The first action of this afternoon takes us to The Vitality Stadium and a South Coast derby as Bournemouth play host to Southampton. Both sides find themselves in the top half of the table as 10th play host to 9th with a win for either side meaning that they could move as high as 7th by the end of the day’s proceedings.
Eddie Howe’s side come into the game off the back of beating champions Leicester in midweek. Marc Pugh’s solitary goal was enough to give The Cherries the victory and that meant they have won two of their last three matches with success coming against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool also after that sensational 7 goal thriller.
They will look to make it back to back wins later on as they play host to Southampton who make the short trip from Hampshire to Dorset with the unfortunate tag of being the league’s joint lowest scorers. The Saints have only managed to find the net on 14 occasions a record they currently share with basement side Hull.
Southampton failed to find the net on Wednesday as they failed to breakdown a stubborn Stoke side who played the majority of the game with 10 men after Marko Arnautovic’s sending off in the first half. It was nights like Wednesday where they really needed someone like Charlie Austin to snatch a winner.
But with Austin out for four months Southampton have struggled to adapt to life without him as they have only found the net once in the two matches in which he has been absent. That said the goal from Sofiane Boufel did warrant a win over Middlesbrough but Aitor Karanka’s side aren’t known for their goalscoring exploits this season either.
Thankfully for Southampton though they have been very tight at the back so it has almost meant that the lack of goals hasn’t been too much of a prevalent issue. Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk have been earning rave reviews this season and rightly so they command a backline which has only shipped 15 goals. A record only bettered by Chelsea and Tottenham.
Bournemouth on the other hand have scored more than today’s opponents with 22 strikes to their name but they also have the worst goal difference in the top half of the table after letting in 25 at the other end. That will give Southampton some food for thought for this afternoon but quite simply have they got the firepower to take full advantage.
Unfortunately for them I don’t think they have but I can’t see Claude Puel’s side giving away all that much either therefore I’m going to sit on the fence with this one and go for a draw and a low scoring one at. Both teams settle for a share of the points but miss out on their opportunity to move up the Premier League table.