Southampton vs BournemouthEnglish Premier League, KO: 20:00 Sep 20, 2019, St Mary's Stadium
SEVERAL derbies will be contested throughout Europe this weekend, the first of which comes from the Premier League on Friday night when Southampton and Bournemouth battle it out for south-coast bragging rights.
Both of these rivals have taken seven points from a possible 15 thus far – a return which sees these teams occupy 9th and 10th spot in the Premier League respectively – with only Bournemouth's superior goals for tally separating the sides at this stage.
The Cherries have chalked up eight league goals to date – three of which arrived in last Sunday's impressive 3-1 victory over Everton at the Vitality Stadium.
Eddie Howe's team were in the midst of a two game losing streak prior to last weekend's first home win of the season, so taking three points form their tussle with the Toffees should prove to be a timely boost ahead of a showdown with Southampton.
The Saints march into this meeting unbeaten in their last four games in all competitions and only Premier League pacesetters Liverpool have amassed more points than Southampton in the last three rounds of top-flight fixtures.
After being brushed aside by Burnley and Liverpool in their opening two assignments, Ralph Hasenhuttl's side have responded admirably by taking maximum points from road trips to Brighton and Sheffield United either side of a share of the spoils with Manchester United at St Mary's.
Southampton's recovery can be attributed to Hasenhuttl shoring up a defence that shipped five goals over the first two weekends of the season, however since then only a Daniel James wonder-goal has breached the Saints backline.
The bookmakers make Southampton odds-on at Evens (Ladbrokes) to pick up their first home win of the season, with Bournemouth an unfancied 3/1 (Marathonbet) to get their first-ever win at this venue.
Both meetings last season ended all square – including a 3-3 thriller at St Mary's – and another derby day draw pays 13/5 (Bet 365)
Callum Wilson scored two of the six goals that were shared between these familiar foes back in April and after bagging a brace against Everton last Sunday the England international will be aiming to slay the Saints yet again.
Wilson, with three goals in his last two games, is 13/2 (PaddyPower) to score the opening goal – something he has done in his last two outings – and he is 2/1 (PaddyPower) to strike anytime, which could be a more shrewd approach to consider seeing as Bournemouth have only manged two clean-sheets in their last 16 away days.
Last Saturday's Saints hero Moussa Djenepo misses out through injury, so Hasenhuttl will be hoping striker Che Adams can finally open his account on Friday night – he is 9/5 (Sportingbet) to do so.
As tends to be the case with most derbies, cards could be on the menu, and although referee Chris Kavanagh is traditionally one of the divisions more lenient officials, he will no doubt have to take some names on the south-coast.
Bournemouth duo Jefferson Lerma 33/20 (Unibet) and Phillip Billing 2/1 (William Hill) are regular offenders, however better value could lie with Saints midfielder Oriel Romeu who looks overpriced at 3/1 (Bet 365)
The Spanish midfielder clocked up 11 cards last season – one of which was brandished in last season's corresponding fixture – and having not been booked since the second weekend of the campaign a card for the tough-tackling midfielder looks overdue.
Howe's side will set out to attack as always, but whether or not they can go into their neighbours backyard and collect all three points is another matter.
Bournemouth are arguably the league's most unpredictable team and they have an appalling record against Southampton – triumphing only once in their last 12 attempts against the Saints.
Yet, the visitors have manged to pinch a point from four of the last five south-coast derbies and as such backing another draw between these sides appeals at 13/5 (Bet 365)
However, I'm more attracted to the goals markets on account of all of the Cherries games seeing both teams score this season – as have 19 of Southampton's 27 Premier League games under Hasenhuttl's watch – all of which is reflected in the skinny 4/6 (William Hill) on offer for both teams to find the net.
Backing over 2.5 goals pays slightly higher at 8/11 (William Hill) with the same firm, however combining over 2.5 goals with both teams scoring is available at 21/20 (William Hill) – a combination that catches the eye and one that would have generated profit from all of Bournemouth's previous four Premier League fixtures.
This English Premier League match between Southampton and Bournemouth will be played on Sep 20, 2019 and kick off at 20:00