Bournemouth v Southampton
20th October 2018
Højbjerg (left) had yet another good game, while the returning Stephens (right) also did well
IBO Reporter : channonite
Going into this match the form book tended to suggest a bit of a walkover for Bournemouth. They were on a decent run of form, they were riding high in the table, they were playing at home and the fans were loving it. Saints on the other hand have been pretty nondescript so far this season, they were at the wrong end of the table, were away from home and the fans are most definitely not loving it.
So, nothing much to look forward to. The one thing that I was not expecting was a 0-0 draw.
An hour before the kick-off I checked the team news and straight away looked for the two central defenders. Hoedt again. With Stephens. This wasn't going to end well. Then I saw Austin was with Ings at the sharp end. I saw somebody during the week describe Charlie as having the speed and touch of a bulldozer.. Hughes had gone back to a 4-4-2 formation, having played three at the back against Chelsea and conceded three goals. Redmond and Elyounoussi were the wide players.
From the kick off Bournemouth went at Saints in their high tempo style and it rattled the away side. In fact Bournemouth should have gone ahead, as they carved through the defence, like the proverbial hot knife through butter, with Wilson getting behind Bertrand and only some desperate defending kept the ball out.
Although that sounds bad, it was just about the only time that Saints looked troubled during that first half. In fact Saints themselves had a decent chance when, after some clever play from Stephens and Højbjerg, Austin found himself getting round Aké, but Begovic forced Charlie out wide and the moment was gone.
That basically was the first half in a nutshell, chances at a premium, honours even, but no goals.
The second half began with the nagging feeling that it would all come down to the last 15-20 minutes and would Hughes be cautious and put defenders on to loose any momentum that the team might have had.
It was very even to begin with, but Stanislas came on for Bournemouth and almost immediately started to put pressure on the Saints right. From one of these raids came perhaps Bournemouth's best chance of the game, when King really should have had a simple tap-in, but somehow contrived to put the ball wide to the left. A let-off for Saints.
Shortly after Mark Hughes took off Lemina, who had been booked just before half-time, but was also carrying an injury. He was replaced by Armstrong in a refreshingly positive move.
then came a wonderful bit of play from Cédric down the right, twisting and turning inside and outside a couple of Bournemouth players, before crossing the ball which was only cleared as far as the advancing Højbjerg, who in one move chested the ball down and volleyed the ball, only to see it spectacularly palmed over the crossbar by Begovic. Whatever is happening with the rest of the team, the Dane is turning into a pretty damned impressive player. How long before we hear mutterings of a move to one of the 'Big Clubs'?
After a couple more last ditch defending efforts from Saints, Hughes decided on change, but straight like for like, with Ings (who looked strangely anonymous all game) and Austin were replaced by Gabbiadini and Long. The two substitutes then combined for what could have been a great goal, but the Italian just put too much weight on his pass forward to the Irishman and Begovic was able to collect the ball, almost off the toes of Long. Saints were really going for this, no negativity this week.
There was another lovely passage of play, where the players were knocking it about, with Bournemouth trying to press, without much luck though. This suddenly stepped up a couple of gears with a pinpoint cross from Højbjerg to Cédric, out on the right wing. He in turn sent a long cross almost on to the head of Long, who headed it down and there was Armstrong, who fell backwards onto his arse as he tried to toe poke the ball in the net. Begovic was thankful to see the ball scrambled clear.
The last meaningful action was a cross from Redmond that was just fractionally behind the advancing Gabbiadini, but he almost got a head on it. The whistle blew shortly after, with honours even.
Man of the Match
There were several good performances through the side, with amongst others Jack Stephens and Cédric stand outs, but for me the only real candidate was Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, who is just growing in stature with each successive game.
A decent enough game, bearing in mind the pretty appalling run of form the team has been on. There are just the signs of something coming together, but can the manager get them to win back to back games, until that happens, they are just treading water in the Premier League.
How the hell did I miss that?! Gabbiadini had a chance to nick the game at the death, only to head over
3 S Cook
15 A Smith
20 Brooks (Stanislas 59')
16 L Cook
24 Fraser (Ibe 77')
17 King (Gosling 85')
13 Wilson - Booked 86'
21 Bertrand - Booked 34'
18 Lemina - Booked 41' (Armstrong 66')
9 Ings (Gabbiadini 79')
10 Austin (Long 78')
Saturday 20th October
Referee: Lee Probert
- Bournemouth 58%
- Southampton 42%
- Bournemouth 10
- Southampton 8
Shots on Target
- Bournemouth 2
- Southampton 4
- Bournemouth 6
- Southampton 4
- Bournemouth 10
- Southampton 14