MATCH PREVIEW: Southampton vs AFC Bournemouth

By SFC Media time Sat 31 Oct Club

Get the lowdown ahead of Southampton's first ever Premier League meeting with AFC Bournemouth at St Mary's on Sunday afternoon.


Southampton take on South Coast neighbours AFC Bournemouth in the Barclays Premier League for the first time ever on Sunday.

Saints and the Cherries haven’t met since a League 1 clash back in March 2011, which ended in a 3-1 win for Southampton away from home.

Ronald Koeman’s side go into the game on the back of a five-game unbeaten run in all competitions, and a win against Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night.

Their last home league game ended in disappointment, however, as they were pegged back by Leicester City, drawing 2-2 with the Foxes having been two goals ahead at half time.

For the Cherries, who made a promising start to the campaign, injuries have taken their toll. Eddie Howe’s men have conceded ten goals in their last two league games – losing them both 5-1.

They were also knocked out of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday, losing 1-0 at Anfield against Liverpool.

For Southampton, Sadio Mané returns after serving his suspension in the win against Aston Villa, but Jay Rodriguez and Shane Long remain sidelined.

Visitors Bournemouth will be without Callum Wilson, Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings through long-term injury, while captain Tommy Elphick is also out. Former Saints goalkeeper Artur Boruc is a slight doubt for Eddie Howe’s men. Harry Arter could make his first Premier League start after returning from injury in midweek.

With last season’s top scorer, Callum Wilson, missing with a long-term knee injury, much of the pressure has fallen onto the shoulders of winger Matt Ritchie.

The former Portsmouth and Swindon Town man joined the Cherries back in 2013 and has had a huge role to play in helping them reach the top flight.

The Scotland international has not looked out of place in England’s top division – scoring the opening goal in last weekend’s defeat to Spurs.

The 26 year-old, who has played in every league game so far, scored a goal of the season contender in a 2-0 home win over Sunderland back in September, and will certainly be a man Saints need to be wary of.

Southampton have never lost a home game against Bournemouth, winning seven and drawing four in all competitions.

Bournemouth’s last league victory against Southampton came in 1958 back in the old Third Division.

Ronald Koeman’s side have scored at least two goals in four of their last five home games.

Sadio Mané has been directly involved in seven goals in his last seven games (three goals and four assists).

It is only the second season in 55 years that Saints have been in the same division as Bournemouth.

While Saints have scored three goals from set pieces in their last two league matches, Bournemouth have conceded seven goals from set pieces so far this season – the highest in the Barclays Premier League.

You can follow all the action from Sunday's game at St Mary's via the club’s social media channels. We’ll have live updates on Twitter, goal updates on Facebook and a liveblog running on saintsfc.co.uk .

After the game, we’ll have reaction on youtube.com/southamptonfc, as well as saintsfc.co.uk .

#WeMarchOn


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