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Lackluster week gets worse at United with Schweinsteiger ban

Schweinsteiger starts 3-game ban as Man United looks to avoid another Bournemouth humbling

Lackluster week gets worse at United with Schweinsteiger ban

LONDON (AP) -- After another lackluster week in the short reign of Louis van Gaal, Manchester United will revisit the scene of one of the team's greatest embarrassments.

In January 1984, Bournemouth -- then playing in the third tier -- eliminated defending champion United from the FA Cup in one of the competition's great upsets. Now, Bournemouth is in the Premier League for the first time and preparing to host United on Saturday.

The disparity between United and Bournemouth is vast. United has the league's biggest stadium (76,000-capacity); Bournemouth's is the smallest (11,500). United has won a record 20 topflight titles; Bournemouth has zero.

Although United is three points from first place and Bournemouth is barely out of the relegation zone on goal difference, the south-coast club has been buoyed by the greatest result in its history: Winning at Premier League champion Chelsea last weekend.

United, though, is making the long trip to the seaside town after failing to qualify for the round of 16 in the Champions League.

And United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger starts a three-game ban after accepting a Football Association charge for violent conduct on Thursday. The German stuck out his left arm and caught West Ham defender Winston Reid in the throat as both players jostled for position from a free kick during the 0-0 draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Adding to United's problems is a lengthy injury list that includes captain Wayne Rooney and defenders Matteo Darmian and Chris Smalling.

"We have a lot of injuries," United midfielder Marouane Fellaini said. "There's nothing we can do about that. We have a lot of players in the squad that the manager has given a chance to and now they can show themselves, but I hope the injured players come back soon."

Here are some things to know about the Premier League this weekend:

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CHELSEA DANGER

Restored to the starting lineup for Chelsea's Champions League win over FC Porto, striker Diego Costa will now be looking to start scoring on a regular basis.

The Spain forward has scored only three league goals so far this season.

"He is lacking in confidence, clearly," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.

After winning the league by eight points in May, Chelsea could find itself in the relegation zone before playing at surprise leader Leicester on Monday. Leicester is 17 points in front of 14th-place Chelsea.

Mourinho's side is only two points above the relegation zone after losing to Bournemouth, with its hopes of qualifying for the Champions League looking increasingly reliant on winning the competition.

Monday's game is Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri's first meeting with the club he managed between 2000 and 2004, when Mourinho first took charge.

"I'm sure at the end of the season they will be in the top four," Ranieri said. "I still think they will make the Champions League. For now it is bad luck but when they start to win they will arrive."

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GARDE REUNION

There's another reunion this weekend with former Arsenal player Remi Garde hosting the London club as manager of Aston Villa on Sunday.

While Villa is in last place, Arsenal is two points from the top in second and looking forward to the round of 16 in the Champions League after turning around a faltering campaign.

Garde won the league with Arsenal in 1998 during his three years with the club at the start of Arsene Wenger's reign.

"It is a long time ago since I was there. Probably everything has changed there -- except one," Garde said, referring to Wenger. "They can win the title of course. Now they are qualified for the (knockout stage of the) Champions League they will have to concentrate on both targets which is not easy. Maybe it is the year they can fight for the title until the end."

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ACROSS THE LEAGUE

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren seemed to avert the immediate danger to his job when he masterminded a 2-0 victory over Liverpool last weekend. But the northeast club remains in the relegation zone ahead of Sunday's game at Tottenham.

"We need to perform well, that's key thing," McClaren said. "Never mind thinking about the result, we need to put a performance in at White Hart Lane to stand a chance of getting anything there."


Updated : 2021-09-29 05:01 GMT+08:00