Bournemouth extended the greatest period in their league history by aggravating the troubled times at Manchester United. This thrilling win came a week after victory at Chelsea, leaving Eddie Howe’s top-flight debutants celebrating unprecedented achievements and United fans questioning harder what Louis van Gaal’s philosophy really means.
This defeat was a severe blow to the Dutchman, just days after United’s premature elimination from the Champions League. United, who have now failed to win in five matches, returned to domestic duty with a side even more depleted than the one beaten in Wolfsburg on Tuesday, injuries to Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian forcing Van Gaal to field an inexperienced back four, with Paddy McNair and Guillermo Varela joining Daley Blind and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.
But sympathy has been in short supply for Van Gaal, whose pre-game grumbles about United fans’ unreasonable expectations did nothing to spread belief in his management. Bournemouth supporters are certainly unlikely to tolerate sob stories from United, as Howe has had to contend with a fraction of United’s resources and an injury roster just as debilitating. But there is no doubt that Howe’s philosophy fits.