Manchester United will miss out on next season's Uefa Champions League unless they defeat AFC Bournemouth by a 19-goal margin in their final Premier League match of the season on Tuesday night (17 May). The omens are not encouraging for United, to say the least, and manager Louis van Gaal may instead opt to rest some of their star names ahead of the FA Cup Final.
United's final game of the season was postponed following a bomb scare at Old Trafford on Sunday (15 May), and barring a record-breaking goal swing, the Reds' lap of honour threatens to be a rather hollow affair. Indeed, only two sides – Newcastle United and Stockport County – have recorded 13-0 wins in the history of English league football, meaning United will have to enter uncharted territory in order to qualify for the Champions League.
To put their unenviable task in context, the Red Devils have only scored 46 league goals this season and lost the reverse fixture 2-1 in December. United average just 11.3 shots per Premier League game, which is substantially worse than their table-topping rivals, such as Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Leicester City, and average a meagre 3.8 shots on target per Premier League game.
Assuming the expensively-assembled Reds fail to score 12 goals this evening, this will be United's lowest goals total since 1989-90. But, somewhat remarkably, United have still beaten every team above them at some point this season.
What's more, there have been a only 32 goals in the Premier League at Old Trafford – which is fewer than on any other ground in the top flight in the 2015/16 campaign.
Irrespective of the result in this weekend's FA Cup Final, United's board may decide to dispense with Van Gaal in the summer. Jose Mourinho is reportedly a long-time target for the Old Trafford club and he may be the man trusted to spend the club's hard-earned cash when the transfer window opens in July.