Both Bournemouth and Southampton come into this highly anticipated South Coast derby on the back of defeats in the midweek games.
Bournemouth suffered a home loss to high flying Burnley, who have managed to build on their incredible home form from last season. This time around they are getting results away from home and Bournemouth were the latest side to go down to the Clarets, in a 2-1 loss at the Vitality.
Eddie Howe will be hoping for a bit more from his side this weekend, when they face bitter rivals Southampton at home. The Cherries have the opportunity to leapfrog their opponents and can go as high as ninth in the league, providing other results go their way.
Junior Stanislas could be in line to make his return from injury, although Howe is unlikely to rush the forward back into action.
Before their loss to Burnley, Bournemouth hadn’t conceded in three games, managing two wins and a draw. If that Bournemouth side shows up, the result should be a formality. But, as is the case with a lot of the teams in the lower half of the table, it’s a story of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde – which will it be on Sunday?
Southampton also suffered a defeat in midweek, but of a very different nature. The Saints’ travelled to Manchester to face league leaders, and still unbeaten Manchester City. They managed just 26% possession, as they tried their best to keep the Man City juggernaut at bay, with 11 men behind the ball. They also managed just seven shots all game, only two of which found the target. It’s easy to say the Saints are hoping for an easier game on Sunday.
Cedric Soares is a doubt for the game, after picking up a knock against Man City, but other than long-time absentee Matt Targett, Southampton have a clean bill of health.
Southampton haven’t had the best month, other than a convincing 4-1 win against Everton, during which all 10 outfield players had a shot, they have lost at home to Burnley and away at both Man City and Liverpool. They will be hoping for a happier time of things as Christmas approaches.
With two teams who can, on their day, play such dynamic football, this could well be a thrilling encounter. But it could just as easily be ‘one of those days’ for both side, and it could be a drab, tedious meeting.