Two teams placed 9th and 10th in the Premier League are set to go head-to-head on Friday night, as Southampton and Bournemouth fight it out for the bragging rights in an all-South Coast affair at the St. Mary’s Stadium.
Both the teams head into the game on the back of positive results in their previous fixture. Bournemouth bagged all three points with a 3-1 victory over Everton last week, while Southampton triumphed 1-0 over Sheffield United.
With both teams showing plenty of promise early in the season and neither an outright favourite on paper heading into the game, Friday’s encounter seems to have all the makings of a riveting contest between the two south coast clubs.
Eddie Howe has plenty of injuries to contend with ahead of the clash against Southampton. Junior Stanislas (knee), Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld (ankle), Charlie Daniels (knee), Adam Smith (thigh), David Brooks (ankle) and Dan Gosling (groin) are all ruled out.
The availability of Llyod Kelly and Simon Francis will be subject to a late fitness test.
The England youth international has justified his selection between the sticks with some impressive saves and he is likely to continue in his role as the Cherries’ No.1 on Friday.
The Spaniard did exactly what the manager would have wanted him to do against Everton last week and he is expected to retain his position in the eleven.
He has looked a bit shaky and uncomfortable at the back in the early stages of the campaign and that needs to change very soon.
The Dutchman was one of the standout performers in the victory over Everton last week and he has always been of the first names on Howe’s teamsheet.
The former Luton Town man found himself stretched against a potent Everton attack in the previous outing but Bournemouth do not have much depth in their full-back department due to several injuries.
The former Man United man was one of the architects of Bournemouth’s victory last week and he will once again need to provide that much-needed impetus down the flanks this time around.
The Scottish international came off the bench in the last game but the diminutive winger could return to the starting eleven after Harry Wilson struggled to make an impact against Everton.
The Leeds United academy graduate was one of the brightest sparks of the Cherries’ win last week and he will be expected to keep up his good work.
He has proven himself to be a fantastic addition to Bournemouth’s midfield and How might hand him another start ahead of Jefferson Lerma after a fine all-round display in the previous outing.
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Bournemouth’s indispensable weapon in the final third stole the show with two goals last week and they will need him to fire on all cylinders once again.
The youngster deserves another start after putting in an energetic performance against Everton.
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