Cherries to remain on top
A Tale of Two South-Coast Cities
An in-form Bournemouth will take on a struggling Southampton at the Vitality Stadium this Sunday. Only 24 miles may separate the two clubs but the gulf between them in the Premier League sets to widen even further this weekend.
The Cherries have taken sixteen points from their first eight Premier League games; a points total that took them twice as many games to reach last season.
The season has not been so kind to their south-coast rivals Southampton who are currently hovering just above the relegation zone with only one win out of eight.
So, how good are the Cherries this season? Well, let's start with their league position - sixth, with only two losses and a draw from eight matches. At the Vitality Stadium, they have picked up ten points out of a possible twelve and they've not lost a single game. They won their last game against Watford, who were looking like this season's big success story, 0-4 at Vicarage Road.
Their front-line of Fraser, King and Wilson are a light version of Liverpool's attacking triumvirate and have scored a total of ten goals between them. The Cherries are averaging 2.50 goals scored and 1.25 goals conceded at home this season.
Their manager Eddie Howe has implemented a high-press passing game and so far his attacking line have succeeded in blowing teams away with their high-energy attacking play. The fact that their average goals is in-line with their expected goals makes their start to the season even more impressive. Bournemouth have a relatively injury-free squad, only Ryan Fraser is a doubt for the match against Southampton because of injury.
- League postion: 6
The Saints look like they may be heading down the same path as Sunderland, Stoke and Aston Villa. Not only did they fail to strengthen the squad over the summer but they also brought on board Mark Hughes, who implemented his infamous brand of anti-football. Southampton have only picked up five points so far with a goal difference of 6-14. Their last three matches have resulted in 0-3, 0-2 and 0-3 losses. The Saint's average goals goals scored this season stands at 0.75 with 1.75 conceded. To rub salt in the wound, their expected goals confirm that these are the stats they deserve.
The reality is that they just don't have enough quality in their squad. Danny Ings is the man given the unenviable task of scoring the goals. He has scored three goals this season in eight matches, which isn't a bad record but he'll need to hit the form of his life he has any chance of overhauling his club's season.
Southampton have also been particularly poor away from home having lost three matches out of four. There is also a chance that Shane Long will miss the match against Bournemouth on Saturday, which will further dilute what little potency they had in attack.
- League position: 16
Bournemouth head into this match as clear favourites. The Cherries have impressed so far this season, they create goal chances, score goals and win most of their matches. The polar opposite can be said of Southampton. I believe this trend will continue. Therefore, I will bet that the outright winner of the match will be Bournemouth at odds of 23/20.