Saturday, 17 December 2016

South coast bragging rights up for grabs for the Cherries

The sight of seeing Southampton and Bournemouth in the top half of the table and only separated by goal difference is probably not how a lot of Saint's fans would have hoped this season would go. But there are one or two of them who wish AFCB well and may just be starting to feel that there is a team down the road that can't be taken for granted anymore for an easy win. 
Who is the best on the south coast?
AFCB have the firepower to worry the Saints and yet none of AFCB's leading marksmen are in stunning form at the moment. It may well be just as likely that Charlie Daniels or Steve Cook will give José Fonte and Virgil van Dijk more of a problem on the day.

The lack of goals for Southampton can't be helped by the loss of Charlie Austin and Shane Long has a lot of weight on his shoulders having come in as his replacement and not scored up at Stoke. But Derek Redmond is no slouch and when the Saints played Middlesbrough it was Sofiane Boufal who impressed. Jay Rodriguez could be brought back into the starting line up to face the Cherries, but you sense that the forward side of the Saints is not as strong as it has been in the past. They will also have to make a change in midfield as Oriol Romeu picked up his fifth yellow card up at the Bet365 stadium last Wednesday. Romeu had made the most passes for them this season.

Whether we see a strong Southampton or a slightly weakened team though, AFCB will see the chance to grab the bragging rights with this game. One win last season means nothing now, but the failure to get a back-to-back win is a big motivation for the Cherries, and if it comes against Southampton it will be because they have done their homework on a Saint's side that did not find it easy to play against 10-men for much of their last game.  

In short, Southampton will still be smarting from the Stoke City game and it's up to AFCB to make them feel uncomfortable from that start. The swagger will be there for whichever team comes out on top, but it would no longer be a huge surprise if the Dorset team is celebrating come Sunday evening. UTCIAD!

Southampton Away Form

AFCB Home Form

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