Ahead of the important south coast clash tomorrow, we caught up with Read Southampton editor, Dan Emery, and asked him a few questions about tomorrow’s game.
Saints faced Bournemouth earlier in the season, what were your thoughts on that game?
Dan Emery: It was a game of two halves. Saints were brilliant in the first half. They moved the ball quickly and played some very nice football, certainly worthy of a 2-0 lead. Bournemouth upped their tempo in the second half and were helped by Victor Wanyama’s sending off. However, they never really looked like testing Maarten Stekelenburg. All in all, it was a fairly comfortable win.
What was your general impression of Bournemouth that day?
DE: As I just mentioned, Bournemouth upped the tempo in after the interval but were never really at a standard that was good enough to test Southampton on the day. They will need to play much better tomorrow than they did at St.Mary’s if they want to stand any chance of claiming some points.
How do you assess Southampton’s season so far, do you think they deserve to be where they are currently?
DE: In a word; Rollercoaster. It was a bad couple of games at the start of the season but that was followed by a decent run of form, being unbeaten away from home for the first few months of the season. Then there was the long patch of sticky form where the 4-0 win over Arsenal was the only positive around Christmas time. Form has picked up since the turn of the year and two goals conceded in seven games says it all, solid! I think eighth if fair, although I would say sixth/seventh would also be an apt representation of Southampton’s season.
What sort of team do you think the Saints will put out tomorrow?
DE: I think Ronald Koeman may go to four at the back again so…..
Forster; Cedric, Van Dijk, Fonte, Bertrand; Clasie, Romeu; Davis, Mane, Tadic; Austin.
Charlie Austin seems to have settled well, what sort of role do you think he will play at the Vitality?
DE: Well, with Shane Long looking like he will miss the match with cramp, I anticipate Austin to start up front on his own. I think it will be a very good chance for him to really showcase his talents and if he is on form, I can’t see Bournemouth containing him. So I expect Austin to play a big part tomorrow and I would put money on him banging in a couple to add to his United goal.
Who do you think the Saints defense need to be wary of and who are the dangermen for Southampton?
DE: I really like Benik Afobe. He has really good movement and he knows where the goal is. That being said, Harry Arter is also a nifty player. I think Van Dijk and Fonte will be able to hold Afobe off but Clasie and Romeu will need to do well to stop Arter.
For Southampton, Austin, as I mentioned, is an obvious one. Mane hasn’t scored since last year so he will be eager to find the back of the net again. He could be influential against a shaky Bournemouth backline.
What’s your prediction for the game?
DE: I think Bournemouth will huff and puff but Southampton will ease through with a 3-0 win.
Big thank you to Dan for doing this.
What are your predictions for the game? Tweet us them at @ReadBournemouth