IN-FORM Willie Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) is off to The Hawthorns in search of a winner in the early Saturday Premier League kick-off.
Southampton v Bournemouth | Saturday 17:30 | BT Sports 1
More than a month has passed since Southampton last kicked a ball at St Mary’s; it is easy to imagine, therefore, that Saints fans are salivating at the prospect of Saturday evening’s south coast derby against AFC Bournemouth.
Since Southampton last played on their own patch (an entirely out of character 3-1 defeat at the hands of West Ham United), they have played four, won two and lost two.
Sadly for Saints, one of those losses came at Wembley when they were beaten by Manchester United but most who saw that match were full of admiration for the way that Claude Puel’s men performed against Jose Mourinho’s team.
Saints, too, have racked up an impressive 11 goals in those games – there was a 4-0 win at Sunderland, a 4-3 win at Watford and a 2-1 loss against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane (Spurs are still unbeaten in domestic competition on their own patch this season) as well as the agonising 3-2 EFL Cup defeat against United.
Cherries poor away form
Puel’s men certainly pack a punch and that could give them the edge here, for Bournemouth’s away form is nothing to shout about; the Cherries have collected just nine points from 14 matches on the road so far this season, with Bournemouth beaten in all but one of their last five away fixtures in all competitions.
That single point was procured in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, but Bournemouth were battered in the early spells of that match before restoring parity from the penalty spot and if Manchester United had put on their shooting boots before kick-off, it would have been a very heavy defeat for Eddie Howe’s men.
Saints have lost three of their last four Premier League matches at home, but Puel’s side had been beaten just twice in 18 top flight fixtures on home soil before that – both against Chelsea – in a run of results that was kicked off by a 4-0 demolition of Arsenal back on Boxing Day in 2015.
The Cherries have lost 31 away goals so far this season – only Swansea City and Hull City have conceded more often – and there could be value in backing Saints to win a goal-laden game on Saturday.
The selection would have seen punters profit from three of Southampton’s last four wins, as well as in each of Bournemouth’s last seven defeats away from home in all competitions.
Southampton v Bournemouth – Southampton to win and Over 2.5 Goals (6/4 BetStars)