A tale of two managers - lively Howe v lost LVG
Bourne supremacy makes Dutch dinosaur look extinct
(Junior Stanislas 2, Joshua King 54)
MAN UNITED 1
(Marouane Fellaini 24)
In the dying moments of Bournemouth's latest stunning victory yesterday morning (Singapore time), Eddie Howe kicked every ball.
He waved his arms like a windmill caught in a storm. At the final whistle, he went straight to Harry Arter, who was close to tears after a family tragedy last week.
As manager and player hugged, the 38-year-old coach looked more like a wise, elderly father figure.
In the opposing dugout, Louis van Gaal did nothing. Ryan Giggs did nothing.
This is what the Dutchman wants.
According to reports, he likes his coaching staff to stay in the dugout during games, to retain a quiet dignity rather than do the headless chicken thing.
It's funny. The headless chicken thing never did Sir Alex Ferguson any harm.
At a time when United could use a vibrant manager like Howe, they are lumbered with a stubborn old man.
At a time when the woeful Red Devils need something, anything, from van Gaal, they are stuck with an archaic relic who believes in giving nothing.
The dugouts effectively turned into crystal balls, offering a glimpse of what's to come from their respective managers.
Howe lived up to the name on Bournemouth's stand - the Vitality Stadium.
He was encouraging, miming and clapping, telling Steve Cook and Simon Francis not to get complacent against a non-existent United forward line, running down the clock, checking watches.
He looked a lot like someone United used to know, someone who operated on Fergie time and ruled the touchline with the temerity of a Roman emperor.
Howe, who turned only 38 last month, was more of a man-mountain than a man-manager.
He was organised in his tactics and made the most of an injury-hit side (which has been overlooked in United's whining about their crocked squad).
Van Gaal, in his 65th year, displayed less conviction than a probationary PE teacher. He was clueless, for the third time in a week. He made bewildering selection decisions and even stranger substitutions.
With each loss, van Gaal reveals how detached he is from reality. With each win, Howe grows into his Premier League stature.
He maximises whatever resources he has. He makes silk purses from sow's ears.
Bournemouth's leading striker Callum Wilson threw the club's plan into disarray when he was ruled out through a serious injury. So Howe went elsewhere for goals.
Junior Stanislas, outstanding on the left against Guillermo Varela, was cast to the fringes at Burnley. Howe brought him back from the dead.
Joshua King, still only 23, deserved a goal not only for his tireless industry against Daley Blind and Paddy McNair, but also for his sterling efforts at Chelsea. He was once rotting away in Blackburn's reserves, until Howe threw him a lifeline.
Arter came back from a midweek tragedy to shackle Michael Carrick, leaving everything on the pitch except his pride. They all did.
The Cherries play for their manager. The Red Devils play for their manager's dismissal. Treachery is all over the turf, even if the mutinous behaviour is sub-conscious.
Van Gaal's muddled men cannot commit to a manager or a strategy that they clearly neither endorse nor understand.
The Dutchman gave Marouane Fellaini a holding role, which starved United's midfield of any pace or penetration, effectively giving the front four the day off. Even then, Fellaini offered the greatest goal source and threatened to add a second.
Naturally, infuriatingly, Fellaini was taken off and replaced by Nick Powell.
The substitute, making his first EPL appearance in three years, made even less of an impact than he did against Wolfsburg.
As Bournemouth tired, a little speed might have seen the Cherries succumb. But Ashley Young and Morgan Schneiderlin never left the bench.
There are rumours of a row between van Gaal and Young, but the dissention is spreading. Two teams ran out, but only one believed in their manager.
Had United's players turned to their dugout, looking for an intervention, they would've seen nothing; just two empty shells in United overcoats.
That's why they have mustered only one second-half shot on target in each of their last three EPL games.
They are lost without a decisive leader.
Had the same players also stole a peek at Bournemouth's dugout, they would've seen what they once had: an enterprising, inspirational presence.
Howe is going places. Van Gaal is going nowhere, in every sense.
And that should worry United so much more than another dreadful display.
"Of course I'm concerned because we have lost two matches in a row, and that is not a usual thing, so we have to stick together and prepare for our match against Norwich. We have now to win three matches in a row for example, to still be there after Christmas."
- Louis van Gaal challenging his players to win their next three matches to sustain their Premier League title hopes
"Only hard work, training sessions, preparation, focus - all the same things that I have done in the 25 years of my managership... I shall challenge them, and we shall come back."
- A defiant van Gaal saying he does not need to alter his long-term managerial strategies
"To be fair to him (van Gaal), they are full of injuries to people like Rooney. But I think there are a number of players who have been hiding behind the criticism that van Gaal has been getting."
- Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp
Harry Arter drove Bournemouth to a stunning 2-1 victory over Manchester United yesterday morning (Singapore time) with "real dignity" following the death of his daughter, according to Eddie Howe.
Bournemouth boss Howe hailed midfielder Arter (above) for keeping his raw emotions in check, after he and his partner Rachel lost a child at birth in midweek.
Arter was close to tears when he was booked for a fulsome challenge, with Howe embracing his combative star on the final whistle.
Manager Howe hailed an unprecedented week for Bournemouth, following the 1-0 win at Chelsea, backing the promoted club to win their fight for Premier League safety.
"It's been a really tough week for Harry and his family, naturally," said Howe.
"Life has a way of throwing these things at people and families, and it's been a hugely emotional week for him.
"He's handled himself with real dignity throughout and to play the way he did today, with the emotions running through his body, I can't credit him enough for that.
"He showed real strength to keep his emotions in check, and I've got to say his teammates rallied around him really well.
"I'm really proud of him, but the pain for them won't go away. So we'll have to look after Harry, and our thoughts are with him and his family at this time."
Arter said he played against United to make his family proud.
"I just felt that coming in and trying to take my mind off things would make it a little bit easier, and my family would want me to play," he told the club's website.
"While people maybe grieve in their own way, I found it easier to come in and play and try and do everyone proud.
"I said before the game that one reason I wanted to play was to dedicate the game to everyone associated with my family - my family who are here and not here.
"The support of everyone at the club is why I felt like I wanted to play as well."
The news was announced on social media by the club ahead of the game and it didn't take long for word to filter through to the crowd, with the Bournemouth players also wearing black armbands to show their respect.
"It's mad. Things like that help you so much and, for that 90 minutes when I was on the pitch, it was a really good feeling," he added.
"I am sure my partner at home will be really proud too. It's a game that we can look back on with a lot of pride." - Wire Services.