It's a trip to AFC Bournemouth this Sunday! Ahead of the game, we got the lowdown on Cherries from Bournemouth Echo reporter Ned Payne...
How would you sum up Bournemouth’s season so far?
It’s been a mixed bag. They started the season disappointingly, and one win in the first eight Premier League games was a big worry. The victory at Stoke City proved the catalyst for a mini revival, and a run of three straight clean sheets in November certainly helped. But Eddie Howe’s men were well beaten by Burnley this week, so they need to bounce back.
After a good run, how is the mood following that loss to Burnley in midweek?
The manager and the players commented on their disappointment at the performance, and rightly so. It was far from their best this season. But this is a positive group and it will be out of their minds by the time they line up against Southampton.
What sort of a style of play and set-up can Saints fans expect to see from them this weekend?
Bournemouth have used a back three against the Premier League’s big guns this season, but I would expect them to utilise their more-favoured 4-4-1-1 formation. As usual, they will play an attractive passing game.
Who have been the team’s top performers this season?
Nathan Aké is starting to hit his stride, following his permanent move from Chelsea in the summer. His reading of the game is excellent and, if he continues to apply himself, he could go on to be really special. Another former Chelsea player, goalkeeper Asmir Begović, has also done well.
What do you think the keys to the game will be, and who will be the key men for Bournemouth if they are to get a result?
Bournemouth have to make sure they provide their frontmen with enough service, so the creative players will be particularly important. Assuming they keep their places, the likes of Marc Pugh and Jordon Ibe will need to produce their best.