|AFC Bournemouth 0 v 0 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 20th October 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Bournemouth The Verdict
Sunday, 21st Oct 2018 11:11
Saints made a statement at Bournemouth according to Mark Hughes, he is right a line in the sand was drawn and hopefully Saints can now move forward after a heartening display.
After three straight defeats in the Premier League and 8 goals conceded in those games there weren't many Saints fans who would have put much money on a sixth placed Bournemouth side not making it four.
The Cherries went into the game with confidence and a great home record that had seen them win 3 out of their 4 Premier League games at the Vitality stadium, the only blip being a draw with Everton, in those games they had scored 10 goals and things didn't look good for Saints.
Mark Hughes shuffled the centre of defence yet again with Jack Stephens coming in to partner Wesley Hoedt and Yoshida dropping to the bench alongside Jannik Vestergaard, Hughes also went with Charlie Austin partnering Danny Ings in a two man attack as he plotted to sort out Saints two big issues, stopping goals and scoring them.
Both problems have similar traits, attacking wise we have had more shots on goal than all but the top four sides, yet only Huddersfield and Palace have scored less than us, in defence we defend well for long periods then give away silly goals, both issues just need a bit more application.
Watching the game I thought Saints were comfortable and from this viewpoint we can take hope going forward, almost a year ago Wesley Hoedt made a mistake at Bournemouth that some supporters can't seem to forgive him for, yesterday he put in perhaps his best display in a Saints shirt to marshal the back four into a solid display, Jack Stephens alongside him also did little wrong as we kept a blank sheet for the first time since we won at Palace with the home sides only real chance that troubled Alex McCarthy being a header from Ake that went straight down the keepers throat.
Up front though the problems persisted, we created the games best chances and really should have netted one of them, in the first half Charlie Austin shrugged off Ake and Begovic did well to come out and force the Saints man to take an extra touch and run the ball out for a goal kick, Shane Long nodded down brilliantly for Stuart Armstrong who just couldn't seem to get a clean touch to force it home and then in the dying seconds Manolo Gabbiadini headed over from close range after Begovic had missed a cross.
We should have scored we should have won, lady luck just wasn't with us in front of goal.
Saints can take hope from this display and although some would sneer and say it's only Bournemouth they are sixth with only Manchester City having a better home record going into this game, it was a toughie and we weathered it well and made it look easier than it was.
There were some good displays all over the pitch and Mark Hughes made substitutions to try and win the game by first taking off Lemina for a more attack minded Armstrong and then switching his front two which saw two great chances created.
We built from the back with Hoedt and Stephens solid and Cedric and Bertrand getting down the wing well.
Can this give us the confidence that we need to win a home game ? We will find out next week when we host Newcastle in what is truly a six pointer.
For this game the team and the fans need to be focused, make no bones it's an important game that will set the tone for the season, win it and we will rise up the table and away from the relegation zone, lose it and it will drag us down.
What we don't need to do is drag ourselves down, it needs to be a packed St Mary's getting behind the team.
The Vitality Stadium was hardly a hot bed on Saturday, their fans were very quiet, our support got behind the team and stayed with them, we need that in every game.
This game showed how little difference there is between Bournemouth in sixth and ourselves, we just need to start showing it a lot more often starting with Newcastle.
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