After two home wins running at Dean Court and an International break with our team taking a short training break to Dubai, the Premier League gets underway again and this time our opponents are Southampton (Saints) the nearest club to us in the four main leagues. This game is again being televised by BT Sport with a Saturday kick-off time of 5.30 pm.
Claude Puel the Saints manager brought in Manolo Gabbiadini a striker from Napoli for £17.1 million in the January transfer window to cover for the injured Charlie Austin, what a find he has been so far. They lost the services of captain Jose Fonte who signed for West Ham for £8 million, he was part of an important centre back pairing for Saints with Virgil van Dijk.
This year at home in the Premier League, Saints have only played two games because of cup commitments, they were a 3-0 win against Leicester and a month ago in their last home game a 3-1 defeat against West Ham who we beat 3-2 this month at Dean Court. Away from home this year Saints have won 2 and lost 4, the last defeat was away at Spurs.
Both Saints and the Cherries have 3 games in a week, after Saturday`s game, Saints are home on the Wednesday to Crystal Palace and on the Saturday away to West Brom. The Cherries also play on the Wednesday away at Liverpool and the Saturday at home to leaders Chelsea. With 9 points at stake it will give a better picture of the standings in the league table with 6 games to go. Saints are one place above AFC Bournemouth in 10th place with 2 games in hand, both clubs have 33 points.
Before our home game with Saints, AFCB had beaten both Leicester and Liverpool (what a game) at Dean Court, so hopes were high for the game against Saints, but the Cherries were not at their best after taking an early lead with a header by Nathan Ake and ended up conceding 3 goals in a 3-1 defeat. Last season the honours were even with both clubs winning at home 2-0.
Southampton Team News:
They will be without the important defender Virgil van Dijk, leading scorer Charlie Austin, Matt Targett and Manolo Gabbiadini who has been ruled out for Saturday. There could be a new face in the centre of defence as Maya Yoshida has been away playing for Japan and February signing Martin Caceres could play his first game.
Player to watch: Nathan Redmond
Was going to be Manolo Gabbiadini, but as he has not recovered from his injury in time, will now go for winger Nathan Redmond who will also be a danger and is second leading scorer with 5 goals and 1 assist.
AFC Bournemouth Team News:
Been injuries to Ryan Fraser which stopped him making his Scotland debut with a knee injury, Harry Arter has been suffering with a calf strain and Junior Stanislas with a groin strain.
Player to watch: Joshua King
Josh King who has been playing with a lot of confidence and scored 7 goals in his last six games, which includes a hat-trick and 2 penalties.
Match Facts & Stats
In all our visits to Southampton we have never won. Saints have won 7 and drawn 2. In all our games in all competitions, AFCB have won 7, drawn 5 and lost 7.