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AFC Bournemouth 0 v 3 Southampton
FA Cup
Saturday, 20th March 2021 Kick-off 12:15
Southampton At Bournemouth The Preview
Friday, 19th Mar 2021 12:49

Make no bones about it this can make or break our season, win this game and not only will we be 90 minutes from Wembley but it will give a buzz about the place for the last 9 games of the season so we can get the 2 wins needed to see us safe from the worry of relegation.

It's been a bit doom and gloom in the Saints fanbase of late, but the FA Cup has been a welcome relief and Saints now have a big chance to add a bit of glory to the season and when you play a game in the FA Cup with respect to the Cherries you want to be drawn with the lowest ranking team in the competition.

Both teams have their injury problems, Saints will be without six players for the game incluiding the injured Danny Ings , Theo Walcott ,Oreol Romeu and the cup tied Takumi Minamino, but we still have plenty in reserve

But Bournemouth have bigger problems in their squad, they are likely to be missing 7 on Saturday and most of them have been regulars and key players.

Saints need to go into this game with confidence and a swagger, we need to rediscover the form that we had in the final six months of 2020, we are not a bad team and we haven't become one over night, we have just suffered some appalling injuries and bad luck.

But the time for excuses was over a week ago and we have to put the Brighton result behind us and concentrate on this game.

I would not expect too many changes from the starting line up against the Seagulls, Fraser Forster in goal and the same back four of KWP, Bednarek, Vestergaard and Bertrand.

In the centre of midfield JWP & Ibrahima Diallo with Stuart Armstrong on one side, who will play on the other side is up for debate and this is where we lack a little bit of options with Ings out and Minamino cup tied.

Popular choice would be Moussa Djenepo and that would leave Che Adams and Nathan Tella up front.

On the bench aside from Alex McCarthy we should have Jack Stephens, Mohammed Salisu & Nathan Redmond to give us experience, then we are down to the youth verging from promising as in Caleb Watts, and unproven as in Dan N'Lundulu & untried as in a number of others including Chauke & Jankewitz.

Usually there is a glimpse of the squad training on the Thursday before a game, but this week's pictures were very limited and just showed several players taking shots, the question is whether this was a calculated thing by Ralph Hasenhuttl, if it was whether it was good or bad is still unknown, little has been said about Danny Ings or Theo Walcott or how near they are to a return, could one be ready for the bench on Saturday.

Bournemouth have injury problems of their own and are set to be missing 5 first team regulars through injury including Lewis Cook, Lloyd Kelly, Adam Smith, David Brookes and their top scorer Junior Stanislav and they also have Jefferson Lermer suspended, all of these players are usually first choice, Saints loanee Shane Long will miss the game through being cup tied.

So the question is whether Bournemouth can handle having so many key players out , only Long would not be considered a potential starter in that he has fallen out of favour since Jonathan Woodgate has taken over as manager.

The Cherries form has been up and down of late and it has seen them drop out of the promotion play off spots, the win over Swansea on Tuesday has got them back within two points of 6th place, but the 3-0 scoreline was not as convincing as it suggests.

Bournemouth seem to be a direct side, they sit back and then get the ball forward quickly on the break, this is the one worrying aspect of their game, dealing with counter attacks is not our strongest point.

So the big dilemma for Jonathan Woodgate is whether he priorities this game over chasing promotion, does he play his strongest side and risk losing more key players, or does he go for it, knowing that if he gets anymore injuries then it could impact on his teams promotion chances and from that point the last thing he needs at the moment is another game in the schedule, to get to an FA Cup Final would be a first for the Cherries, but they need a big profile game distracting their season like they need a hole in the head.

But you have to say that if you asked the question if any of their players would get in our starting line up ? then the answer would be no ! they are a good Championship side, but they are far from being Premier League quality, they went down last season and have lost key players since then.

To give an example Norwich City who went down rock bottom last season are romping to the title this year.

One thing in Saints favour will be the lack of a crowd, Bournemouth like to think that there is a rivalry and indeed the local press is trying to stir it up as such, the Bournemouth Echo says "This opportunity doesn't come around a lot, Cherries growing rivalry with Saints is set for it's most compelling chapter yet, but for Saints fans it's just another game and pales in comparison with our "friendship" with Pompey.

So if we had been going down there with 1,200 fans , we would be well outnumbered by a Bournemouth support with chips on both shoulders, it would be billed as a blood and thunder local derby and perhaps one of those occasions where the crowd can truly influence a result and stir its team on.

But it won't be that, it will be an empty stadium and hopefully that will suit Saints we can weather the initial Bournemouth bluster and concentrate on imposing ourselves and winning the game.

Win this game and suddenly the season gets exciting, an FA Cup semi final and a springboard to win a few League games and be able to stop looking over our shoulder.

Photo: Action Images



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underweststand added 13:21 - Mar 19
a convincing win - by at least one goal (!)..would be fine, but not getting further in the competition now we are this stage would be bad news for the rest of the season.
news ?...SIMPLE . we play the fittest 11 players we have, and hope to keep injury free.
5

saintmark1976 added 13:27 - Mar 19
I expect us to win tomorrow and to win handsomely.

Were we to lose, I also expect that the best advice for you Nick, will be to avoid social media at all costs.
5

highfield49 added 17:24 - Mar 19
Quite simply, if we can't comfortably win this match in 90 minutes, never mind added time, we are in trouble. Bournemouth are the equivalent of West Brom, Fulham and Burnley. Games we need to take three points from without any excuses whatsoever.
5

allsaint54 added 11:47 - Mar 20
OMG Redmond's starting up front. How can Ralph justify this selection, anybody else would be better.
-1


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