The ‘South Coast Derby’ sees AFC Bournemouth take on neighbours Southampton. We talk to Saints fan site The Ugly Inside to get the lowdown on the opposition, what they think of us and who they think will be the key players in the game. A big thanks to Freddie at The Ugly Inside for his answers.
Q. Eddie Howe was touted as a candidate for the managers post at Southampton? What do Southampton fans think of Eddie Howe?
Eddie Howe is a good manager and ask anyone they admire his success and philosophy with Bournemouth. The rise from the depths is admirable and has taken the club higher than anyone could of imagined when you were on the brink of extinction.
Eddie Howe is a manager that could fit the philosophy of Southampton and the Southampton way. He’s a manager that can implement the youth players and plays attractive football which is a policy has allowed Bournemouth to be successful.
Q. Charlie Austin was a player that we would have loved to seen at Dean Court? How do you rate him??
Charlie is a natural goalscorer and is exactly what we need, he was a pre-meditated replacement for Pelle and on his day can be the most potent poachers in the Premier League. He’s a player that pretty much single-handedly carried a relegation squad with QPR, scored most of their goals that season and he’s scored most of our goals this season.
His injury is a big loss for us, it leaves us a little light up top with Long not scored for 20 games, a run of form which has been his worst in 7 years and Jay Rodriguez who unfortunately looks off the pace and not sure if he’ll reach the level again when he was on the brink of the England squad before his injury.
Q. Which AFC Bournemouth player would you like to see in the Southampton team??
Callum Wilson. Young, hungry striker, has the ability to run in behind and is a player who always seems to score to keep you in the game. Right now, he’s exactly what we need to get us scoring again. He’s also a player which fits into the club philosophy.
Q. The media and a few fans like to build up the ‘supposed’ rivalry between the two clubs. What do Southampton fans think of AFC Bournemouth?
Most Saints fans do not see it as a rivalry. Ask any Southampton fan and every single one would say Portsmouth are our rivals. A lot of the media build it up because of the proximity and because we’re both in the Premier League is has been magnified.
In the lower divisions there was no hype and no interest and has only been manufactured by the media since your promotion. Ultimately most of us think of Bournemouth as our little sister club and historically Bournemouth haven’t had any rivalries because there isn’t any clubs near you.
Q. Who do you think will be the key men for both sides on Sunday?
Callum Wilson and Junior Stanislas stand out for me for Bournemouth. As mentioned above with Wilson he has the ability to score goals and always keep you in the game, I expect him to score on Sunday and is dangerous in the 18-yard box. Stanislas runs at players with no fear and is dangerous on the break.
For us you have to point out the obvious in Virgil Van Dijk and our recent goalscorer Sofiane Boufal. There hasn’t been many other contenders in the recent weeks. Virgil Van Dijk plays with heart and passion in every game. He is big and brave, putting in some superb performances recently with some great tackles, he can carry the ball and looks at home anywhere on the pitch which is why there’s a lot of interest surrounding him at the moment.
Boufal looks like he’s finally finding his feet, our record signing in the summer is a tricky winger with lots of skill to take on players and strikes the ball from anywhere on the pitch, two goals in particular hitting the back of the net recently from about 25 yards.
Q. Last season was the first time AFC Bournemouth had beaten Southampton is a league meeting since 1958. What do you think the score will be?
No doubt Sunday is going to be a really tough game. Bournemouth have been difficult to beat at home and recently defeating last years champions Leicester and showed great character from 3-1 down to win 4-3 over Liverpool. You look dangerous on the break and think could hurt us with any individual errors.
You look like a well drilled unit and will be right up for this game in front of your fans. We’ve been controlling games and holding a huge amount of possession recently but not being potent up top. I expect us to hold onto the ball a lot this Sunday and could be a very frustrating game to break you down. We need to create more chances and take them when they appear. We’ve been woeful away from home recently and our last win was in September. I’m expecting a score draw 1-1.
Q. Claude Puel hasn’t quite reached the heights that Ronald Koeman did. Is he the right man for the job?
For me it’s too early to say that he hasn’t reached the heights of Koeman. At this time last season we were in a baron run of form and were in the bottom half of the table. We’ve played less games and only 3 points from matching his points tally from last season at the half way point and with games to play. A lot of fans are already calling for Puel’s head because we didn’t qualify for Europa League knockouts and has been very frustrating to watch the team control games but haven’t had any penetration up front.
Off the pitch Puel is absolutely the right man for the job, he is the manager that has a history of bringing through the youth players and developing them into the first team. This is a philosophy which holds true to Southampton’s values and Koeman halted that philosophy last season. This year we’ve already seen McQueen, Hesketh, Sims, Stephens and Olomola make their first team debuts. Koeman infamously said last year the academy is not good enough and in the first few months Puel has rubbished those claims.
THE UGLY INSIDE | @theuglyinside