By Samuel Goodwin (@samuelgooders13)
Close in location but very far apart in the table, AFC Bournemouth come into this South Coast derby having had their best-ever start to a top-flight campaign winning five of their first eight games.
Southampton on the other hand are just outside the bottom three winning just one game so far, a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at the start of September, leaving them in 16th place, ten places below their neighbours who sit in sixth.
Bournemouth’s front three of Josh King, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser are forming a formidable attacking force having scored 10 goals between them already this season.
But boss Eddie Howe said there will be ‘late decisions’ made over the fitness of Ryan Fraser and Josh King.
Fraser pulled out of the Scotland squad last week and Howe explained at his pre-match press conference, ahead of the game: “He’s been carrying a hamstring injury for weeks.
“We’ll have to see and make a late decision on him.”
Howe also revealed the significance of the international periods, which he says helps recharge the squad.
Howe continued: “We always find the breaks very useful.
“We’ve worked the squad hard and done some team-building exercises and we now look to come back as a better team.”
The Cherries manager praised his side’s performances this term but insists there is still more to come from arguably the league’s surprise package.
“We’re not the finished article yet.
“We’ve considered ourselves a good team in possession historically, we’ve maybe tried to improve the transitions into counter attack.”
The Cherries will be hoping to capitalize on Southampton’s poor start, but the Saints will be desperate to end a run of four games without a win.
Their miserable season has seen them score just six goals and with Bournemouth’s attacking threat being as potent as ever, it remains to be seen if Mark Hughes’ men can turn the tide in this South Coast derby.
AFC Bournemouth vs Southampton is a 3pm kick off at the Vitality Stadium.