#MUFCvAFCB - more on the line than we may think
Too much to ask?
May 17 2016
What has promised to be a huge final league fixture of the season will largely prove a damp squib on Tuesday evening, as the curtain falls on the most unpredictable Premier League campaign ever. However, there’s still plenty on the line.
Following Sunday’s abandoned clash, which happened after a bomb scare, United’s final league outing comes on Tuesday evening as AFC Bournemouth make the long trip to the North West of England.
Tens of thousands of fans were inconvenienced, after it emerged that a fake bomb had been accidentally left in a stadium toilet by accident, previously put in place to test sniffer dogs.
United refunded all tickets for Sunday’s fixture, and allowed ticket holders from both clubs to watch the re-arranged contest free of charge. Season ticket holders will also be given credit, whilst AFC Bournemouth have offered their supporters free coach travel.
United can still qualify for the Champions League - but require a 19-0 demolition of the south coast club. Many fans, therefore, will think little is on the line on Tuesday evening – however, pride, prize money, and the chance to dodge the third qualifying stage of the Europa League are all at stake.
Louis van Gaal’s men have already qualified for Europe’s second competition, but will advance straight to the group stages next season if they claim a point tonight, or win the FA Cup on Saturday.
Prize money is also a factor, and could force LVG into fielding a stronger starting XI. If United remain in sixth, they will scoop £18.5million 'merit money', but this climbs to £19.8million for a fifth placed berth.
Meanwhile, Bournemouth could climb to 14th with an unlikely victory - the difference between £6.2million, and £8.7million in prize money.
The winners of the FA Cup scoop only £1.8million - so, bizarrely, victory tonight and defeat on Saturday would be worth more in prize money terms, than visa-versa. Fortunately, most Reds will know, regardless of prize cash, the weekend’s Wembley final is our biggest game in a long time – unlike this Tuesday evening contest.
Whilst van Gaal hasn’t altered his 18-man squad, the pace of tonight’s game can be expected to be comparatively gentle to the rest of the season, and a host of fringe players will be expecting a bigger role than usual. Come on United – 19 goals or bust…!!
MUFC squad: De Gea, Romero, Valencia, Varela, Jones, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson, Carrick, Herrera, Mata, Pereira, Memphis, Young, Lingard, Martial, Rooney, Rashford