil Lennon in charge of their first season back in the top flight of Scottish football and a win would put them level with Rangers on points, and perhaps also with Aberdeen, depending upon the outcome in Perth, where the Dons meet St Johnstone. Hibs beat Rangers at Ibrox when the hapless Pedro Caixinha was in charge earlier in the season, but Murty did not accept that it would be a marker for him to reverse that outcome. “It’s three points. There’s no point reading any more into that,” he said. Murty and his de facto assistant, Jonatan Johansson, were at Easter Road to watch Hibs play Celtic on Sunday, although the interim boss confessed that the value of the exercise was debatable because of Lennon’s versatility. “JJ and I actually questioned how useful it was because I am not sure that Hibs will play in the same manner against us. I think they will have a different mindset, but it was useful for me to see the environment and to see some of their personnel without being constrained by the TV screen, to see how they move and what their strengths are. “Then we came back and watched three or four hours of their games and seeing them play in different formations. Mr Lennon is very adept at changing formations within the game too and we have to be on our toes dealing with that. Rangers are aiming for a fourth win in a row Credit: PA “I just think they will be more intense than they were against Celtic. The way that Celtic play in spreading the pitch and playing out from the back, and them being so good at it, actually draws the teeth of any aggressive press at the moment. I think Hibs will have possibly a different formation from the start.” Asked if Rangers’ current modest unbeaten run has encouraged him to nourish hope of extending the sequence as far as the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on December 30, Murty said: This is Rangers - we should be looking at that anyway. “We are trying make sure we take care of one marker at a time. If we get carried away and start looking at Celtic Park, I have got no doubt there are opponents before that that will be looking to trip us up. “We have to deal with Hibs’ intensity, their level of play, because they have got some good players. They have been successful this season and we have to make sure we are fully prepared for that. “Then, if we get closer to Celtic, great, but let’s make sure we focus on our process and our game first. Let’s not worry about Celtic, let’s concern ourselves with us. “At Aberdeen, everyone contributed and even Carlos Pena was involved when he came off, congratulating the guys, realising that everyone has a part to play. “If we get that mindset, that togetherness, as I’ve said there are qualities and threats within our group that mean we can go and hurt teams.”

Graeme Murty acclaims Rangers squad as reign is extended

Graeme Murty’s sojourn as Rangers caretaker manager has invested the term with unexpected substance, as confirmed by the latest extension to his Ibrox duties. The Under-20s coach took charge of the first team for six games after Mark Warburton left in February and had  supervised another half dozen following Pedro Caixinha’s sacking, when he got the call on Thursday night to inform him that he would remain in place until New Year, by which point he will have been in charge for 18 matches. Given that Caixinha lasted all of 26 games, if Rangers should still have Celtic in sight come the start of January, Murty will be entitled to claim the lion’s share of credit, although, typically, he cited the contribution of others when the matter was raised. “Players might have something to do with it,” he said. “I’d contend that if we are in that sort of shape, our squad and our history would dictate that’s where we should be. “I couldn’t have imagined it. I couldn’t have seen myself in this position. I don’t like talking too much about  myself, but the reality is I have a big job ahead of me and so do the players and theirs doesn’t get any easier. “The speculation around the club could lead to them losing focus. “It’s our job to make sure the players don’t do that, that they concentrate and do their jobs on the pitch, and meet the standards they reached against Aberdeen [in the 2-1 win].” The Ibrox directors have been condemned and scorned for the absence of a fall-back plan when they were rebuffed by Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes on Thursday. That they were all but certain that McInnes would accept is not in doubt, although one can only speculate about the source of their confidence. One Ibrox insider told The Sunday Telegraph: “Something spooked him at the last minute”. The Rangers board’s belief that McInnes would be their 18th manager and their complete surprise at his decision was reflected in Dave King’s scarcely disguised sarcasm when he retorted that “moving to a massive club like Rangers is a big step with concomitant risk”. The club’s longer-term playing issues are, however, being addressed as best they can be in the absence of a manager and targets have been drawn up for the January transfer window, according to Murty. “Identifying players is down to the new scouting department that’s been put together expressly for that purpose,” he said. “Those things will be collated by Mark Allen [director of football]. As to who the personnel are I’m not sure yet, but my thoughts have been asked for and given freely. “That’s how we operate. The person who comes in as permanent manager will get the benefit of that, albeit he might want some input also. “Behind the scenes, we’ve been compiling databases for the incoming manager. They list physical load, physical capacity, even their body comps, to make sure the manager coming in has the clearest physical picture of the playing staff available. Derek McInnes rejected the Rangers job Credit: PA “We’ve looked at all the players and I’ve a very good idea of who is capable of doing what at what stage – and where they are in terms of their physical cycle. So, planning an advance schedule from that or a longer schedule from that is easier than it would be if we didn’t have a sensational staff behind the scenes.” On the field, meanwhile, Rangers’ inconsistency denied them the possibility of going top of the Premiership on Saturday night, a position which would have been attainable had they preceded their back-to-back league victories over Aberdeen with the same against Hamilton and Dundee, games which were lost. “We dropped two points against  Kilmarnock as well,” added Murty. “We’ve not managed to sustain our  intensity or our levels and it’s our job collectively as staff and as players to make sure we do that. If we do that it lifts the fans, and makes Ibrox an  intimidating place to come and play. “We need to do that we can push on from what’s been a challenging time.” The challenge, though, continued on Saturday at home to Ross County, who went ahead after 10 minutes when Craig Curran headed past goalkeeper Wes Foderingham. Rangers equalised on the hour through striker Alfredo Morelos before defender Danny Wilson headed home with seven minutes remaining to ensure a third successive victory for the first time in a year. At Rugby Park, doubles from Kris Boyd and Eamonn Brophy, plus Niall Keown’s own goal, saw Kilmarnock win 5-1 against Partick Thistle, for whom Chris Erskine netted. Motherwell’s tough spell was extended when, after two defeats and a draw against Celtic, they lost to a deflected Kyle Lafferty shot for Hearts at Tynecastle. Stefan Scougall’s strike gave St Johnstone all three points against Hamilton at New Douglas Park.

Graeme Murty acclaims Rangers squad as reign is extended

Graeme Murty’s sojourn as Rangers caretaker manager has invested the term with unexpected substance, as confirmed by the latest extension to his Ibrox duties. The Under-20s coach took charge of the first team for six games after Mark Warburton left in February and had  supervised another half dozen following Pedro Caixinha’s sacking, when he got the call on Thursday night to inform him that he would remain in place until New Year, by which point he will have been in charge for 18 matches. Given that Caixinha lasted all of 26 games, if Rangers should still have Celtic in sight come the start of January, Murty will be entitled to claim the lion’s share of credit, although, typically, he cited the contribution of others when the matter was raised. “Players might have something to do with it,” he said. “I’d contend that if we are in that sort of shape, our squad and our history would dictate that’s where we should be. “I couldn’t have imagined it. I couldn’t have seen myself in this position. I don’t like talking too much about  myself, but the reality is I have a big job ahead of me and so do the players and theirs doesn’t get any easier. “The speculation around the club could lead to them losing focus. “It’s our job to make sure the players don’t do that, that they concentrate and do their jobs on the pitch, and meet the standards they reached against Aberdeen [in the 2-1 win].” The Ibrox directors have been condemned and scorned for the absence of a fall-back plan when they were rebuffed by Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes on Thursday. That they were all but certain that McInnes would accept is not in doubt, although one can only speculate about the source of their confidence. One Ibrox insider told The Sunday Telegraph: “Something spooked him at the last minute”. The Rangers board’s belief that McInnes would be their 18th manager and their complete surprise at his decision was reflected in Dave King’s scarcely disguised sarcasm when he retorted that “moving to a massive club like Rangers is a big step with concomitant risk”. The club’s longer-term playing issues are, however, being addressed as best they can be in the absence of a manager and targets have been drawn up for the January transfer window, according to Murty. “Identifying players is down to the new scouting department that’s been put together expressly for that purpose,” he said. “Those things will be collated by Mark Allen [director of football]. As to who the personnel are I’m not sure yet, but my thoughts have been asked for and given freely. “That’s how we operate. The person who comes in as permanent manager will get the benefit of that, albeit he might want some input also. “Behind the scenes, we’ve been compiling databases for the incoming manager. They list physical load, physical capacity, even their body comps, to make sure the manager coming in has the clearest physical picture of the playing staff available. Derek McInnes rejected the Rangers job Credit: PA “We’ve looked at all the players and I’ve a very good idea of who is capable of doing what at what stage – and where they are in terms of their physical cycle. So, planning an advance schedule from that or a longer schedule from that is easier than it would be if we didn’t have a sensational staff behind the scenes.” On the field, meanwhile, Rangers’ inconsistency denied them the possibility of going top of the Premiership on Saturday night, a position which would have been attainable had they preceded their back-to-back league victories over Aberdeen with the same against Hamilton and Dundee, games which were lost. “We dropped two points against  Kilmarnock as well,” added Murty. “We’ve not managed to sustain our  intensity or our levels and it’s our job collectively as staff and as players to make sure we do that. If we do that it lifts the fans, and makes Ibrox an  intimidating place to come and play. “We need to do that we can push on from what’s been a challenging time.” The challenge, though, continued on Saturday at home to Ross County, who went ahead after 10 minutes when Craig Curran headed past goalkeeper Wes Foderingham. Rangers equalised on the hour through striker Alfredo Morelos before defender Danny Wilson headed home with seven minutes remaining to ensure a third successive victory for the first time in a year. At Rugby Park, doubles from Kris Boyd and Eamonn Brophy, plus Niall Keown’s own goal, saw Kilmarnock win 5-1 against Partick Thistle, for whom Chris Erskine netted. Motherwell’s tough spell was extended when, after two defeats and a draw against Celtic, they lost to a deflected Kyle Lafferty shot for Hearts at Tynecastle. Stefan Scougall’s strike gave St Johnstone all three points against Hamilton at New Douglas Park.

Bruno Alves could hand in Rangers transfer request with lack of game time mounting

Bruno Alves could table a transfer request to Rangers in January if a lack of game time threatens his chances of a World Cup campaign with Portugal. The 35-year-old defender was brought to Ibrox on a free contract last May and was the first signing of Pedro Caixinha, whose short-lived attempt to reconstruct the playing squad came to an end when he was sacked in October. With the failure of Rangers’ attempt to prise Derek McInnes from Aberdeen, the managerial hiatus at Ibrox will continue at least until New Year, a prospect which has alarmed Alves. Injury kept him out of Rangers’ 3-0 victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie last Sunday and he has only played in 13 of the club’s 19 fixtures this season. It was reported that Alves had refused to be on the bench when Rangers lost to Hamilton on November 18, an account that was vigorously denied by the club, with interim manager, Graeme Murty, stating that the player had suffered a fall in training. The fact remains, however, that Alves has not been a fixture in Murty’s sides and, while expressing regard for the caretaker boss, the player also revealed his concern for his place in the Portugal squad, ahead of a summer schedule in Russia which includes a group stage collision with Spain. Asked if he had any conversation with Murty about his position at Rangers, Alves said: “He just spoke with me before the first game I stayed on the bench, but I always respect decisions. I am a professional player. It is six weeks since Rangers sacked Pedro Caixinha Credit: Reuters “I also respect all the other players who are fighting for the position, but I have my own ambition. I am still playing for the national team and I need to play. We have a World Cup soon and I need to play and be fit. This is important for me, not just to help Rangers, but I also want to help myself to go to the World Cup. “I like to play. If I don’t have space here or if I don’t play, I need to think about my future or about what’s going to happen next. I am happy playing. “I respect everybody. I don’t want to be a problem to anybody, I want to be a solution. Have I been at a club without a manager for this long? No. “I don't have any regrets. Pedro was responsible for me coming to Rangers - but I already knew all about the club. “It was my personal choice to come here, to help the team be better and achieve the position the club had in the past. That's what we all want - to put Rangers in the right place.”

Bruno Alves could hand in Rangers transfer request with lack of game time mounting

Bruno Alves could table a transfer request to Rangers in January if a lack of game time threatens his chances of a World Cup campaign with Portugal. The 35-year-old defender was brought to Ibrox on a free contract last May and was the first signing of Pedro Caixinha, whose short-lived attempt to reconstruct the playing squad came to an end when he was sacked in October. With the failure of Rangers’ attempt to prise Derek McInnes from Aberdeen, the managerial hiatus at Ibrox will continue at least until New Year, a prospect which has alarmed Alves. Injury kept him out of Rangers’ 3-0 victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie last Sunday and he has only played in 13 of the club’s 19 fixtures this season. It was reported that Alves had refused to be on the bench when Rangers lost to Hamilton on November 18, an account that was vigorously denied by the club, with interim manager, Graeme Murty, stating that the player had suffered a fall in training. The fact remains, however, that Alves has not been a fixture in Murty’s sides and, while expressing regard for the caretaker boss, the player also revealed his concern for his place in the Portugal squad, ahead of a summer schedule in Russia which includes a group stage collision with Spain. Asked if he had any conversation with Murty about his position at Rangers, Alves said: “He just spoke with me before the first game I stayed on the bench, but I always respect decisions. I am a professional player. It is six weeks since Rangers sacked Pedro Caixinha Credit: Reuters “I also respect all the other players who are fighting for the position, but I have my own ambition. I am still playing for the national team and I need to play. We have a World Cup soon and I need to play and be fit. This is important for me, not just to help Rangers, but I also want to help myself to go to the World Cup. “I like to play. If I don’t have space here or if I don’t play, I need to think about my future or about what’s going to happen next. I am happy playing. “I respect everybody. I don’t want to be a problem to anybody, I want to be a solution. Have I been at a club without a manager for this long? No. “I don't have any regrets. Pedro was responsible for me coming to Rangers - but I already knew all about the club. “It was my personal choice to come here, to help the team be better and achieve the position the club had in the past. That's what we all want - to put Rangers in the right place.”

Derek McInnes turns down Rangers to remain Aberdeen manager

Derek McInnes turns down Rangers to remain Aberdeen manager

Last time an Aberdeen manager turned down the chance to take charge of Rangers, a fellow by name of Ferguson was the target for the Ibrox board. He at least had long-term prospects which bore fruit at both Pittodrie and Old Trafford. No such alluring vista presents itself to Derek McInnes – who, like Ferguson, is a former Rangers player – yet the 46-year-old could not be convinced that a move to Glasgow was in the best interests of his career, despite the fact that the Ibrox directors were prepared to meet the £800,000 compensation due to Aberdeen and back him with funds far greater than he could ever expect in the Granite City. Moreover, having steered the Dons to second place in all three domestic competitions last season, McInnes has just seen his team beaten 3-0 and 2-1 in back-to-back league meetings with Rangers, who were initially refused permission by the Aberdeen chairman, Stewart Milne, to let them speak to his manager. It was open to McInnes to resign and accept Rangers’ offer and, when he and his assistant, Tony Docherty, did not take Thursday’s training session, it looked as though the bookmakers’ odds of 25/1 against him remaining at Pittodrie had been justified. Milne, though, told a different tale in a statement posted on his club’s website. “As everyone is aware, Rangers made an approach on Tuesday evening and they were refused permission to speak with Derek,” Milne said. “I spoke with Derek who felt it was a major thing to be considered for the managerial position at a club such as Rangers and we agreed that he could have some time to think about the approach and talk it through with his family. McInnes used to play for Rangers. Here he is pictured with Paul Gascoigne in 1996 Credit: action images “Over the past 48 hours, I have been in constant dialogue with Derek and having weighed up the opportunity, he has taken the decision to remain as Aberdeen FC manager. Derek has also been maintaining close contact with Paul Sheerin ahead of tomorrow's game at Dundee. “Derek appreciates all that he has at this club and feels he wants to keep driving the club forward. This is where he wants to be and he feels he very much has unfinished business with Aberdeen FC. “I personally am delighted that Derek has decided to remain with the club and everyone looks forward to putting the speculation of the past few weeks behind us and concentrating on matters on the park, starting at Dens tomorrow evening.” It is now six weeks since Rangers sacked Pedro Caixinha, but at the club’s annual general meeting in Glasgow on November 30, the Ibrox chairman, Dave King, told shareholders that the process of identifying a replacement had been methodical. “After Pedro’s departure, our timescale for a new boss was not to name him as soon as possible, but to be thorough in the recruitment process,” he said. “If a manager had popped up quite quickly in terms of our evaluations, and we felt he was absolutely the right person, we would have sealed it as soon as possible. As a result, it focused us to look outside of what is available to managers who are currently under contract and as soon as you move into that area it’s a different type of negotiation. “You’ve got to talk to clubs, you’ve got to talk about compensation and so it has taken longer than we would have liked, but no longer than is necessary. It’s such a key appointment, whether we take another week or so should not be a factor in deciding on an appointment we’re going to make for the next three years.” It is six weeks since Rangers sacked Pedro Caixinha Credit: Reuters Telegraph Sport understands that Rangers had not been informed of McInnes’s decision before Milne’s statement appeared online, although they were aware of the likelihood that they would not get their man when suggestions to that effect appeared on social media shortly before the official announcement. Will McInnes remain at Pittodrie in the long-term? Probably not. He has been on the radar of English clubs and, indeed, turned down Sunderland in June, a development that prompted Aberdeen to offer him and Docherty new three-year contracts. Aberdeen supporters would likely wish him well for a move south of the border. His name, however, would have become anathema to Dons fans had he accepted the offer from the club they dislike more than any other. Instead, like the illustrious Ferguson 35 years previously, McInnes’s rebuff of Rangers has guaranteed that he can always count on a warm welcome at Pittodrie.

Derek McInnes turns down Rangers to remain Aberdeen manager

Derek McInnes turns down Rangers to remain Aberdeen manager

Last time an Aberdeen manager turned down the chance to take charge of Rangers, a fellow by name of Ferguson was the target for the Ibrox board. He at least had long-term prospects which bore fruit at both Pittodrie and Old Trafford. No such alluring vista presents itself to Derek McInnes – who, like Ferguson, is a former Rangers player – yet the 46-year-old could not be convinced that a move to Glasgow was in the best interests of his career, despite the fact that the Ibrox directors were prepared to meet the £800,000 compensation due to Aberdeen and back him with funds far greater than he could ever expect in the Granite City. Moreover, having steered the Dons to second place in all three domestic competitions last season, McInnes has just seen his team beaten 3-0 and 2-1 in back-to-back league meetings with Rangers, who were initially refused permission by the Aberdeen chairman, Stewart Milne, to let them speak to his manager. It was open to McInnes to resign and accept Rangers’ offer and, when he and his assistant, Tony Docherty, did not take Thursday’s training session, it looked as though the bookmakers’ odds of 25/1 against him remaining at Pittodrie had been justified. Milne, though, told a different tale in a statement posted on his club’s website. “As everyone is aware, Rangers made an approach on Tuesday evening and they were refused permission to speak with Derek,” Milne said. “I spoke with Derek who felt it was a major thing to be considered for the managerial position at a club such as Rangers and we agreed that he could have some time to think about the approach and talk it through with his family. McInnes used to play for Rangers. Here he is pictured with Paul Gascoigne in 1996 Credit: action images “Over the past 48 hours, I have been in constant dialogue with Derek and having weighed up the opportunity, he has taken the decision to remain as Aberdeen FC manager. Derek has also been maintaining close contact with Paul Sheerin ahead of tomorrow's game at Dundee. “Derek appreciates all that he has at this club and feels he wants to keep driving the club forward. This is where he wants to be and he feels he very much has unfinished business with Aberdeen FC. “I personally am delighted that Derek has decided to remain with the club and everyone looks forward to putting the speculation of the past few weeks behind us and concentrating on matters on the park, starting at Dens tomorrow evening.” It is now six weeks since Rangers sacked Pedro Caixinha, but at the club’s annual general meeting in Glasgow on November 30, the Ibrox chairman, Dave King, told shareholders that the process of identifying a replacement had been methodical. “After Pedro’s departure, our timescale for a new boss was not to name him as soon as possible, but to be thorough in the recruitment process,” he said. “If a manager had popped up quite quickly in terms of our evaluations, and we felt he was absolutely the right person, we would have sealed it as soon as possible. As a result, it focused us to look outside of what is available to managers who are currently under contract and as soon as you move into that area it’s a different type of negotiation. “You’ve got to talk to clubs, you’ve got to talk about compensation and so it has taken longer than we would have liked, but no longer than is necessary. It’s such a key appointment, whether we take another week or so should not be a factor in deciding on an appointment we’re going to make for the next three years.” It is six weeks since Rangers sacked Pedro Caixinha Credit: Reuters Telegraph Sport understands that Rangers had not been informed of McInnes’s decision before Milne’s statement appeared online, although they were aware of the likelihood that they would not get their man when suggestions to that effect appeared on social media shortly before the official announcement. Will McInnes remain at Pittodrie in the long-term? Probably not. He has been on the radar of English clubs and, indeed, turned down Sunderland in June, a development that prompted Aberdeen to offer him and Docherty new three-year contracts. Aberdeen supporters would likely wish him well for a move south of the border. His name, however, would have become anathema to Dons fans had he accepted the offer from the club they dislike more than any other. Instead, like the illustrious Ferguson 35 years previously, McInnes’s rebuff of Rangers has guaranteed that he can always count on a warm welcome at Pittodrie.

Celtic will look to maintain momentum against Anderlecht, says Brendan Rodgers

There current flow of Celtic’s fortunes is beginning to resemble a riptide and it will surge onwards on Tuesday evening if they do nothing more than avoid a 3-0 defeat by Anderlecht in the teams’ last Champions League group stage outing at Parkhead. Any outcome better than that will guarantee the Hoops European football after Christmas for the first time in five years. Such reward would complete a particularly satisfying few days for Brendan Rodgers & Co, who last week successfully defended the first leg of the previous season’s domestic treble by beating Motherwell in the Betfred Scottish League Cup final and went on to win back-to-back league matches against the same opponents. At the same time, Celtic were done a good turn by Rangers’ wins over Aberdeen at Ibrox and Pittodrie, which left the league leaders with a seven-point advantage over both of these sides in the Scottish Premiership. Like Anderlecht, Celtic saw their chances of progressing in the Champions League universally discounted because of the presence of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in Group B. The difference between the two bottom sides, though, was established by Celtic’s impressive 3-0 win in Brussels. The feat did not impress Paul van Himst, the former Anderlecht player and coach, who expressed disdain for the Scottish champions when he said: “We should never have allowed ourselves to lose to a team of peasants like Celtic. They were a bunch of woodcutters.” The extraordinary outburst by Himst, who holds the joint scoring record of 30 goals for the Belgian national side, evoked memories of Celtic’s most recent progress to the later stages of European competition, under Neil Lennon in 2012 when a Russian journalist interrupted Scott Brown’s media briefing before a home match against Spartak Moscow to present the Parkhead captain with a copy of Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ and accuse Celtic of ‘crimes against football’ in respect of their earlier victory in Moscow. Odsonne Edouard came into the Celtic team and scored a hat-trick on the weekend Credit:  Getty Images The scribe’s specific grievance was that Celtic’s success contributed to the sacking of Unai Emery. If Emery bore any grievance on that score, he has remedied them in his current incarnation as manager of Paris Saint-Germain, having beaten Celtic 5-0 in Glasgow and even more emphatically in France, where they won 7-1. Brown, meanwhile, has remained in situ at Celtic and his appearance this evening will see him set a new Scottish record of 69 appearances in Europe's premier competition, surpassing the total achieved by Kenny Dalglish, with Celtic and Liverpool. “He's in great company with Kenny, who is obviously a real legend here and at Liverpool,” said Rodgers. “It's a mark of his consistency, to have played that number of games under various managers. It's a great accolade and hopefully he's got many more ahead of him.” Group B permutations Rodgers also seeks to reach a significant milestone. Celtic have not won a Champions League group stage game on their own turf in five attempts under his management. “We played very well in the first game over there and now we look to finish it off at home,” said the manager. “They will come to attack and look for a victory but that's also what we want. We want to give the supporters a Champions League win at home. That would take us to six points, which would show a great level of progress for us at this level. “For us it’s 0-0. We want to win the game. We’ll be tactically prepared and look to put on a performance. We know if we can do that then it will equate to a good result for us. Celtic beat Anderlecht 3-0 in September Credit: REUTERS “In my time playing here in the Champions League has been great. It would be nice to finish it with a win. You can never switch the engine off at this level. You can’t switch off for a second.” Rodgers had the squad capacity to field several non-regulars in the 5-1 home win over Motherwell on Saturday and one of the incomers, Odsonne Edouard, took advantage of the opportunity to net a hat-trick, having scored only once previously for the team he joined on loan from PSG in the summer. “His confidence is really high and it gives us another option,” Rodgers said of the 19-year-old. “I’ve got three different types of strikers. Odsonne has settled in very well and his talent was there for all to see at the weekend. “Along with Leigh [Griffiths], who's shown he is a fantastic goalscorer, he and Moussa give us great striking options. "He's very young. He comes here with a great track record and he's come to develop his game. Myself and the other coaching staff, we see that development on and off the field. He has all the attributes, he's very quick. He's very strong and mentally he's maturing all the time.” Celtic (probable) (4-2-3-1):Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Ntcham, Brown; Forrest, McGregor, Sinclair; Dembele. Anderlecht (probable) (3-4-3): Seis; Spajic, Deschacht, Kara; Appiah, Dendoncker, Kums, Trebel; Onyekuru, Hanni, Teodorczyk Referee: Matej Jug (Slovenia).

Celtic will look to maintain momentum against Anderlecht, says Brendan Rodgers

There current flow of Celtic’s fortunes is beginning to resemble a riptide and it will surge onwards on Tuesday evening if they do nothing more than avoid a 3-0 defeat by Anderlecht in the teams’ last Champions League group stage outing at Parkhead. Any outcome better than that will guarantee the Hoops European football after Christmas for the first time in five years. Such reward would complete a particularly satisfying few days for Brendan Rodgers & Co, who last week successfully defended the first leg of the previous season’s domestic treble by beating Motherwell in the Betfred Scottish League Cup final and went on to win back-to-back league matches against the same opponents. At the same time, Celtic were done a good turn by Rangers’ wins over Aberdeen at Ibrox and Pittodrie, which left the league leaders with a seven-point advantage over both of these sides in the Scottish Premiership. Like Anderlecht, Celtic saw their chances of progressing in the Champions League universally discounted because of the presence of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in Group B. The difference between the two bottom sides, though, was established by Celtic’s impressive 3-0 win in Brussels. The feat did not impress Paul van Himst, the former Anderlecht player and coach, who expressed disdain for the Scottish champions when he said: “We should never have allowed ourselves to lose to a team of peasants like Celtic. They were a bunch of woodcutters.” The extraordinary outburst by Himst, who holds the joint scoring record of 30 goals for the Belgian national side, evoked memories of Celtic’s most recent progress to the later stages of European competition, under Neil Lennon in 2012 when a Russian journalist interrupted Scott Brown’s media briefing before a home match against Spartak Moscow to present the Parkhead captain with a copy of Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ and accuse Celtic of ‘crimes against football’ in respect of their earlier victory in Moscow. Odsonne Edouard came into the Celtic team and scored a hat-trick on the weekend Credit:  Getty Images The scribe’s specific grievance was that Celtic’s success contributed to the sacking of Unai Emery. If Emery bore any grievance on that score, he has remedied them in his current incarnation as manager of Paris Saint-Germain, having beaten Celtic 5-0 in Glasgow and even more emphatically in France, where they won 7-1. Brown, meanwhile, has remained in situ at Celtic and his appearance this evening will see him set a new Scottish record of 69 appearances in Europe's premier competition, surpassing the total achieved by Kenny Dalglish, with Celtic and Liverpool. “He's in great company with Kenny, who is obviously a real legend here and at Liverpool,” said Rodgers. “It's a mark of his consistency, to have played that number of games under various managers. It's a great accolade and hopefully he's got many more ahead of him.” Group B permutations Rodgers also seeks to reach a significant milestone. Celtic have not won a Champions League group stage game on their own turf in five attempts under his management. “We played very well in the first game over there and now we look to finish it off at home,” said the manager. “They will come to attack and look for a victory but that's also what we want. We want to give the supporters a Champions League win at home. That would take us to six points, which would show a great level of progress for us at this level. “For us it’s 0-0. We want to win the game. We’ll be tactically prepared and look to put on a performance. We know if we can do that then it will equate to a good result for us. Celtic beat Anderlecht 3-0 in September Credit: REUTERS “In my time playing here in the Champions League has been great. It would be nice to finish it with a win. You can never switch the engine off at this level. You can’t switch off for a second.” Rodgers had the squad capacity to field several non-regulars in the 5-1 home win over Motherwell on Saturday and one of the incomers, Odsonne Edouard, took advantage of the opportunity to net a hat-trick, having scored only once previously for the team he joined on loan from PSG in the summer. “His confidence is really high and it gives us another option,” Rodgers said of the 19-year-old. “I’ve got three different types of strikers. Odsonne has settled in very well and his talent was there for all to see at the weekend. “Along with Leigh [Griffiths], who's shown he is a fantastic goalscorer, he and Moussa give us great striking options. "He's very young. He comes here with a great track record and he's come to develop his game. Myself and the other coaching staff, we see that development on and off the field. He has all the attributes, he's very quick. He's very strong and mentally he's maturing all the time.” Celtic (probable) (4-2-3-1):Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Ntcham, Brown; Forrest, McGregor, Sinclair; Dembele. Anderlecht (probable) (3-4-3): Seis; Spajic, Deschacht, Kara; Appiah, Dendoncker, Kums, Trebel; Onyekuru, Hanni, Teodorczyk Referee: Matej Jug (Slovenia).

Celtic will look to maintain momentum against Anderlecht, says Brendan Rodgers

There current flow of Celtic’s fortunes is beginning to resemble a riptide and it will surge onwards on Tuesday evening if they do nothing more than avoid a 3-0 defeat by Anderlecht in the teams’ last Champions League group stage outing at Parkhead. Any outcome better than that will guarantee the Hoops European football after Christmas for the first time in five years. Such reward would complete a particularly satisfying few days for Brendan Rodgers & Co, who last week successfully defended the first leg of the previous season’s domestic treble by beating Motherwell in the Betfred Scottish League Cup final and went on to win back-to-back league matches against the same opponents. At the same time, Celtic were done a good turn by Rangers’ wins over Aberdeen at Ibrox and Pittodrie, which left the league leaders with a seven-point advantage over both of these sides in the Scottish Premiership. Like Anderlecht, Celtic saw their chances of progressing in the Champions League universally discounted because of the presence of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in Group B. The difference between the two bottom sides, though, was established by Celtic’s impressive 3-0 win in Brussels. The feat did not impress Paul van Himst, the former Anderlecht player and coach, who expressed disdain for the Scottish champions when he said: “We should never have allowed ourselves to lose to a team of peasants like Celtic. They were a bunch of woodcutters.” The extraordinary outburst by Himst, who holds the joint scoring record of 30 goals for the Belgian national side, evoked memories of Celtic’s most recent progress to the later stages of European competition, under Neil Lennon in 2012 when a Russian journalist interrupted Scott Brown’s media briefing before a home match against Spartak Moscow to present the Parkhead captain with a copy of Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ and accuse Celtic of ‘crimes against football’ in respect of their earlier victory in Moscow. Odsonne Edouard came into the Celtic team and scored a hat-trick on the weekend Credit:  Getty Images The scribe’s specific grievance was that Celtic’s success contributed to the sacking of Unai Emery. If Emery bore any grievance on that score, he has remedied them in his current incarnation as manager of Paris Saint-Germain, having beaten Celtic 5-0 in Glasgow and even more emphatically in France, where they won 7-1. Brown, meanwhile, has remained in situ at Celtic and his appearance this evening will see him set a new Scottish record of 69 appearances in Europe's premier competition, surpassing the total achieved by Kenny Dalglish, with Celtic and Liverpool. “He's in great company with Kenny, who is obviously a real legend here and at Liverpool,” said Rodgers. “It's a mark of his consistency, to have played that number of games under various managers. It's a great accolade and hopefully he's got many more ahead of him.” Group B permutations Rodgers also seeks to reach a significant milestone. Celtic have not won a Champions League group stage game on their own turf in five attempts under his management. “We played very well in the first game over there and now we look to finish it off at home,” said the manager. “They will come to attack and look for a victory but that's also what we want. We want to give the supporters a Champions League win at home. That would take us to six points, which would show a great level of progress for us at this level. “For us it’s 0-0. We want to win the game. We’ll be tactically prepared and look to put on a performance. We know if we can do that then it will equate to a good result for us. Celtic beat Anderlecht 3-0 in September Credit: REUTERS “In my time playing here in the Champions League has been great. It would be nice to finish it with a win. You can never switch the engine off at this level. You can’t switch off for a second.” Rodgers had the squad capacity to field several non-regulars in the 5-1 home win over Motherwell on Saturday and one of the incomers, Odsonne Edouard, took advantage of the opportunity to net a hat-trick, having scored only once previously for the team he joined on loan from PSG in the summer. “His confidence is really high and it gives us another option,” Rodgers said of the 19-year-old. “I’ve got three different types of strikers. Odsonne has settled in very well and his talent was there for all to see at the weekend. “Along with Leigh [Griffiths], who's shown he is a fantastic goalscorer, he and Moussa give us great striking options. "He's very young. He comes here with a great track record and he's come to develop his game. Myself and the other coaching staff, we see that development on and off the field. He has all the attributes, he's very quick. He's very strong and mentally he's maturing all the time.” Celtic (probable) (4-2-3-1):Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Ntcham, Brown; Forrest, McGregor, Sinclair; Dembele. Anderlecht (probable) (3-4-3): Seis; Spajic, Deschacht, Kara; Appiah, Dendoncker, Kums, Trebel; Onyekuru, Hanni, Teodorczyk Referee: Matej Jug (Slovenia).

Rangers Fan View: Great win over Aberdeen but now is the time to really kick on

Rangers Fan View: Great win over Aberdeen but now is the time to really kick on

Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2: Derek McInnes remains favourite for Ibrox job despite losing dress rehearsal at Pittodrie

Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2: Derek McInnes remains favourite for Ibrox job despite losing dress rehearsal at Pittodrie

Rangers leapfrogged Aberdeen into second place in the Scottish Premiership on goal difference after a typically tumultuous contest at Pittodrie, where the overshadowing issue was whether or not Derek McInnes would be in charge of the home side for the last time, with Ibrox the touted destination.  On the field, the flashpoint was a Ryan Jack challenge which saw his studs go over the top and into Steve May’s shin, leaving the Aberdeen forward writhing on the turf as his assailant was shown a straight red card. By that stage, Rangers led from a Danny Wilson header and, despite their depleted numbers they doubled their advantage soon afterwards with a simple shot from close range by Josh Windass. Aberdeen, for whom Andrew Considine had headed against the crossbar, got themselves back into contention with a venomous free kick from the 19-year-old Frank Ross but, despite a late surge they, could not close the gap. Meetings of these sides have never been noted for an excess of mutual admiration but the customary antipathy was intensified on this occasion by the prospect of McInnes moving to Rangers, a scenario rated by one bookmaker at 25/1 on – in other words, a virtual certainty. Moreover, this was the second of back-to-back league meetings, Aberdeen having lost the first instalment 3-0 at Ibrox last Wednesday. When he emerged for the kick-off, McInnes applauded the Aberdeen fans in the man stand and was saluted in return, with the opprobrium from that quarter reserved for Jack, whose role as panto villain was guaranteed when he left the Granite City for Rangers during the summer. If the jeers had any effect, however, it was to focus Jack on the task in hand, to the point where he was the most effective midfielder on view in the first half. McInnes had made three changes to the Aberdeen line-up, with Ryan Christie, Greg Tansey and Kari Arnason replaced by Greg Stewart, Adam Rooney and Scott Wright, a combination that gave the home team an attacking look. In this case, appearances were deceptive because by the interval Rangers were well ahead in terms of possession and they led the corner kick count 4-1. Ryan Jack leaves the pitch following his dismissal on Sunday Credit: PA They were also in front thanks to Wilson’s contribution, which was the consequence of a foul by Graeme Shinnie on Jason Holt midway inside the Aberdeen half. The free kick was taken by Declan John and his whipped delivery found Wilson who, with the benefit of being unmarked, planted a looping header over the immobile Joe Lewis from 18 yards. Wilson did not emerge for the second half because of a head injury and Rangers were numerically depleted 11 minutes after the break when Jack was dismissed. The interim Ibrox manager, Graeme Murty, replaced Carlos Pena with Daniel Candeias, who made a decisive contribution in the 63rd minute with a precise low cross which Windass met with a sliding shot past Lewis. Two minutes later, Aberdeen were back in the game, thanks to Ross’s powerful free kick, which Wes Foderingham reached, but could not stop. Despite this encouragement, the home players could not muster the guile or accuracy to gain further reward. Questioned subsequently on the mooted move to Ibrox, McInnes said: “It’s certainly not been encouraged by anyone here. “I’ve not been happy with how things have played out. Whether the players are affected or not, I don’t know. We were fantastic last week against Kilmarnock [a 3-1 win] – a very Aberdeen performance – but during the week [defeat at Rangers] we didn’t play well. “I don’t think I set us up in the right way, but today we were far better set up and were really committed. It’s an easy thing to say and you can make that assumption but a lot of the players are still playing at a good level, some not so. It’s certainly not doing us any favours. “It’s been the elephant in the room for the last five or six weeks. "I’m not going to stand here and make any assumptions about what another club wants to do. You can see today how passionate we are about getting a result for Aberdeen.” Match details Aberdeen (4-2-3-1):Lewis; Logan, O’Connor, McKenna, Considine (Harvie 81); McLean, Shinnie; Stewart, May (Maynard 62), Wright (Ross 52); Rooney. Subs: Rogers (g), Reynolds, Arnason, Ball. Booked: Shinnie. Rangers (4-3-3): Foderingham; Tavernier, Bates, Wilson (Cardoso h-t), John; Jack, McCrorie, Holt; Miller, Pena (Candeias 58), Windass (Herrera 90). Subs: Alnwick (g), Hodson, Morelos, Barjonas. Booked: McCrorie, Windass, Herrera. Sent off: Jack. Referee: W Collum.

Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2: Derek McInnes remains favourite for Ibrox job despite losing dress rehearsal at Pittodrie

Rangers leapfrogged Aberdeen into second place in the Scottish Premiership on goal difference after a typically tumultuous contest at Pittodrie, where the overshadowing issue was whether or not Derek McInnes would be in charge of the home side for the last time, with Ibrox the touted destination.  On the field, the flashpoint was a Ryan Jack challenge which saw his studs go over the top and into Steve May’s shin, leaving the Aberdeen forward writhing on the turf as his assailant was shown a straight red card. By that stage, Rangers led from a Danny Wilson header and, despite their depleted numbers they doubled their advantage soon afterwards with a simple shot from close range by Josh Windass. Aberdeen, for whom Andrew Considine had headed against the crossbar, got themselves back into contention with a venomous free kick from the 19-year-old Frank Ross but, despite a late surge they, could not close the gap. Meetings of these sides have never been noted for an excess of mutual admiration but the customary antipathy was intensified on this occasion by the prospect of McInnes moving to Rangers, a scenario rated by one bookmaker at 25/1 on – in other words, a virtual certainty. Moreover, this was the second of back-to-back league meetings, Aberdeen having lost the first instalment 3-0 at Ibrox last Wednesday. When he emerged for the kick-off, McInnes applauded the Aberdeen fans in the man stand and was saluted in return, with the opprobrium from that quarter reserved for Jack, whose role as panto villain was guaranteed when he left the Granite City for Rangers during the summer. If the jeers had any effect, however, it was to focus Jack on the task in hand, to the point where he was the most effective midfielder on view in the first half. McInnes had made three changes to the Aberdeen line-up, with Ryan Christie, Greg Tansey and Kari Arnason replaced by Greg Stewart, Adam Rooney and Scott Wright, a combination that gave the home team an attacking look. In this case, appearances were deceptive because by the interval Rangers were well ahead in terms of possession and they led the corner kick count 4-1. Ryan Jack leaves the pitch following his dismissal on Sunday Credit: PA They were also in front thanks to Wilson’s contribution, which was the consequence of a foul by Graeme Shinnie on Jason Holt midway inside the Aberdeen half. The free kick was taken by Declan John and his whipped delivery found Wilson who, with the benefit of being unmarked, planted a looping header over the immobile Joe Lewis from 18 yards. Wilson did not emerge for the second half because of a head injury and Rangers were numerically depleted 11 minutes after the break when Jack was dismissed. The interim Ibrox manager, Graeme Murty, replaced Carlos Pena with Daniel Candeias, who made a decisive contribution in the 63rd minute with a precise low cross which Windass met with a sliding shot past Lewis. Two minutes later, Aberdeen were back in the game, thanks to Ross’s powerful free kick, which Wes Foderingham reached, but could not stop. Despite this encouragement, the home players could not muster the guile or accuracy to gain further reward. Questioned subsequently on the mooted move to Ibrox, McInnes said: “It’s certainly not been encouraged by anyone here. “I’ve not been happy with how things have played out. Whether the players are affected or not, I don’t know. We were fantastic last week against Kilmarnock [a 3-1 win] – a very Aberdeen performance – but during the week [defeat at Rangers] we didn’t play well. “I don’t think I set us up in the right way, but today we were far better set up and were really committed. It’s an easy thing to say and you can make that assumption but a lot of the players are still playing at a good level, some not so. It’s certainly not doing us any favours. “It’s been the elephant in the room for the last five or six weeks. "I’m not going to stand here and make any assumptions about what another club wants to do. You can see today how passionate we are about getting a result for Aberdeen.” Match details Aberdeen (4-2-3-1):Lewis; Logan, O’Connor, McKenna, Considine (Harvie 81); McLean, Shinnie; Stewart, May (Maynard 62), Wright (Ross 52); Rooney. Subs: Rogers (g), Reynolds, Arnason, Ball. Booked: Shinnie. Rangers (4-3-3): Foderingham; Tavernier, Bates, Wilson (Cardoso h-t), John; Jack, McCrorie, Holt; Miller, Pena (Candeias 58), Windass (Herrera 90). Subs: Alnwick (g), Hodson, Morelos, Barjonas. Booked: McCrorie, Windass, Herrera. Sent off: Jack. Referee: W Collum.

Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2: Derek McInnes remains favourite for Ibrox job despite losing dress rehearsal at Pittodrie

Celtic's form has James Forrest dreaming of a European run to rival 2003

James Forrest played for Celtic last time they were in a European final, when the Hoops lost 3-2 to Porto after extra time in Seville in 2003. To be more precise, while Martin O’Neill’s men were edged out of the silverware by a Porto side under the leadership of Jose Mourinho, Forrest was featuring as an 11-year-old for one of the Parkhead club’s boys’ teams. On Tuesday night, however, Celtic can secure European football after Christmas providing that they get any result better than a 4-0 defeat at home to Anderlecht in their final Champions League group match. Brendan Rodgers’ players would then go into the Europa League, a tournament which offers them the chance of progress at that level into the spring of next year. Celtic would require a degree of luck in the draw because although there are no teams of the calibre of Paris Saint-Germain – who have beaten them 5-0 in Glasgow and 7-1 in France in their Champions League group – the Europa League knockout stage will still feature the likes of Arsenal, AC Milan, Lazio, Diamo Kiev, Olympique Marseille and Villareal. Still, Hoops fans nourish hope of a campaign that would rekindle memories of the adventures of their 2003 side, who prevailed against Blackburn Rovers, Celta Vigo, Stuttgart, Liverpool and Boavista to reach the final, to which they were followed by an estimated 80,000 supporters, fewer than half of whom had tickets for the match. “It was a memorable year, a special season,” said Forrest. “They did really well, they got on a run, but back then, they were probably just taking it a game at time. I don't think they would have predicted that they would get to the final. Celtic's players trudge off after defeat in the 2003 Uefa Cup final Credit: REx feautures “We’re the same. I don't think anybody has really thought about the Europa League. At the start of the season the goal was to get into the Champions League and we wanted to be in Europe after Christmas. “Now we’re coming to the last Champions League game at home at Celtic Park and we want to make sure we have a good result and a positive performance and take it from there, game by game.” Forrest has enjoyed a buoyant campaign so far. Never a prolific scorer, his most productive season was 2011-12, when he netted nine times in 43 appearances. This time around he is on 10 goals from 32 outings and his strike for the opener in last Sunday’s Betfred Scottish League Cup final helped ensure him a 12th medal to show for his nine years at the club. “I’ve matched Bobby Lennox now by scoring in three League Cup Finals, which is great,” said the 26-year-old. “But I don't sit and count the medals. At Celtic, when you play in a final, you've normally got a game a few days later, so you just win it and move on. Celtic breezed past Motherwell Credit: Getty images “And you never want to stop with what you've got. I've been in the first team for seven years and only Broony (Scott Brown) is still here from when I made my debut. “The number of players who have come and gone is scary, but it's gone quite quickly. There have been ups and downs but it's been really enjoyable. “It’s hard to imagine myself playing for any other club. I've been here since I was nine years old so anywhere but Celtic would feel strange. “All my medals are in my flat. I'm not one for framing stuff but it's great to have so many – and the most important one is the next.” Rodgers made six changes to his team with Anderlecht in mind next week Credit: Getty images Forrest was on the bench for the third meeting on the bounce of Celtic and Motherwell. With the Anderlecht tie in mind, Rodgers made no fewer than six changes to the team who drew 1-1 at Fir Park in midweek. One of the incomers, Odsonne Edouard, made an immediate impact with two first half goals and only a very slow offside decision denied Tom Rogic another when he was put clear by Olivier Ntcham just before the break. Elliot Frear reduced the deficit against the run of play in the second half before Forrest arrived as a sub to net Celtic’s third and fifth in the 76th minute, before Odsonne secured his hat-trick from close range.       Elsewhere, there were victories for Kilmarnock at St Johnstone, Dundee away to Ross County and Hibernian against Partick Thistle at Firhill, while Hearts drew at home with Hamilton. Sunday sees attention switch to Pittodrie, where Aberdeen meet Rangers for the second time in four days, the Dons having lost 3-0 at Ibrox on Wednesday. The game will proceed against a background of intense speculation within Scottish football that Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, remains Rangers’ principal target to replace Pedro Caixinha, who was sacked in October and that developments could occur as early as Monday.

Celtic's form has James Forrest dreaming of a European run to rival 2003

James Forrest played for Celtic last time they were in a European final, when the Hoops lost 3-2 to Porto after extra time in Seville in 2003. To be more precise, while Martin O’Neill’s men were edged out of the silverware by a Porto side under the leadership of Jose Mourinho, Forrest was featuring as an 11-year-old for one of the Parkhead club’s boys’ teams. On Tuesday night, however, Celtic can secure European football after Christmas providing that they get any result better than a 4-0 defeat at home to Anderlecht in their final Champions League group match. Brendan Rodgers’ players would then go into the Europa League, a tournament which offers them the chance of progress at that level into the spring of next year. Celtic would require a degree of luck in the draw because although there are no teams of the calibre of Paris Saint-Germain – who have beaten them 5-0 in Glasgow and 7-1 in France in their Champions League group – the Europa League knockout stage will still feature the likes of Arsenal, AC Milan, Lazio, Diamo Kiev, Olympique Marseille and Villareal. Still, Hoops fans nourish hope of a campaign that would rekindle memories of the adventures of their 2003 side, who prevailed against Blackburn Rovers, Celta Vigo, Stuttgart, Liverpool and Boavista to reach the final, to which they were followed by an estimated 80,000 supporters, fewer than half of whom had tickets for the match. “It was a memorable year, a special season,” said Forrest. “They did really well, they got on a run, but back then, they were probably just taking it a game at time. I don't think they would have predicted that they would get to the final. Celtic's players trudge off after defeat in the 2003 Uefa Cup final Credit: REx feautures “We’re the same. I don't think anybody has really thought about the Europa League. At the start of the season the goal was to get into the Champions League and we wanted to be in Europe after Christmas. “Now we’re coming to the last Champions League game at home at Celtic Park and we want to make sure we have a good result and a positive performance and take it from there, game by game.” Forrest has enjoyed a buoyant campaign so far. Never a prolific scorer, his most productive season was 2011-12, when he netted nine times in 43 appearances. This time around he is on 10 goals from 32 outings and his strike for the opener in last Sunday’s Betfred Scottish League Cup final helped ensure him a 12th medal to show for his nine years at the club. “I’ve matched Bobby Lennox now by scoring in three League Cup Finals, which is great,” said the 26-year-old. “But I don't sit and count the medals. At Celtic, when you play in a final, you've normally got a game a few days later, so you just win it and move on. Celtic breezed past Motherwell Credit: Getty images “And you never want to stop with what you've got. I've been in the first team for seven years and only Broony (Scott Brown) is still here from when I made my debut. “The number of players who have come and gone is scary, but it's gone quite quickly. There have been ups and downs but it's been really enjoyable. “It’s hard to imagine myself playing for any other club. I've been here since I was nine years old so anywhere but Celtic would feel strange. “All my medals are in my flat. I'm not one for framing stuff but it's great to have so many – and the most important one is the next.” Rodgers made six changes to his team with Anderlecht in mind next week Credit: Getty images Forrest was on the bench for the third meeting on the bounce of Celtic and Motherwell. With the Anderlecht tie in mind, Rodgers made no fewer than six changes to the team who drew 1-1 at Fir Park in midweek. One of the incomers, Odsonne Edouard, made an immediate impact with two first half goals and only a very slow offside decision denied Tom Rogic another when he was put clear by Olivier Ntcham just before the break. Elliot Frear reduced the deficit against the run of play in the second half before Forrest arrived as a sub to net Celtic’s third and fifth in the 76th minute, before Odsonne secured his hat-trick from close range.       Elsewhere, there were victories for Kilmarnock at St Johnstone, Dundee away to Ross County and Hibernian against Partick Thistle at Firhill, while Hearts drew at home with Hamilton. Sunday sees attention switch to Pittodrie, where Aberdeen meet Rangers for the second time in four days, the Dons having lost 3-0 at Ibrox on Wednesday. The game will proceed against a background of intense speculation within Scottish football that Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, remains Rangers’ principal target to replace Pedro Caixinha, who was sacked in October and that developments could occur as early as Monday.

Celtic's form has James Forrest dreaming of a European run to rival 2003

James Forrest played for Celtic last time they were in a European final, when the Hoops lost 3-2 to Porto after extra time in Seville in 2003. To be more precise, while Martin O’Neill’s men were edged out of the silverware by a Porto side under the leadership of Jose Mourinho, Forrest was featuring as an 11-year-old for one of the Parkhead club’s boys’ teams. On Tuesday night, however, Celtic can secure European football after Christmas providing that they get any result better than a 4-0 defeat at home to Anderlecht in their final Champions League group match. Brendan Rodgers’ players would then go into the Europa League, a tournament which offers them the chance of progress at that level into the spring of next year. Celtic would require a degree of luck in the draw because although there are no teams of the calibre of Paris Saint-Germain – who have beaten them 5-0 in Glasgow and 7-1 in France in their Champions League group – the Europa League knockout stage will still feature the likes of Arsenal, AC Milan, Lazio, Diamo Kiev, Olympique Marseille and Villareal. Still, Hoops fans nourish hope of a campaign that would rekindle memories of the adventures of their 2003 side, who prevailed against Blackburn Rovers, Celta Vigo, Stuttgart, Liverpool and Boavista to reach the final, to which they were followed by an estimated 80,000 supporters, fewer than half of whom had tickets for the match. “It was a memorable year, a special season,” said Forrest. “They did really well, they got on a run, but back then, they were probably just taking it a game at time. I don't think they would have predicted that they would get to the final. Celtic's players trudge off after defeat in the 2003 Uefa Cup final Credit: REx feautures “We’re the same. I don't think anybody has really thought about the Europa League. At the start of the season the goal was to get into the Champions League and we wanted to be in Europe after Christmas. “Now we’re coming to the last Champions League game at home at Celtic Park and we want to make sure we have a good result and a positive performance and take it from there, game by game.” Forrest has enjoyed a buoyant campaign so far. Never a prolific scorer, his most productive season was 2011-12, when he netted nine times in 43 appearances. This time around he is on 10 goals from 32 outings and his strike for the opener in last Sunday’s Betfred Scottish League Cup final helped ensure him a 12th medal to show for his nine years at the club. “I’ve matched Bobby Lennox now by scoring in three League Cup Finals, which is great,” said the 26-year-old. “But I don't sit and count the medals. At Celtic, when you play in a final, you've normally got a game a few days later, so you just win it and move on. Celtic breezed past Motherwell Credit: Getty images “And you never want to stop with what you've got. I've been in the first team for seven years and only Broony (Scott Brown) is still here from when I made my debut. “The number of players who have come and gone is scary, but it's gone quite quickly. There have been ups and downs but it's been really enjoyable. “It’s hard to imagine myself playing for any other club. I've been here since I was nine years old so anywhere but Celtic would feel strange. “All my medals are in my flat. I'm not one for framing stuff but it's great to have so many – and the most important one is the next.” Rodgers made six changes to his team with Anderlecht in mind next week Credit: Getty images Forrest was on the bench for the third meeting on the bounce of Celtic and Motherwell. With the Anderlecht tie in mind, Rodgers made no fewer than six changes to the team who drew 1-1 at Fir Park in midweek. One of the incomers, Odsonne Edouard, made an immediate impact with two first half goals and only a very slow offside decision denied Tom Rogic another when he was put clear by Olivier Ntcham just before the break. Elliot Frear reduced the deficit against the run of play in the second half before Forrest arrived as a sub to net Celtic’s third and fifth in the 76th minute, before Odsonne secured his hat-trick from close range.       Elsewhere, there were victories for Kilmarnock at St Johnstone, Dundee away to Ross County and Hibernian against Partick Thistle at Firhill, while Hearts drew at home with Hamilton. Sunday sees attention switch to Pittodrie, where Aberdeen meet Rangers for the second time in four days, the Dons having lost 3-0 at Ibrox on Wednesday. The game will proceed against a background of intense speculation within Scottish football that Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, remains Rangers’ principal target to replace Pedro Caixinha, who was sacked in October and that developments could occur as early as Monday.

Celtic's form has James Forrest dreaming of a European run to rival 2003

James Forrest played for Celtic last time they were in a European final, when the Hoops lost 3-2 to Porto after extra time in Seville in 2003. To be more precise, while Martin O’Neill’s men were edged out of the silverware by a Porto side under the leadership of Jose Mourinho, Forrest was featuring as an 11-year-old for one of the Parkhead club’s boys’ teams. On Tuesday night, however, Celtic can secure European football after Christmas providing that they get any result better than a 4-0 defeat at home to Anderlecht in their final Champions League group match. Brendan Rodgers’ players would then go into the Europa League, a tournament which offers them the chance of progress at that level into the spring of next year. Celtic would require a degree of luck in the draw because although there are no teams of the calibre of Paris Saint-Germain – who have beaten them 5-0 in Glasgow and 7-1 in France in their Champions League group – the Europa League knockout stage will still feature the likes of Arsenal, AC Milan, Lazio, Diamo Kiev, Olympique Marseille and Villareal. Still, Hoops fans nourish hope of a campaign that would rekindle memories of the adventures of their 2003 side, who prevailed against Blackburn Rovers, Celta Vigo, Stuttgart, Liverpool and Boavista to reach the final, to which they were followed by an estimated 80,000 supporters, fewer than half of whom had tickets for the match. “It was a memorable year, a special season,” said Forrest. “They did really well, they got on a run, but back then, they were probably just taking it a game at time. I don't think they would have predicted that they would get to the final. Celtic's players trudge off after defeat in the 2003 Uefa Cup final Credit: REx feautures “We’re the same. I don't think anybody has really thought about the Europa League. At the start of the season the goal was to get into the Champions League and we wanted to be in Europe after Christmas. “Now we’re coming to the last Champions League game at home at Celtic Park and we want to make sure we have a good result and a positive performance and take it from there, game by game.” Forrest has enjoyed a buoyant campaign so far. Never a prolific scorer, his most productive season was 2011-12, when he netted nine times in 43 appearances. This time around he is on 10 goals from 32 outings and his strike for the opener in last Sunday’s Betfred Scottish League Cup final helped ensure him a 12th medal to show for his nine years at the club. “I’ve matched Bobby Lennox now by scoring in three League Cup Finals, which is great,” said the 26-year-old. “But I don't sit and count the medals. At Celtic, when you play in a final, you've normally got a game a few days later, so you just win it and move on. Celtic breezed past Motherwell Credit: Getty images “And you never want to stop with what you've got. I've been in the first team for seven years and only Broony (Scott Brown) is still here from when I made my debut. “The number of players who have come and gone is scary, but it's gone quite quickly. There have been ups and downs but it's been really enjoyable. “It’s hard to imagine myself playing for any other club. I've been here since I was nine years old so anywhere but Celtic would feel strange. “All my medals are in my flat. I'm not one for framing stuff but it's great to have so many – and the most important one is the next.” Rodgers made six changes to his team with Anderlecht in mind next week Credit: Getty images Forrest was on the bench for the third meeting on the bounce of Celtic and Motherwell. With the Anderlecht tie in mind, Rodgers made no fewer than six changes to the team who drew 1-1 at Fir Park in midweek. One of the incomers, Odsonne Edouard, made an immediate impact with two first half goals and only a very slow offside decision denied Tom Rogic another when he was put clear by Olivier Ntcham just before the break. Elliot Frear reduced the deficit against the run of play in the second half before Forrest arrived as a sub to net Celtic’s third and fifth in the 76th minute, before Odsonne secured his hat-trick from close range.       Elsewhere, there were victories for Kilmarnock at St Johnstone, Dundee away to Ross County and Hibernian against Partick Thistle at Firhill, while Hearts drew at home with Hamilton. Sunday sees attention switch to Pittodrie, where Aberdeen meet Rangers for the second time in four days, the Dons having lost 3-0 at Ibrox on Wednesday. The game will proceed against a background of intense speculation within Scottish football that Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, remains Rangers’ principal target to replace Pedro Caixinha, who was sacked in October and that developments could occur as early as Monday.

Celtic hoping to end Motherwell trilogy with victory following Fir Park scare

The number 67 – perpetually totemic for Celtic fans because of their European Cup win 50 years ago – will be doubly significant if the Scottish champions avoid defeat at home against Motherwell on Saturday. In that event, the Hoops will record their 67th successive unbeaten domestic game, an accomplishment Motherwell would dearly like to deny their hosts as the pair meet for the third time in a week. The teams are not alone in having to play the second instalment of a league double-header this weekend – Aberdeen host Rangers on Sunday, having lost 3-0 at Ibrox in midweek – but the fact that Motherwell and Celtic contested the Betfred Scottish Cup final last Sunday at Hampden Park guaranteed three collisions in succession and consequential friction. Motherwell came within two minutes of putting an end to Celtic’s extraordinary run at Fir Park on Wednesday only to inflict damage upon themselves when Andy Rose’s needless challenge on Callum McGregor was judged to merit a penalty kick by Willie Collum. Motherwell, already angered by what they believed was a dive by Scott Sinclair for what proved to be a decisive penalty kick in Sunday’s final, have asked the Scottish Football Association’s head of refereeing, John Fleming, for feedback on both decisions, but their manager, Stephen Robinson, said that he had not been involved in that exercise. “In truth, I’m expecting nothing,” he said. “It’s the people above me who have gone to John Fleming. For me, the decision was made and Celtic won the cup. They came back and got a point the other night. All the appealing and moaning in the world isn’t going to change that. “No-one’s talking about how good a game it was. We’re meant to be promoting Scottish football instead of talking about the negative aspects of it all the time. Celtic will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run Credit: Getty Images “You literally cannot touch players. That’s not just Celtic players, that’s every player. That’s just modern-day football. It’s very minimal contact now, but I can’t tell my players to stand off Scott Sinclair or Patrick Roberts, because if you stand off them they are going to score. “It’s a fine line and you are just hoping for strong decisions and the right decisions. Some will go for you, some won’t. That’s football.” Having twice failed to disrupt Celtic’s procession this week, Motherwell’s task is made even harder on Saturday by the fact that the champions are back on their home turf for the first time since October 31, having played five games on the road in November. In addition, the league leaders have scored in every one of their run of 66 unbeaten domestic contests although, as Brendan Rodgers pointed out, the incidence of penalty kicks in their favour has been exceptionally low. “We were at the bottom of the table for penalties given before Wednesday night,” the Celtic manager said. “I suspect, if there was analysis done, we’re probably in the box more than any team – and in the box with quality possession. I said after the League Cup final that I don’t think we get the penalties we should get. “There are three values in our team, which are respect, unity and excellence, all defined by the players and staff and I think how they’ve lived up to those values has been incredible, really. “So, we aim always to win but also, importantly for me, is to reinforce the values of the club, the team and always winning in a sporting way. The 100 greatest Champions League moments That’s what we always try to do and, if we draw a game or whatever, we have to be honest enough and move on. “People will always find a reason to be negative but that’s OK. We know how we are. We’ve demonstrated that often enough, so our headlines are for the game and always will be. You lose track of what people are trying to say and it doesn’t bother us. “Listen, we’re all human. We see it. How many times have you watched a game where the guy stays up and straight away people say, ‘If he goes down he gets a penalty’? “We can’t be contradictory here. You know that if you stay on your feet you don’t get it – let’s be clear – but at the same time, if a player does go down if he’s impeded, he shouldn’t be punished for it either. “I certainly haven’t seen it happen where a player is in the box, he’s impeded, stays on his feet and gets a penalty. Again, both referees were in perfect positions. Craig Thomson was right up with the game on Sunday. In fairness to Willie Collum on Wednesday night, he was right on the spot.” Which is what one can say about Kevin Clancy, who will be in charge on Saturday. Not that anybody intends to put him under pressure, of course.

Celtic hoping to end Motherwell trilogy with victory following Fir Park scare

The number 67 – perpetually totemic for Celtic fans because of their European Cup win 50 years ago – will be doubly significant if the Scottish champions avoid defeat at home against Motherwell on Saturday. In that event, the Hoops will record their 67th successive unbeaten domestic game, an accomplishment Motherwell would dearly like to deny their hosts as the pair meet for the third time in a week. The teams are not alone in having to play the second instalment of a league double-header this weekend – Aberdeen host Rangers on Sunday, having lost 3-0 at Ibrox in midweek – but the fact that Motherwell and Celtic contested the Betfred Scottish Cup final last Sunday at Hampden Park guaranteed three collisions in succession and consequential friction. Motherwell came within two minutes of putting an end to Celtic’s extraordinary run at Fir Park on Wednesday only to inflict damage upon themselves when Andy Rose’s needless challenge on Callum McGregor was judged to merit a penalty kick by Willie Collum. Motherwell, already angered by what they believed was a dive by Scott Sinclair for what proved to be a decisive penalty kick in Sunday’s final, have asked the Scottish Football Association’s head of refereeing, John Fleming, for feedback on both decisions, but their manager, Stephen Robinson, said that he had not been involved in that exercise. “In truth, I’m expecting nothing,” he said. “It’s the people above me who have gone to John Fleming. For me, the decision was made and Celtic won the cup. They came back and got a point the other night. All the appealing and moaning in the world isn’t going to change that. “No-one’s talking about how good a game it was. We’re meant to be promoting Scottish football instead of talking about the negative aspects of it all the time. Celtic will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run Credit: Getty Images “You literally cannot touch players. That’s not just Celtic players, that’s every player. That’s just modern-day football. It’s very minimal contact now, but I can’t tell my players to stand off Scott Sinclair or Patrick Roberts, because if you stand off them they are going to score. “It’s a fine line and you are just hoping for strong decisions and the right decisions. Some will go for you, some won’t. That’s football.” Having twice failed to disrupt Celtic’s procession this week, Motherwell’s task is made even harder on Saturday by the fact that the champions are back on their home turf for the first time since October 31, having played five games on the road in November. In addition, the league leaders have scored in every one of their run of 66 unbeaten domestic contests although, as Brendan Rodgers pointed out, the incidence of penalty kicks in their favour has been exceptionally low. “We were at the bottom of the table for penalties given before Wednesday night,” the Celtic manager said. “I suspect, if there was analysis done, we’re probably in the box more than any team – and in the box with quality possession. I said after the League Cup final that I don’t think we get the penalties we should get. “There are three values in our team, which are respect, unity and excellence, all defined by the players and staff and I think how they’ve lived up to those values has been incredible, really. “So, we aim always to win but also, importantly for me, is to reinforce the values of the club, the team and always winning in a sporting way. The 100 greatest Champions League moments That’s what we always try to do and, if we draw a game or whatever, we have to be honest enough and move on. “People will always find a reason to be negative but that’s OK. We know how we are. We’ve demonstrated that often enough, so our headlines are for the game and always will be. You lose track of what people are trying to say and it doesn’t bother us. “Listen, we’re all human. We see it. How many times have you watched a game where the guy stays up and straight away people say, ‘If he goes down he gets a penalty’? “We can’t be contradictory here. You know that if you stay on your feet you don’t get it – let’s be clear – but at the same time, if a player does go down if he’s impeded, he shouldn’t be punished for it either. “I certainly haven’t seen it happen where a player is in the box, he’s impeded, stays on his feet and gets a penalty. Again, both referees were in perfect positions. Craig Thomson was right up with the game on Sunday. In fairness to Willie Collum on Wednesday night, he was right on the spot.” Which is what one can say about Kevin Clancy, who will be in charge on Saturday. Not that anybody intends to put him under pressure, of course.

Rangers Fan View: The victory over Aberdeen was good, but we need the same again on Sunday

Rangers Fan View: The victory over Aberdeen was good, but we need the same again on Sunday

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