Bournemouth vs Southampton by Luke
After a decent January, Bournemouth is faced with downtrend in their form in February, since the team comes from their fourth consecutive match without a victory. Moreover, they have three defeats and a draw, scoring only once in all competitions. Most recently, they had a goalless draw away to Watford in quite an equal and passive game from both sides.
Still, visitors from Bournemouth were just slightly more concrete with the ball and even though the draw was a fair outcome of the game, if one of the teams deserved bit more than a point, it surely was the visiting side. After three matches without a victory in Premier League, they are still above the relegation zone, being currently five points ahead of relegating worried Newcastle and Norwich. Bournemouth is set to play in a bit more defensive 4-4-1-1 formation with King as their striker and Afobe as offensive support. Forward Lewis Grabban (6/1) continues to be injured, but Max Gradel has returned last weekend from injury and should continue in the starting position. Striker Callum Wilson (7/5) is also injurd, as well as left back Tyrone Mings (1/0) and offensive midfielder Junior Stanislas (17/3). Their coach Eddie Howe could name a similar squad as in previous game.
Southampton, on the other side, suffered their first defeat after five victories and a draw in Premier League, as the Saints welcomed Chelsea last Saturday evening and were left with empty hands in last minutes of the match. Shane Long brought them into the lead in 42nd minute in quite a passive game from both sides, however as the time progressed players of Chelsea looked more and more dominant.
The Saints switched, a bit unneccessary, to a defensive role and left the ball to their opponents, who took the victory with two late goals, in 75th minute via Fabregas and in 89th with a goal from Ivanovic. Overall, the game wasn't one of the most interesting that weekend, but the Blues obviously did deserve more out of the game. This result surely represents a setback for them, but the team is still alive in the race for European spots, being at seventh position curently with just four points less than Manchester United and three less than West Ham. Southampton will most likely be playing in 3-5-1-1 formation trying to dominate the midfield, using Pelle as striker and offensive midfielder Tadic as his first support. Forward Shane Long sustained injury against Chelsea and is expected to miss here. Defensvie midfielder Victor Wanyama (22/0) is suspended now, while long term absentees remain central defender Florin Gardos and midfielder Jay Rodriguez.
Southampton has nice recent tradition against Bournemouth and it's something that can easily continue tonight. Draw surely can't be excluded, but the visitors are somehow closer to get the all three points in my eyes. Their offensive part of the team surely does way more quality job.