Joshua King’s goal on the stroke of half-time gave Bournemouth their first win since September and brought Manchester United’s three-match winning run to a halt.
United made a positive start after going four unbeaten but their new-found belief seemed to evaporate in driving rain and swirling wind on the south coast.
The hosts gradually got a foothold in the game and former United trainee King struck moments before the break to claim Bournemouth’s first goal in nearly six hours.
The 27-year-old striker, who scored the winner in Bournemouth’s only previous Premier League win against the Red Devils in 2015, was allowed to chest down Adam Smith’s cross into the box before turning Aaron Wan-Bissaka and volleying between David de Gea’s legs from close range.
The Cherries carried that momentum into the second half and Harry Wilson twice went close to doubling their lead as United struggled to regain the dominance they enjoyed early on.
The late introduction of Mason Greenwood lifted them and the young striker hit the post moments after coming on but United could not prevent Bournemouth securing their first win in six, which sent them back above the Red Devils to sixth in the table before the rest of Saturday’s games.
United, though, have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 11 Premier League away games and their haul of 13 points is their lowest after 11 matches of a league campaign since 1986-87 (11).
Having gone unbeaten since the international break, holding league leaders Liverpool before claiming three straight wins for the first time this season, United fans hoped the club had turned a corner.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt confidence was building and Anthony Martial’s return to the side for last week’s win at Norwich looked to have revived the United attack. After all, the Red Devils had won 65% of their games with Martial starting under Solskjaer, compared to 41% without.
After winning at Chelsea in the Carabao Cup, Solskjaer reverted to last Sunday’s starting line-up and Daniel James created two early chances from the right. Andreas Pereira blazed over while fellow Brazil midfielder Fred scuffed a shot wide.
James then won a free-kick which led to the Wales winger firing narrowly wide from 20 yards. Yet United failed to show the same fluency they did at Norwich, particularly Martial and strike partner Marcus Rashford, and Bournemouth made them pay.
United left King unmarked before Wan-Bissaka committed himself, allowing the Norway international to control the ball on his chest, flick it over his head and hammer past De Gea.
The Spanish keeper kept United in it with a string of saves after the break, before Solskjaer made a double substitution, bringing on Greenwood and Brandon Williams with 10 minutes left.
Greenwood volleyed Fred’s cross against the woodwork at the back post before Scott McTominay and Fred tested home keeper Aaron Ramsdale from outside the box, but those chances came more through desperation than design.
While Bournemouth conceded just one goal in three games in October they also failed to score, but manager Eddie Howe backed his attacking players in Friday’s news conference and made only one change to the side which drew 0-0 at Watford.
Harry Wilson came in and the Liverpool loanee had the Cherries’ first shot, which was deflected wide, before a Bournemouth break saw Ryan Fraser shoot straight at De Gea.
Yet the Cherries seldom managed to get behind the visitors’ defence until Harry Wilson and Fraser combined to find Smith in the right side of United’s box. The full-back lifted the ball towards King, who showed great composure to convert his fourth goal of the season.
After the break Bournemouth looked more like the side which went third in the table after a 3-1 win at Southampton on 20 September.
Fraser steered a volley straight at De Gea, who had to rush out to deny King and Harry Wilson in quick succession.
De Gea then had to produce a fine low save to keep out Harry Wilson’s left-footed strike before ever-present keeper Ramsdale made two late saves to ensure the Cherries kept a third straight clean sheet.