Both Bournemouth and Southampton lost their midweek fixture to teams in the top six, and both games were the same score, 2-1. However, Southampton will be happier, as it took an injury time goal from Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling to deny them a deserved share of the spoils against the league’s leaders. Bournemouth will not be so optimistic about their defeat to Burnley, despite the recent form of the Clarets.
The game dubbed the ‘New Forest derby’ will take place with Southampton two points in front of Bournemouth. The Saints have lost all-but-one of their last four games, whereas the Cherries have taken seven points from theirs. Will this override how each team feels after their last game?
Ahead of Sunday's match, I used statistics from www.whoscored.com to compile a combined starting XI from the two teams. The players must have featured in at least five league games, and the overall rating is based purely on performances in the Premier League.
Both teams have used similar formations this season. Bournemouth tend to use a 4-4-1-1, and Southampton use a 4-2-3-1. The formation of this team was adapted as a result.
GK: Asmir Begovic (6.67)
Minutes Played: 1260
Begovic has played every game for Bournemouth this season, keeping four clean sheets in the process. The same is true of Fraser Forster, who has an average rating of 6.57, but has conceded 17 goals to Begovic’s 16.
DR: Simon Francis (6.92)
Minutes Played: 893
The Englishman has split his game time between playing in the centre of defence and right back, statistically; his best form comes in the latter. Regular right back, Adam Smith is rated at 6.62. Cédric Soares is 6.64.
DL: Charlie Daniels (6.81)
Minutes Played: 1260
It might be surprising to see Daniels in ahead of Ryan Bertrand, and not much separates them. Daniels has an assist and a goal; that fantastic strike against Man City earlier in the season. Bertrand has two assists and a rating of 6.70.
DC: Virgil van Dijk (7.08)
Minutes Played: 723
The man constantly linked with a big money move is unsurprisingly the best-rated central defender. He has won more aerial challenges per game (5.9) and has a better pass success rate (85.5%) than any defender in either side.
DC: Nathan Aké (7.00)
Minutes Played: 1253
The versatile Dutchman has played in the middle of midfield and at full back in his short career, but has played every league game for Bournemouth at centre back this season. Only van Dijk has a better pass rate than his 83.6%.
MC: Andrew Surman (7.04)
Minutes Played: 1170
Surman’s two league goals and two assists mean he has been involved in more goals than any player in either side. He started his career at Southampton, and made 146 appearances for them over four seasons.
MC: Mario Lemina (7.26)
Minutes Played: 677
Lemina is the highest rated player from either side. He also has a highest pass success rate with 89.9% and has been awarded Man of the Match twice; the only player from either team to do so, impressive start from the Gabonese.
AMR: Dusan Tadic (6.78)
Minutes Played: 1030
The Serbian has two goals and one assist this season. He also has the joint most crosses per game with one, the same as Junior Stanislas. He was the Saints’ top assist maker last year, and they’ll hope he delivers this weekend.
AML: Nathan Redmond (6.71)
Minutes Played: 968
Redmond has made two assists this season, and more key passes than any other player: 1.9 per game. Pep Guardiola commented about his performance in midweek, and I expect Redmond will be more attack-minded on Sunday.
AMC: Steven Davis (6.94)
Minutes Played: 1047
Despite having a lower rating than Oriol Romeu’s 6.99, Davis is better suited to the formation. He has also managed three goals so far, a tally that can only be matched, and did so with fewer shots per game than the others, 0.8.
CF: Joshua King (7.05)
Minutes Played: 1065
The return of Callum Wilson could see King drop deeper, but Bournemouth will definitely want both on the pitch. He is the Cherries’ top-rated player this season, and has two goals and one assist, as well as 2.6 dribbles per game.
Oriol Romeu (6.99)
Maya Yoshida (6.89)
Wesley Hoedt (6.82)
Steve Cook (6.74)
Sofiane Boufal (6.70)
Ryan Bertrand (6.70)
Junior Stanislas (6.67)