Date: 27th April 2018 at 5:52am
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Written by BillyTheKid

After our two defeats against top three clubs, away against Liverpool and home to Manchester United, the Cherries next game is away against ‘them up the road’, a Southampton team fighting to stay in the Premier League. Saints have been in the Premier League since the start of the 2012-13 season. They have four games left, the game against us, we could really dent Mark Hughes chances of saving his side from relegation, by beating them for the first time on their patch, or even holding them to a draw, they need the 3 points and will be battling to get them. Then they are away at Everton and Swansea. Their last game is home to Manchester City who have already won the title. There are 12 points to play for and that game at Swansea could be crucial.

At the start of the season Mauricio Pellegrino was the Saints manager, but after a poor season of results in the Premier League, he lost his job in March. The manager before him, Claude Puel did last a full season before losing his job as manager. Two days after Pellegrino left, Mark Hughes took up the challenge on the 15th March of keeping Saints in the Premier League. Hughes was sacked at his previous club Stoke City on January 6th this year. He had been there since May 2013.

In the January transfer window, Saints signed the Argentine striker Guido Carrillo from AS Monaco for £19.1 million pounds. Going out of the Saints team was Virgil van Dijk who joined Liverpool for £75 million.

At the half way stage of the season after 19 games (23rd December), Saints were in 13th place on 19 points (the time of Austin’s injury) and the Cherries were in 18th place (Saints position now) on 16 points.
In January at home Saints lost 1-2 to Crystal Palace, drew 1-1 with Spurs and the same score against Brighton. February Saints lost 0-2 against Liverpool. March drew 0-0 with Stoke City, it was Pellegrino last home game as Saints manager. Mark Hughes’ first game saw Saints losing 2-3 to Chelsea after being two goals up. Away from home in January, Saints drew 2-2 with Watford. February they beat West Brom 2-3 and drew 1-1 with Burnley. March and Pellegrino’s last game in charge, Saints lost 3-0 to Newcastle United. In Mark Hughes first game in charge in the league they lost 3-0 against West Ham. April they lost 3-2 against Arsenal and drew 0-0 with Leicester City. Now after 34 games, Saints are in 18th place on 29 points, the Cherries have played 35 games and are 11th on 38 points.

In our Premier League games at St Mary’s Stadium, in our first season 2015-16, Saints won 2-0. 2016-17 it finished in a 0-0 draw. At Dean Court of the 2015-16 season, the Cherries won 2-0. In the 2016-17 season AFCB lost 1-3. This season 2017-18 it ended in a 1-1 draw. In all away games in the leagues against Saints, AFCB have won 0, drawn 3 and lost 7. In all fixtures AFCB have won 7, drawn 7 and lost 12.

Saints Team News
Saints are the only team with no injuries according to the injury website. Jack Stephens is available again after suspension.

Saints Player To Watch
Charlie Austin, looked dangerous at times against Chelsea at Wembley and hit the post. Scored their goal in the game earlier this season at Dean Court and seems one Saints player who is doing his best to stop them getting relegated if he is given the chance. Surprised he didn’t start with Long in the league game. Still their leading scorer even though he has missed a number of games. Up until his injury two days before Christmas, 5 of Austin’s 6 goals have been scored at St Mary’s Stadium, the other one was at Dean Court. Since his return from injury he scored 1 of the goals in the 3-2 away defeat against Arsenal.

AFCB Team News
No new injuries reported, so Eddie has a good squad to pick from, which could include Adam Smith who at one time looked as if he might be out for the season.

AFCB Player To Watch
I think Eddie will stick with Callum Wilson and Callum was unlucky not to have been on the score sheet against Manchester United when he was held by Shaw as we was going for the cross from Josh King. The officials didn’t see it and no foul was given. He kept going against United and gave their defence problems. I want to see Callum get back on the score sheet, so he will be my player to watch against Saints. I know some of our fans won’t agree with my choice.

BBC Radio Solent
For those who can’t go, the game is being covered by the Southampton commentary team for that area and our area normally by Kris Temple and Willo. Let’s hope if we win or hold them to a draw, Dave Merrington is still talking to Willo!

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