|AFC Bournemouth 0 v 2 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 19th July 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Bournemouth The Preview
Sunday, 19th Jul 2020 09:00
Saints have gone 5 games undefeated in the Premier League and they need to make it 6, but for the Cherries it is getting to last chance saloon and a defeat could see them on the cusp of relegation.
Saints fans want Ralph Hasenhuttl to put out his strongest team this afternoon at Bournemouth, although as documented in the article on this site yesterday they do not view the Cherries as local rivals, they have grown sick of a section of their supporters tedious attempts to create animosity between the two clubs.
That means that we go into this game with mixed feelings, on one hand it would not bother us either way whether they stay up or not, but on the other sending them down would be seen as just rewards for the way Bournemouth came gloatingly down to St Mary's two years ago relishing in the chance to relegate us.
Ralph has spoken of wanting his team to show that Saints are back again as top dogs on the South Coast and hopefully that suggests he will put out his strongest side.
On Thursday against Brighton his much changed side in the first half lacked cohesion, but a couple of subtle changes at half time saw us dominate the game therein.
Hopefully the team that starts down in Dorset will be similar to the one that has been out there for the past 4 or 5 games, at the back that means returns for Kyle Walker Phillips, Jack Stephens & Ryan Bertrand to the back four, in midfield Nathan Redmond, James Ward Prowse, Oriel Romeu & Stuart Armstrong have been a solid line up and up front Che Adams has proved his worth in the starting line up.
That for me would be the best line up we could start with, although I think Ralph could put in PEH for Romeu and start Shane Long up front for Adams.
Bournemouth will be fighting for their lives, two games ago against Leicester with 24 minutes to go and 1-0 down they were dead and buried but the Foxed gifted them an equaliser and then fell apart and gave them a lifeline which they took and a narrow defeat at Man City was almost see as success.
Now they have the opportunity to get out of the bottom 3 and with Watford facing Man City and Arsenal in their final two games, they have a chance for an unlikely escape.
The big question though is can they raise their game again, they have been poor and uninspired for the best part of the season and that is for good reason, but we know from experience that poor seasons can be rescued in the final few games, do Bournemouth have that heart.
If they beat us then they will stay up, if they get a point they will need to win at Everton on the final day and if they lose it could be very difficult, they will have to go for it.
But this could be a blessing in disguise for us, our great away record is based on the counter attack, they will have to come at us , but they will only be able to do so in bursts, our task is to withstand those bursts and then punish them on the break.
On paper we have the players to be able to do that, only the top four sides have scored more goals than us away from home, but we have to be up for it and focused.
Currently we sit on 46 points, the same total that we achieved 3 years ago under Claude Puel to finish 8th, we want to beat that total, but we want to do so by achieving 50 points and finishing 11th, this would be a great achievement given our issues earlier in the season.
Sadly there will be no Saints fans in the ground to see us attempt a finish to the season with a flourish, but these are unprecedented times when we need to back the club in whatever way we can, in this case it will be in front of TV, but hopefully by October it will be in the flesh.
Photo: Action Images
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