Bournemouth head to Southampton on Friday night in search of their first ever win there. Can the Cherries make it 16th time lucky? Read Steve's thoughts on the live action here...
"The Cherries first played away at Southampton way back in 1953, drawing 1-1 in the F.A Cup. They’ve played away there 14 times since and they’re still looking to register their first win, having lost nine and drawn six in total. History is most certainly against them."
Southampton v Bournemouth
Friday 20 September, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports
Solid Saints looking to build on steady start
Southampton began their 2019/20 Premier League campaign with a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Burnley. It was a tight and rather dull affair for over an hour, decided by defensive mistakes, and the score flattered the hosts somewhat. A 2-1 home defeat to league leaders, Liverpool, followed but that was the last time the Saints tasted defeat, they've conceded just once in four games, and they're on a bit of a roll.
Premier League wins away at Brighton (2-0) and Sheffield United (1-0), sandwiched a 1-0 win away at Fulham in the EFL Cup and a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United but it's debatable how deserved the seven Premier League points gained were.
Brighton went down to ten men when Florin Andone was sent off after half-an-hour and the hosts had a Lewis Dunk goal disallowed shortly after the dismissal. Despite being down to ten men, Brighton matched the Saints throughout but they were caught out on the break.
Manchester United dominated the draw at St Marys, having the bulk of the possession and 17 shots to Southampton's seven and by all accounts, Sheffield United deserved at least a point at Bramall Lane last week. The Blades had a goal chalked off by VAR, Billy Sharp saw red for a poor tackle late on and David McGoldrick, in particular, was profligate in front of goal for United.
Southampton may have ridden their luck a bit at times but it's noteworthy that they've conceded just once in their last four games and the future is starting to look bright under Ralph Hasenhüttl. The Saints have only lost twice at home this calendar year (to Cardiff and Liverpool) and with seven points from their first five games of the new season, they're ahead of the predicted curve and inside the top-ten.
Unpredictable Cherries look to make history
Bournemouth manager, Eddie Howe, described the Cherries 3-1 victory at home to Everton on Sunday as a "huge moment in our season" and I can see why. He'd have been disappointed by the 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield United, thanks to an 88th minute Blades equaliser by Billy Sharp, he'd have been satisfied with their 2-1 win away at Villa, and philosophical about 3-1 defeats to both Manchester City (home) and Leicester (away). It's now time to kick on.
Bournemouth are a tricky side to weigh up and their results are often confusing. For example, they lost 2-0 at Cardiff last season, just three days after thumping Chelsea 4-0, and a week after thrashing Brighton 5-0 away in April, they lost 1-0 at home to Championship-bound Fulham.
You never quite know what you're going to get with Bouremouth, although goals are often on the agenda. No team outside of the top six scored more than the Cherries last season and they scored more goals than any other team on the break.
That stat suggests that Bournemouth are always going to be dangerous away from home and following their win against the Toffees, at around 3.9, they're a tempting price in the outright market but Eddie Howe's men have a woeful record against the Saints.
Howe has never won away from home against Southampton as manager (W0 D2 L5), with his sides failing to score on five occasions and in eight Premier League meetings to date, Bournemouth have beaten Southampton just once, 2-0 at home in March 2016. That's their sole success in their last 12 encounters.
When still known as Bournemouth and Boscombe, the Cherries first played away at Southampton way back in 1953, drawing 1-1 in the F.A Cup. They've played away there 14 times since and they're still looking to register their first win, having lost nine and drawn six in total. History is most certainly against them.
Another stalemate is the value play
This fixture finished 3-3 last season, and with Bournemouth so often prolific, I can see why Yes in the Both Teams to Score market and Over in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market is odds-on. Both teams have scored in 88 of Bournemouth's games since they joined the Premier League in 2015 and in that time only Leicester (91) and Arsenal (90) have featured in more games where both teams have found the net.
I certainly wouldn't be backing No in the Both Teams to Score market or Under 2.5 Goals but given how stingy the Saints have been of late, whether there's any value in either market is debatable and in what looks a really tricky match to call, I'm siding with the draw in the outright market at 3.7511/4.
The home side make no appeal at just a shade of odds-against and I'm put off the visitors because of their appalling record at Southampton. These two teams have played out a draw in four of their last five Premier League meetings and another stalemate is perfectly plausible.
For more tips on the Premier League, check out this week's episode of Football...Only Bettor, with Betfair columnists Kevin Hatchard, Mark O'Haire and Jake Osgathorpe joining host Caroline Barker to preview all the weekend action
Staked: 7 pts
Returned: 7.3 pts
P/L: + 0.3 pts
1 pt Draw @ 3.7511/4