Get ready for Southampton's crunch Premier League clash with Bournemouth this Saturday by checking out our in-depth match preview, in association with SportPesa...
Saints vs Bournemouth
St Mary’s Stadium
Saturday 27th April (3pm BST)
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistants: Mick McDonough, Neil Davies
Fourth official: David Coote
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Tuesday’s draw with Watford edged Saints ever closer to the 40-point mark and what better way to reach it than at St Mary’s on the penultimate home match of a breathless campaign?
Shane Long’s fastest Premier League goal of all-time looked to have earned a commendable three points at the high-flying Hornets but for Andre Gray’s late equaliser: one point should not be sniffed at, however. It means that victory against the Cherries all but secures safety.
The picture has been much clearer for Eddie Howe’s side for much of the season; a blistering start has been followed by a 2019 that says more relegation zone than top-8 challengers.
That said, a 5-0 win away at Brighton two weeks ago reveals just how dangerous they can be when all of their attacking talent clicks. Derby or not, the circumstances make this a significant fixture for both sides.
Southampton: Ralph Hasenhüttl has concerns over three players ahead of the visit of the Bournemouth.
Ryan Bertrand took a knock to his ankle during the midweek draw at Watford with Matt Targett likely to deputise. Jannik Vestergaard is set to miss out and Stuart Armstrong will face a late fitness test.
Bournemouth: A shortage of full-backs may force Eddie Howe into a tactical reshuffle at St Mary’s with Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith both unavailable through injury.
Junior Stanislas – who deputised at right-back in last weekend’s defeat to Fulham - won’t feature again this season, the Cherries boss announcing that the winger will be sidelined for the next “three to four months.”
Southampton’s last five:
Watford (a) D 1-1 (Long)
Newcastle (a) L 3-1 (Lemina)
Wolves (h) W 3-1 (Redmond 2, Long)
Liverpool (h) L 3-1 (Long)
Brighton (a) W 1-0 (Højbjerg)
Bournemouth’s last five:
Fulham (h) L 1-0
Brighton (a) W 5-0
Burnley (h) L 3-1
Leicester (a) L 2-0
Chelsea (h) D 2-2
Ralph Hasenhüttl: “I know this is something like a derby against Bournemouth on the south coast, because they are not so far away from each other.
"It’s a special game and for us it’s mainly a special game because we can make the last step. We are very motivated to make the last step in front of our crowd, it’s exactly what we wanted to have three games before the end and now we have the chance. We are very motivated.”
Eddie Howe: “We don’t want to go into next season with negative momentum, the way we finish the season is very important. We have to go into Southampton and give a good account of ourselves, we know how big the game is for our supporters.
“Southampton have been in great form, done very well since the new manager went in there with their mentality, so we know we’re going to need to be at our very best."
A place in the Premier League record book has been just reward for Shane Long’s performances down the back strait of the season. Three goals in four games have reinforced the Irishman’s value to Ralph Hasenhüttl who described him as a player “that any manager would want in their squad,” in his pre-match press conference.
With two attacking sides taking to the field at St Mary’s, Long’s pace and energy in behind a patchwork Bournemouth defence could yet cause problems again, just as it did against the previous two visitors, Wolves and Liverpool. Just make sure you are in your seat for kick-off this time…
As for Bournemouth, Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson have caught the eye for many this year and it’s easy to see why; the pair seeking to break a Premier League record for goal contributions, having linked up for 11 goals this season.
Only Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton in 1994/95 have managed more. Aside from those two, David Brooks has been a revelation since arriving from Sheffield United last summer and was deservedly nominated on the PFA Young Player of the Year list.
Previous five meetings:
October 2018: Bournemouth 0-0 Southampton
April 2018: Southampton 2-1 Bournemouth
December 2017: Bournemouth 1-1 Southampton
April 2017: Southampton 0-0 Bournemouth
December 2016: Bournemouth 1-3 Southampton
DID YOU KNOW?
- Southampton have scored at least once in their last 12 Premier League home games – only Man City (19), Arsenal (17) and Liverpool (13) are enjoying a longer such run in the competition.
- After a run of nine consecutive away league defeats, Bournemouth have won two of their last three on the road. The Cherries’ last away game saw them pick up their biggest ever top-flight away win (5-0 vs Brighton).
- Bournemouth have never won away against Southampton in any competition, drawing five and losing nine of their 14 meetings.
NOT AT THE GAME?
If you're not at a sold-out St Mary's, don't worry, as we’ll be here to bring you all of the action, as well as a host of behind-the-scenes access.
Check out our interactive match centre at southamptonfc.com, with all of the live in-game updates and free audio commentary of the match.
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