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    Southampton host Bournemouth for the first time in the Premier League.



    St Mary's stadium


    By Dominic Rust

    Southampton will head into this weekend’s south coast derby against Bournemouth full of confidence.

    The hosts are unbeaten in six matches in all competitions, and the 2-1 midweek victory over Aston Villa in the Carling Cup will encourage Ronald Koeman’s thoughts that the Saints can win the tournament this season.

    The former Feyenoord manager also highlighted the performance of Japanese international Maya Yoshida as he scored the opening goal from 20 yards on Wednesday evening.

    Whilst the Cherries last win came at Sunderland in the Premier League and prior to this Sunday’s game they have conceded 10 goals at Tottenham and Manchester City.

    Long-term injuries to star striker Callum Wilson, Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings has thwarted their attempts at Premier League survival. Not to forget Bournemouth Captain Tommy Elphick ruled out until next year,

    Eddie Howe has injected his squad with quality but no one would have thought his side would have three key players out with serious injuries.

    Bournemouth look destined for the drop as they have scored only 12 times in the first venture into Premier League football.

    They will have to improve on their attacking threat otherwise; they will be back in the Championship next year.

    Meanwhile Southampton are going from strength to strength are one of the form teams in the top flight as they have two wins and two draws from their last four matches.

    Their cohesion as a team is something to behold as each players knows their role in the 4-3-3 system Ronald Koeman prefers.

    Southampton have a variety of goal threats as the defenders and strikers are scoring for the Saints at the moment.

    Virgil Van Dijk and Captain Jose Fonte scored in the 2-2 draw against Leicester. Whilst Sadio Mane, Steven Davis and Graziano Pelle netted in the 3-1 away victory against Chelsea.

    The aforementioned Mane was sent off in the 1-draw against Liverpool at Anfield and he is available for selection on Sunday.
    Graziano Pelle

    Cedric and Ryan Bertrand will return to the first team squad after being rested in midweek whilst Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez are injured.

    Gosport born Matt Richie has performed well for Bournemouth and with the injuries to Callum Wilson et al; he remains the Cherries likely goal threat.

    He scored an amazing left footed volley against Sunderland - which is a contender for goal of the season.
    His performances have caught the eye of Scotland and he has been rewarded with a place in the Scotland squad.

    Southampton are clear favourites for this game and that is demonstrated by their impressive run of form.

    However, form in derby games rarely comes into the equation typified by Sunderland’s win over Newcastle last Sunday.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/81095342@N03/13913529005">_MG_3466</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>
    Southampton stadium by Ingy the Wingy
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    Item Reviewed: Southampton host Bournemouth for the first time in the Premier League. Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Dominic Rust
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