Bournemouth host Southampton this Sunday, knowing that they can give themselves a real chance of Premier League survival with a win – thanks in no small part to the points they picked up in their stunning 4-1 win over Leicester last weekend.
For Southampton, however, the game is another dead rubber with nothing but pride to play for. Pride's been enough of a motivator since the restart though, and the Saints have impressed in a number of fixtures, taking points off both City and Manchester United.
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Bournemouth have been cursed with an injury crisis at the worst point in the season. Nathan Ake limped off with a groin injury in the victory against Leicester and is 'unlikely' to feature this weekend according to manager Eddie Howe, while Chris Mepham, Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis have all been ruled out.
Adam Smith could return to the side after recovering from a concussion suffered against Tottenham, however.
Unfortunately for Bournemouth, Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed to the press that his side have no new injury concerns heading into the weekend's fixture. Sofiane Boufal, Moussa Djenepo and Yan Valery all remain on the sidelines, but the Saints have an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from.
Having made a number of changes to the lineup in their midweek draw with Brighton, Hasenhuttl could shuffle the starting XI once more in order to secure three points, having lost 3-1 to the Cherries in the reverse fixture.
Bournemouth: Ramsdale; Smith, S.Cook, Kelly, Rico; Gosling, L.Cook, Lerma; Brooks, King, Solanke.
Southampton: McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Redmond; Ings, Adams.
Eddie Howe's side have given it all they can since play resumed, but have received mixed rewards for their efforts. Their defence - or lack there of - has been among the worst in the league this season, having conceded 62 goals in the league. Only Aston Villa (66) and Norwich (68) have conceded more, which is testament to just how sub-par they've been compared to standards set in recent years.
The Cherries put on a good display at the Etihad in midweek, despite leaving Manchester without any points, and that combined with their 4-1 win over Leicester will need to be the catalyst for confidence in their final two games of the season.
Southampton have looked revitalised since the restart, losing just one game thus far, and Danny Ings has continued to raise his stock as he hunts down the Golden Boot alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Jamie Vardy.
Bournemouth actually wound up 3-1 winners in the first meeting between the two sides this season, Nathan Ake, Harry Wilson and Callum Wilson providing the goals, but that September victory feels at this point like it happened in a different world.
Here's how each side has fared in their previous five games.
Manchester City 2-1 Bournemouth (15/7/20)
Bournemouth 4-1 Leicester (12/7/20)
Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham (9/7/20)
Manchester United 5-2 Bournemouth (4/7/20)
Bournemouth 1-4 Newcastle (1/7/20)
Brighton 1-1 Southampton (16/7/20)
Manchester United 2-2 Southampton (13/7/20)
Everton 1-1 Southampton (9/7/20)
Southampton 1-0 Manchester City (5/7/20)
Watford 1-3 Southampton (28/6/20)
The stakes couldn't be any higher for Bournemouth in this one. With just two games left to play, a win could provide the points that keep Bournemouth in the Premier League, while a loss could be the result that sends them back down to the Championship.
Southampton have been in good form and will be out for vengeance after settling for a draw against Brighton. Danny Ings is on fire and with just a shaky Bournemouth defence standing between him and the Golden Boot, now is as good a time as any to put himself at the front of the queue.
This one will be closer than it might seem on paper, but Southampton will edge out a victory with help from Bournemouth's cruelly-timed injury woes.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Southampton
Source : 90min