Southampton vs Bournemouth Preview
Southampton will look to move closer to Premier League survival when they host Bournemouth on Saturday.
The Saints are almost there, but not quite. Ralph Haselhuttl’s side is 16th in the Premier League table, and they are six points clear of Cardiff in 18th place. Brighton are battling it out between the two sides, and Southampton should be reasonably confident of their safety. Six points is a healthy gap, and expecting Cardiff to win two games in itself is an incredible thing. But stranger things have happened, and Hasenhuttl will be keen to be mathematically safe as soon as possible.
Their recent form is promising, and they have claimed 10 points out of the last 18 available. Southampton are winless in their previous two games though, which has brought a few nerves among the fans. They traveled to play Watford past week and led through Shane Long’s early goal in stoppage time. Andre Gray scored a late equalizer and broke the Saints’ hearts.
They will face West Ham after Bournemouth and round off their season against bottom side Huddersfield on the last day. Their home form has been impressive under Hasenhuttl, and they have beaten the likes of Spurs and Wolves as the St. Mary’s Stadium. The home faithful will be hopeful of a similar performance on Saturday.
It may not seem so, but Bournemouth are just four points above Southampton. The Cherries have impressed in stretches, but their recent form has been poor. The lack of motivation has severely affected Eddie Howe’s side, and they have been guilty of inconsistency in recent weeks. An impressive 5-0 victory against Brighton was followed by a defeat at the hands of relegated Fulham, which perfectly captures what their season has been like at times.
Their last game was against Fulham, and Aleksandar Mitrovic scored the goal in a 1-0 defeat. Bournemouth have lost three of their previous five league games, which has meant that they have slipped to 14th in the table. A finish in the bottom half looks likely for Howe, which will be somewhat of a disappointment.
The Cherries’ defense has been leaky as well, and they have kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 league games. Lack of defensive personnel has played a part in that, but so have some basic mistakes at the back. Their last away game was a 5-0 win at the Amex, and something similar would be welcome for Howe.
Southampton have a host of injury concerns. Jannik Vestergaard is a doubt, and so is striker Shane Long. Ryan Bertrand and Stuart Armstrong will face late fitness tests. Jan Valery will start after recovering from an illness. Junior Stanislas is out for an extended period for Bournemouth, but Nathaniel Clyne could recover to face the Saints.
Southampton vs Bournemouth Prediction
The hosts will be slight favorites, but the game is a tough one to call. Bournemouth can beat Southampton if they turn up, but consistency has been an issue for the Cherries. Both teams should score in this one, and an entertaining game should follow.
Both teams to Score- Yes @ 1.66 at Bet365
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