LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Bournemouth, who are 10th in the Premier League, host ninth-placed Southampton in a south coast derby on Sunday.
Here’s what fans of the two teams are saying about the game:
Steve Jenkins, Tales from South End (www.thesouthend.co.uk]
”Before this fixture last year I wasn’t feeling confident but we went on to beat them 2-0. We’re in a far more equal position this year in terms of league position and the consensus among the fans is we’re going to win because we can score goals and they can‘t.
”I don’t think Southampton are quite reaching the heights of last season and they’ve obviously had a few injuries which doesn’t help. I don’t think Southampton are gelling under new manager (Claude Puel) yet.
”Bournemouth have gained a season’s worth of experience in the Premier League and they’ve got to grips with how good some of the opposition can be and they’ve raised their game.
”They’ve got a better idea of what to expect now. They’re not the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed new boys looking up at all these big superstars from big clubs anymore.
”Eddie Howe sets up his team to play quite an attacking style of play generally and because we haven’t had a settled back four it’s had an effect on our results.
“The win against Liverpool (two weeks ago) might have given them a boost in confidence but then they went away to Burnley (last week) and the defeat brought them down to earth very quickly.”
James Oliver, Saints Podcast
”There is no rivalry with Bournemouth, it is very much Bournemouth trying to cling to a rivalry. We’re not interested at all.
”We’ve loaned them a lot of players in the past and we thought we had a nice relationship with them but they feel like they need some sort of Premier League rivalry to spice things up.
”I think it’s going to be a tough game on Sunday and I can see it finishing in a 1-1 draw. The way we’re playing at the moment, we have lots of possession in every game, and more possession than most teams, but we just can’t score goals.
”With Charlie Austin out for four months, that’s a big blow. He’s the only one that can find the back of the net for us.
”Bournemouth are quite an attacking team but they never seem to look that solid defensively. They’ll try to attack you regardless of who they’re playing or whether they’re playing at home or away.
“When Claude Puel first took over I was like all of the other Saints fans saying, ‘I’ve never heard of him’, and I was straight on Wikipedia finding out who he was. But with the players he has got he’s done a really good job. I‘m behind him.”
Writing by Claire Bloomfield; Editing by Tony Jimenez