The season so far has been a frustrating one for Southampton fans, but over the past two Premier League fixtures, Mauricio Pellegrino’s side appear to have turned a corner.
The Saints ran out deserved winners in their battle with Everton, showing fluent and expressive attacking play, before cruelly facing defeat at the death against league leaders Manchester City.
Despite only coming away with three points from the two fixtures, the squad have finally shown a clear understanding of the managers game plan and rediscovered their willingness to fight. A great improvement compared to previous gutless showings.
But what type of challenge will their opponents present tomorrow?
To find out more about the Cherries, we spoke with Kris Temple, a TV and radio broadcaster for BBC South.
How would you summarise Bournemouth’s season so far?
Very poor start, impressive in November, until Burnley when they were disconcertingly poor again.
What would make for a successful season?
Every season for a club of their size it has to be staying up. But having finished on the coattails of Saints last season in 9th, it would be a good achievement to finish above them, given that the two clubs are still quite a way apart in terms of resources.
How have teams got the most joy out of Howe’s defence?
In case Pellegrino is reading this I won’t say too much!
Set plays were a worry earlier in the season, but they’ve sorted that out now. It’s mainly been individual errors rather than a specific approach by the opposition.
Which player has surprised you most by stepping up?
I’m a big fan of Lewis Cook, as are the fans. We haven’t seen that much of him yet, but he’s looked very assured for someone as young as he is,
Which areas of the field do you consider AFCB to be short in?
The wingers haven’t consistently delivered this season. Junior Stanislas is the most creative but he hasn’t been fit that much.
You’re stranded on a desert island and can only be joined by one Cherries player; who’s it going to be?
Probably Andrew Surman – I’ve never seen him in a bad mood off the pitch.
Which Southampton player would you take to join Bournemouth?
Eddie would probably go for Charlie Austin again, but I’d take Lemina on what I’ve seen so far. Looks the part.
Which Cherries player would help to improve Pellegrino’s Saints most?
A fully firing Joshua King – pace, power, and a goal threat.
And finally, what do you think the score will be this Sunday?
I’m going for a 1-1 draw – it’s a bit on the fence, both teams have got their defence sorted recently, but are lacking clinical poise in the final third (Saints’ Everton win aside, against a shambolic opponent)