The Cherries played out a 2-2 draw with fellow newly-promoted side Fulham at the weekend, while the Saints were pegged back in a 1-1 stalemate with West Ham United.
The praises of stand-in Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil continue to be sung after he led the Cherries to a sixth game in a row without defeat in the Premier League, as their battle with Fulham at Craven Cottage ended with the spoils shared in a four-goal battle.
Twice Bournemouth went ahead through Dominic Solanke and Jefferson Lerma, and twice Fulham struck back through Issa Diop and Aleksandar Mitrovic, with Lerma going from hero to zero as he gave away the spot kick for Mitrovic to equalise again.
O’Neil immediately blasted the “terrible” decision to penalise Lerma after the full-time whistle, but there has been plenty to like about the Cherries under the 39-year-old’s tutelage, as they remain in the top half in 10th place with 13 points to their name,
Only one point separates Bournemouth from the top seven and a possible European place, although Brighton & Hove Albion do have a game in hand, and a club record could be equalled by the Cherries in Wednesday evening’s clash.
Indeed, the hosts could match their longest-ever unbeaten run in the Premier League – also going seven on the trot without defeat in 2017-18 – and only leaders Arsenal have beaten Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium so far this season.
While Bournemouth continue to quell any early relegation fears, Southampton fans are growing concerned over the possibility of demotion for their side, who are now winless in five Premier League contests after being held to a 1-1 draw by West Ham.
Romain Perraud‘s deflected opener saw Southampton go into half time with a one-goal advantage, but West Ham huffed and puffed and were eventually rewarded with a peach of an equaliser, as Declan Rice curled home a delightful effort from the edge of the area.
The only positive Ralph Hasenhuttl and co could take from the contest was that Southampton managed to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat, but with Wolverhampton Wanderers edging past Nottingham Forest, the Saints have dropped below the dotted line into 18th place with just eight points to their name.
Hasenhuttl’s side have scored a mere two goals and conceded nine across their last 450 minutes of top-flight football and have now gone a whopping 16 Premier League games without keeping a clean sheet, as well as conceding in each of their last 19 on the road.
A serious injury to Armel Bella-Kotchap will do the visitors no favours in that regard, but Southampton have gone unbeaten in their last four Premier League away games at Bournemouth, and more than bragging rights are on the line in this South Coast battle.
There has been little change in the Bournemouth treatment room recently, with the Cherries set to be without David Brooks (thigh) and Lloyd Kelly (ankle), but Ben Pearson could be back after a knee injury.
As mentioned, Southampton lost centre-back Bella-Kotchap to a dislocated shoulder near the end of the first half against West Ham, and the 20-year-old is now facing up to eight weeks on the sidelines.
Duje Caleta-Car should step in for the time being, and Bella-Kotchap is being kept company in the medical bay by Romeo Lavia (hamstring) and Valentino Livramento (knee), but Theo Walcott is on the verge of returning from illness. Ibrahima Diallo is more of a doubt with his own bug, though.
Hasenhuttl may see little need to make a wave of alterations after holding West Ham to a point, but Stuart Armstrong is pushing to come back in for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who did put in a stronger showing at St Mary’s.
Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Neto; Fredericks, Mepham, Senesi, Zemura; Christie, Lerma, Cook, Tavernier; Billing, Solanke
Southampton possible starting lineup:
Bazunu; Walker-Peters, Caleta-Car, Salisu, Perraud; Aribo, Maitland-Niles, Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi; Adams, Armstrong