One of, if not the biggest match in the history of Bournemouth AFC will go down Sunday morning as they host Southampton in a desperate battle to stay afloat in the Premier League.
It has been a down season for Eddie Howe’s Cherries side, though they do have an opportunity to dig out of the mess they’ve created for themselves in their final two clashes. Both of those are clearly must-win encounters as Bournemouth sits three full points back of safety, with a slight disadvantage in terms of their goal differential. It isn’t likely, but it is certainly possible for the Cherries.
Their opponents from Southampton enter this match a comfortable mid-table side. They’ve got nothing to play for aside from pride. Star striker Danny Ings continues to chase down the goal-scoring lead, but aside from individual accolades, there isn’t much in this game for SOuthampton. Despite this, they’re still playing hard as the group is unbeaten in five. You can bet, they won’t just roll over for their southern neighbours.
With all that this match means to Bournemouth, it should produce some tense moments and good drama. Excellent for a fan, and nervy for manager Eddie Howe. There is also a big belief that Bournemouth simply have no choice but to go out and try to win this match, playing offensive and taking chances forward. This should mean a solid game to kick-off a busy Sunday of soccer action. As always, keep reading on beneath the posted odds for team news, tactical analysis, and a betting prediction for Southampton vs. Bournemouth.
Bournemouth vs. Southampton Betting Odds:
Over 2.5 (-135)
Under 2.5 (+115)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Bournemouth vs. Southampton Pick:
It’s simply now or never for the Cherries and manager Eddie Howe. A tough defeat mid-week to Man City sees them in an even tougher scenario, but two wins and lots of goals could just do the trick.
It will not be easy however, especially with regard to their personnel at the back as key defender Nathan Ake remains injured and cannot start. He might be healthy in time for the Everton clash next week.
If Bournemouth are to be successful this week, they’ll need to push the pace and take some chances going forward. They have shown the ability in the past to be an excellent offensive team. With high skill talents like Joshua King and Callum Wilson playing forward, that duo can and should pose problems for the Saints. It won’t be easy, but there is a path to success for a Bournemouth side that just played Man City very tough.
For Southampton, they have no fresh injury concerns though it remains to be seen if manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will name a first-choice side. He’s been playing them regularly, nearly twice a week for a full month now, and it wouldn’t stun me to see some squad rotation from the Saints. That said, don’t count on Southampton’s Danny Ings sitting this one out. He loves to be in the lineup, and enters 2nd in terms of Premier League goals scored. You can bet he’ll want to chase down that top spot.
While the Cherries do struggle defensively, that shouldn’t play as prominent a role in this match and could favour Howe’s men. He’ll demand his players to take chances and push forward, as they seek out goals and a win. A draw likely does them no good in their bid for survival. I like a high scoring encounter, and one in which both teams should find the back of the net. Ultimately though, I do think Bournemouth will do enough to secure a valuable victory and the full three points, setting up a tense finish to their Premier League campaign next weekend.
Pick: Bournemouth 3-2