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Southampton V Bournemouth The Preview
Thursday, 27th Apr 2023 10:48

Tomorrow it will be 5 years to the day that Bournemouth arrived at St Mary's looking to virtually relegate Saints, but somehow despite not having won in the League for nearly 3 months we pulled something out of the bag, can we do so again.

On 28th April 2018 Bournemouth came to play a Saints side that had last won in the Premier League on 3rd February, a winless streak aside from the FA Cup of 8 games.

Two goals from Dusan Tadic gave us a 2-1 victory and we could do with some more of the fight showed that day to drag us back into sight of that 4th from bottom spot.

Brighton's defeat at Nottingham Forest was the last thing we needed last night and with 6 points separating us from safety, anything less than three points tonight will see us cast adrift at the bottom.

The stark reality of the situation is that with only 6 games left starting with this evening's fixture we have to win at least four of them and even then it will be a close call.

We can all moan about the reason we are in this position, but there will be plenty of time for that when the season ends, for now we just need to do what we did back in the 1990's and indeed 5 years ago and that is take every game as it comes and get behind our team.

The Arsenal game on Friday felt like a loss, indeed those two points dropped at the very end might prove critical at the end of the season, but truth is it was a point that we didn't expect and it gives us the opportunity to stay within 3 points of safety with a win tonight.

As we know from the past it is the team that finds that surge in the final games that ultimately gets over the line and with 6 games left we have time to do that, the situation was more desperate 5 years ago but only just.

The good news is that we have Che Adams back in the squad and that could be vital, the bad news is that it will be a lte call on Jan Bednarek after suffering concussion at Arsenal on Friday.

Ironically Bournemouth will be without Jack Stephens as he is unable to play against his parent club.

But the Cherries arrive at St Mary's far from safe themselves, they sit just 3 points above Leeds & Forest who have 30 points, a few weeks back after wins at Leicester and at home to Liverpool they looked safe, but a 4-0 drubbing at home to West Ham on Sunday emphasised their frailty, defeat tonight could be very damaging.

Their final five fixtures after this are not easy and given their final game is away at Everton, that could shape up to be an interesting game.

So tonight is a big fixture for both teams, but at least we go into it with some confidence after the performance at Arsenal, we showed we had spirit and we showed we had fight.

The key will be what team we put out and more importantly the substitutions.

In the back four there is still a lot of uncertainty who will play, if Jan Bednarek is fit then he will line up alongside Armando Bella-Kotchap, if he isn't then it looks like Duje Caleta Car will replace him.

But the next question is who will play at full back, Kyle Walker Peters is a definite, but the question is on which side, will Selles bring Ainsley Maitland-Niles in to bring in speed on the right and play KWP on the left, or will he keep faith with Romain Perraud.

In midfield James Ward Prowse and Romeo Lavia are definite when fit, but out wide it is a lottery.

It will depend a lot on who plays up front, I would plump for Che Adams and Charly Alcatraz as the front men, that would leave Walcott, Adam Armstrong, Sulemana, Elyounoussi, Stuart Armstrong and even perhaps Mislav Orsic vying for a spot and I haven't even mentioned Moussa Djenepo, Sekou Mara & Joe Aribo, who could slot in somewhere.

Or for that matter whether the manager decides to play Maitland- Niles in wide midfield.

It is a tough call and for that matter one that does not punch you in the face, I would perhaps go for Sulemana and Theo Walcott.

We will have a strong bench and this could be the key, but in recent weeks Ruben Selles has made some strange decisions, not least the one to take off Charly Alcatraz at half time at Arsenal, Charly had not only scored the opener and provided the pass for the 2nd goal, but made a vital header off the line as well.

It could be argued that the youngster was the best player on the pitch in the first half for either side, yet he played no part in the second.

Bournemouth were a team playing without fear, they thought they were home and dry and on the beach, but after last night's results they are suddenly right back in the relegation battle and this is what we have to play on, get at them and make them shake.

Their fans and basically a third of their home support will be at tonight's game, were thinking this time last week that they were coming to celebrate our relegation, now they are more worried about their own safety.

Not that this will shut them up, they will sing their silly songs in the misguided notion that we actually care what they think, with no bitter rivals of their own, they try to manufacture a rivalry, but truth is you have to have two to tango and our animosity will always head East & not West.

Saints fans have been very self depreciating of late, but if there is one song I would like to hear reverberating around St Mary's tonight after a good drubbing of the Cherries it is "Your'e going down with Southampton"

Now that would make me smile a little.

Photo: Action Images

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DellBoyWally added 12:26 - Apr 27
I look back on 2 games - home to Forest and Everton. We gifted them their only away wins this season. Win both and we'd have a 6 point swing on those two and be on 30 points with Everton 20th on 24 and Forest 19th on 27. We'd be in 17th and a win tonight onto 33 points into 15th, our regular spot!!
Everton at home to Saudi tonight should go only one way (!!) so we'd be 9 points clear of them and 4 points clear of 17th.
We can point fingers (at SR mostly??) but 2 bad, silly, avoidable losses basically sum up our whole season.
Lose tonight and goodbye Vienna (ah, the days of European football!!

saintmark1976 added 12:58 - Apr 27
According to the club’s ticketing website ( agreed not the most reliable site in the world ) there are many hundreds of tickets available for tonight’s game. Why? Too expensive, kids at school tomorrow or have many now conceded that relegation is inevitable? Appears strange given that a win would put us back in the mix and give us a chance, albeit only an outside chance, of avoiding the drop.

Whatsforpud added 16:20 - Apr 27
saintmark, maybe HAVING TO
walking to and fro in the wet, when it is on TV?

DellBoyWally added 17:00 - Apr 27
520 miles round trip, home early hours after an embarrassing loss?
Or watch in warmth and comfort on BT?
Decisions. Decisions!!

allsaint54 added 19:28 - Apr 27
Ely starts again wtf is he playing at

barry_sanchez added 20:59 - Apr 27
This team is an awful lot shitter than that one.

sandywelsh added 22:42 - Apr 27
looks like we are going down without a whimper! The manager has not got a clue and the board spent loads of money in the January transfer window on players that are not up to the premier league. When they sacked Ralph they should have got a manager with premier league experience not f---ing Nathan Jones!!!!!!!!!

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