Southampton-Bournemouth Preview

Whilst Bournemouth continue to enjoy their early success in the Premier League this season, Southampton must find a way to end their current run of poor form within the top-flight.

The Cherries will try for a fourth consecutive victory over all competitions Saturday whilst looking to hand the visiting Saints a fourth straight league defeat.

It's past the two-month mark of the Premier League campaign, yet Bournemouth (5-1-2) find themselves amongst the top six in the table - directly in that sixth spot - and just four points off the lead that's shared by three teams.

"Well, wins obviously give you the confidence and belief you need to win really difficult games in the Premier League," manager Eddie Howe told Bournemouth's official website. "Nothing is a given in this league. We will enjoy where we are but we have to maximise this period."

The Cherries' three match winning streak included league victories over Crystal Palace and at Watford - right before the recent international break. A 3-2 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the League Cup preceded both triumphs.

Joshua King scored twice in the first half of the 4-0 win over Watford on Oct. 6, giving him four goals on the Premier League season.

"He's such an important player for us," Howe said of King.

The Norwegian midfielder scored in Bournemouth's 2-1 loss at Southampton in April.

The Saints (1-2-5) also earned a draw with the Cherries last season, and have gone unbeaten in four consecutive Premier League matches between the two sides.

Southampton, however, would be happy with simply producing a goal after being outscored 8-0 during a three-game losing streak against some of the top teams in the league (Liverpool, Wolves and Chelsea). Obviously, the Saints also need to clamp down defensively whilst conceding at least two goals in all but two of their top-flight contests.

The result of these recent struggles leaves them sitting 16th in the table and just two points clear of the relegation zone.

"Everyone needs to take responsibility, we have to play much better," defender Maya Yoshida told Southampton's official website. "We need to get back on track quickly.

"Everyone has to be ready for our next game against Bournemouth. It's about mentality. We've got only five points and that's clearly not enough. The next game after the international break, we must get three points."

That Oct. 7, 3-0 loss to Chelsea marked the second time in those three league games that Southampton fell by the same scoreline. An offensive performance that did not sit well with manager Mark Hughes.

"I was disappointed with the way we played," Hughes said. "We didn't really affect them as readily as we talked about, in terms of being on the front foot, having intensity to our play and making sure we made it difficult for them."

Southampton's most recent goal in Premier League play came off a successful Danny Ings' penalty in the 65th minute of a 2-2 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion on Sept. 17 at St. Mary's.

Updated October 18, 2018

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