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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Cherries should strike late in a lively encounter

Southampton star Nathan Redmond
1 of 1

Premier League
BT Sport 1, 5.30pm Saturday

There will be nothing mundane about this mid-table clash at St Mary’s where neighbours Southampton and Bournemouth can lay on a tasty tea-time treat.

Seventeen points adrift of seventh spot, nine points clear of the bottom three, both sides can pretty much freewheel their way to the end of season.

Both camps will look forward to the match, though selection issues in the home dressing room have made Southampton fans more fretful and make Claude Puel’s men unattractive at 4-6.

First-choice centre-forward Charlie Austin is still out and Manolo Gabbiadini, the man who has replaced him superbly with six goals in five games, is also sidelined.

At the other end of the pitch Virgil van Dijk has been ruled out for the season and a jet-lagged Maya Yoshida may not be ready to start. Without Jose Fonte since January, defensive cover is fragile with Martin Caceres poised for a first start for 14 months.

Saints have lost three of their last four home games and since a 1-0 win at Liverpool in the EFL Cup at the end of January they have let in 18 goals in seven games.

Southampton have to be favourites but they look on the short side against a Bournemouth side buzzing after back-to-back wins against West Ham and Swansea. And with Saints struggling with injuries, the Bournemouth or draw double chance looks a runner at 13-10.

The Cherries approach every game with the intention of winning and will never stop trying to play their football.

It has earned them impressive wins against Liverpool and West Ham and some painful defeats against Burnley and Everton. They were also involved in one of the campaign’s most vibrant draws, a 3-3 stalemate with Arsenal.

The connection with all those games is goals, at both ends. Ryan Fraser, Josh King and Benik Afobe have pace galore up top but there is a far less assured look at the back where ex-Saints’ cat Artur Boruc and his defenders will take risks, get caught out of position and make errors. Their matches average 3.3 goals per game and they’ve conceded 31 goals away.

It’s 8-11 that both teams score and the same price over 2.5 goals but preferable is the 6-5 that the Cherries score in the second half.

Whether they are chasing the game or exposing holes caused by Southampton pushing on, they are a threat. King, with eight in his last eight, is flying and they have scored nine goals in their last six away games.

Bournemouth over 0.5 second-half goals
1pt 6-5 Betway

Bet on this match at

King, with eight in his last eight, is flying and they have scored nine goals in their last six away games
E.W. Terms
Sky bet