Preview: Bournemouth vs. Southampton

Preview: Bournemouth vs. Southampton

Southampton make the short journey across the South Coast to take on Bournemouth this Saturday in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

The Cherries advanced to the last eight courtesy of a 2-0 success at Burnley in the previous round, whereas Southampton also prevailed 2-0 at fellow Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Maintaining a playoff charge remains the ultimate goal for Bournemouth and Jonathan Woodgate heading into the final weeks of the campaign, but an FA Cup semi-final would certainly be a welcome treat for the Vitality faithful after a strong run in the cup so far.

Indeed, the Cherries overcame Oldham Athletic and Crawley Town at home before securing a 2-0 win over a much-changed Burnley side in the fifth round, as Sam Surridge and Junior Stanislas netted either side of half time at Turf Moor to send Bournemouth to the quarter-finals for the first time since the 1956-57 season.

The South Coast side lost to Matt Busby’s Manchester United in that year, and they have never advanced past this stage of England’s most prestigious cup competition, so a first ever semi-final appearance would do wonders for Woodgate’s chances of an extended stay in the hotseat beyond the summer.

The Cherries eased to a 3-0 success over third-placed Swansea City in midweek to warm up for the quarter-final in perfect fashion, and they have marched to victory in four of their last six matches at the Vitality Stadium, as well as scoring in 17 of their last 18 at home across all competitions.

On the other hand, Bournemouth have only managed to overcome a top-flight team four times in their last 29 FA Cup encounters against such sides, while the last lower-division team to dump a Premier League side out in the quarter-finals was then-holders Wigan Athletic against Manchester City in the 2013-14 campaign.

After victory at Sheffield United appeared to have given Southampton a much-needed boost heading into the business end of the season, back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion have seen the Saints’ rut continue after a truly woeful opening to 2021.

The FA Cup has been Ralph Hasenhuttl’s only saving grace over the past couple of months, as the Saints have already dumped the holders Arsenal out of the tournament and navigated their first three matches notching up five goals and conceding a grand total of zero.

Southampton managed to make an appearance at Wembley as recently as the 2017-18 FA Cup campaign, where eventual winners Chelsea sent them packing in the semi-finals, and a triumph at the Vitality Stadium would see them qualify for the final four for just the second time in 18 seasons.

While Bournemouth’s record against higher division sides is nothing to be celebrated, Southampton have prevailed in 21 of their last 23 FA Cup ties against teams from a lower league, although one of their two defeats to such a club was as recently as 2019, when they lost to Derby County on penalties in the third round.

Hasenhuttl’s side travel to Bournemouth having lost six of their last eight away matches in all competitions, but they are unbeaten in their last four away matches against the Cherries, who overcame their South Coast rivals 3-1 in the 1953-54 FA Cup campaign during a first-round replay.

Bournemouth FA Cup form:
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Bournemouth form (all competitions):
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Southampton FA Cup form:
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Southampton form (all competitions):
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