Struggling Bournemouth will be determined to turn things around after two successive heavy defeats in the Premier League when they make the short journey to the St. Mary’s Stadium to take on local rivals Southampton.
The home side come into this in good form and will feel that they should be slightly higher up the table after sharing the points in their last two league outings. The game against Leicester City a fortnight ago should definitely have resulted in victory as they squandered a two-goal lead, but last weekend they were the ones grabbing a late equaliser as Sadio Mane netted a deserved equaliser away to Liverpool in what was another strong and encouraging performance.
A front three of Mane alongside Dusan Tadic and top scorer Graziano Pelle has the ability to cause any team problems and they will certainly sense an opportunity here to add to Bournemouth’s recent woes. With their incisiveness and creativity, the trio will do plenty of damage if the Cherries are not compact enough at the back. Southampton are certainly a side that can teach them some lessons on that front, but captain Jose Fonte will be desperate for a clean sheet, which is proving somewhat elusive at present.
A number of things have conspired against Bournemouth in recent weeks, with a rush of injuries to key players robbing manager Eddie Howe of the chance to field a number of his outstanding players. Therefore, he have done without goalkeeper Artur Boruc making the elementary mistakes that he has done in his previous two appearances, gifting Watford a point and then having a hand in three of Tottenham’s goals in their 5-1 romp last weekend.
That game had got off to a perfect start as Matt Ritchie found the net within the first minute, but from then on things began to unravel and it seems the club are struggling at present. Going forward, Josh King offers a threat with his pace, but lacks the effectiveness of the sidelined Callum Wilson, while Glenn Murray is a striker that needs the service to score his goals. They will be adventurous and pose problems for the Saints defence, but at the back Bournemouth may just be overpowered.
Mane is available for Southampton after serving a one-match ban in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday, but fellow forwards Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez are out.
Boruc is likely to miss out for Bournemouth, in which case Adam Federici will deputise. Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel and Tommy Elphick are among the other players not in contention.
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