A day deciphering the Southampton, Bournemouth rivalry

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SOUTHAMPTON — Donning my black winter jacket and hopping on a train down from London for 90 minutes to the South Coast, this weekend was all about deciphering if the Premier League’s newest derby was even a rivalry.

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Leading up to the first-ever clash between Southampton and Bournemouth in the Premier League there has been much talk about whether this is a “derby” or a “rivalry” as the two South Coast settlements sit just 30 miles apart and are separated by a national park, The New Forest, but historically they haven’t been deemed major rivals.

That notion sparked my latest piece on NBC SportsWorld, trying to describe what this rivalry has been for many years and what it can become. Growing up on England’s South Coast, I can  say it’s a peculiar derby where fans of Bournemouth want it to be a full blown rivalry but fans of Southampton only have a rivalry with South Coast rivals Portsmouth, based 17 miles to their east.

[ MORE: Saints see off Cherries ]

Below is my account of “derby day” after starting the journey in a small town equidistant between Southampton and Bournemouth, deep in the New Forest.

NO MAN’S LAND

Waking up in the idyllic New Forest in a town called Brockenhurst, which is located 15 miles from both Southampton and Bournemouth, on Sunday it was hard to believe a big game between two Premier League sides was taking place a 15-minute train ride away. Ponies strolled the streets. A hastily assembled river blocked my way on a walk after heavy morning rainfall created it. There was no indication that this sleepy, beautiful national park in Southern England sits between two settlements set to square off on the pitch and in the stands in the most popular soccer league in the world on Sunday.

The intertwining of Southampton and Bournemouth is peculiar. As I wrote for SportsWorld, this is not a true derby. Not like Liverpool vs. Manchester United or Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur. These clubs usually play preseason friendlies against each other. Both sets of fans mingle amicably and generally get a long in day-to-day life. It is a friendly rivalry. Well, it always has been. When these two teams were slugging it out in the third tier in 2010, something more was brewing. Checking out of my hotel, the receptionist revealed he was a Bournemouth fan. “My Grandad was a big Cherries fan, so it is just a family thing really,” he explained. “I just hope we don’t get embarrassed today.”

[ MORE: Koeman hails Saints’ quality ]

Jumping into a cab to the train station, the taxi driver was a Saints fan. “The thing is, it is not really a rivalry. There is no hatred,” Mike said as he drove past a few ponies and tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. Some have dubbed this rivalry “The New Forest derby” but it is so embryonic that the tag has yet to catch on between fans.

At the train station, fans of both teams mingled on the platform. Friendly banter was chucked back and forth. On the train, the 14-minute journey was packed with fans of both teams heading into Southampton, the banter was getting a little livelier. One Bournemouth fan opened up his can of beer and it started spraying everywhere. “You didn’t miss your mouth did you? Surely not…” said a Saints fans sat down with his son a few seats away. Laughter. Friendliness. Not one of the fiercest rivalries that soccer world has ever seen. Bournemouth fans were asking which pubs were best to go to in Southampton and soon enough, they were about to find out which was the best.

BREWING RIVALRY

Given this is Bournemouth’s first-ever season in the top-flight of English soccer and Saints have spent most of the past 50-years in the top-flight, it’s easy to see why Southampton’s fans don’t deem this is a rivalry. We are talking about a team who they used to loan out plenty of players to when the Cherries were in the third or fourth tier of English soccer and almost see them as a feeder club.

Walking outside a pub in Southampton City Center, troubled flared up momentarily. The pub had been taken over by Bournemouth fans in the top and bottom tiers and a few scuffles broke out between locals and the supporters as the police wadded in with batons and hooked out certain individuals.

“F*** off Southampton, we rule the South Coast!” chanted the Bournemouth fans. A Bournemouth fan was hospitalized in a serious condition after the game after reportedly being attacked by a Southampton fan after the game. The violent undercurrent of a fierce rivalry is brewing.

Saints and Bournemouth met for the first time in the PL on All Saints' Day.
Saints and Bournemouth met for the first time in the PL on All Saints’ Day.

Jumping in another cab towards St Mary’s, the cabbie told me how he had hardly ever seen riot horses and police lined up in the center of the city. There were over 20 horses lining the route from the station to the stadium as violence — a few outbreaks in previous meetings had occurred — was anticipated.

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In and around the stadium, Bournemouth’s young manager Eddie Howe, he played for Portsmouth and once turned down the manager’s job at Saints in 2010, had his players on the pitch nice and early. All the talk was about this rivalry and the fact that if Bournemouth could win a few, then it would truly become something special. Everyone I spoke to, be it Saints or Bournemouth fans, also agreed it would be a case of how many Saints would win by. “I just hope we play well and keep it close,” said the Bournemouth supporting hotel receptionist while printing out my bill in the morning.

The Cherries had not beaten Saints in a competitive game since 1987. That was a League Cup game where Harry Redknapp was in charge of Bournemouth. You have to go back to 1958 for the last time Bournemouth beat Southampton in a league game. Sunday marked only the 22nd time these clubs had met competitively in over 125 years.

THE GAME

“There’s only one South Coast derby” was the song from Saints fans in the opening 10 minutes as they wanted to remind their neighbors just how little they cared about them. Moments later, “We are Southampton, we don’t care about you” rang out.

The South Coast spirit was strong in Bournemouth’s squad. Southampton lad and former Saints academy graduate Andrew Surman started in central midfield. Howe, a Bournemouth man through and through managed the Cherries. Southampton fan Baily Cargill was on the bench for Bournemouth. Throughout the game Bournemouth’s fans burst out with chants of “scummers, scummers” (like Portsmouth, that is their nickname for Southampton supporters) to which Saints fans simply replied once again: “We are Southampton, we don’t care about you” and then in a teasing manner: “Aaaaagain… you’ll never play here again.”

during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and A.F.C. Bournemouth at St Mary's Stadium on November 1, 2015 in Southampton, England.
Saints’ players celebrate Davis’ opener in front of the away fans.

They may be right. Saints pummeled Bournemouth early on with Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane going close. Eventually Bournemouth succumbed to sustained pressure in the 27th minute as Ryan Bertrand‘s left flank cross found Steven Davis at the back post and he tapped home. Moments later it was 2-0 as Mane’s cross-field ball found Dusan Tadic and his cross was headed home by Pelle. 2-0 to Southampton and the gulf between these two sides, not just historically, was clear for all to see. Chatting to home fans at half time as I wandered around the Itchen Stand, many I spoke to just said: “I don’t see it as a rivalry, not at all.” Another had a bone to pick with their rivals from down the coast: “These Bournemouth fans have somehow got this idea in their heads we are rivals. I remember back in the day, we took our team down there for a friendly and helped raise money to save their club in their time of need. It’s bizarre.”

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In the second half Saints took their foot off the pedal and the Cherries had plenty of the play. Bournemouth fans sat in and around Southampton fans in the home end, something which is not technically allowed or looked upon kindly in the PL, but they were easy to pick out. As brief moments of hope in and around the box arrived, it saw them rise among the home fans. When Junior Stanislas‘ free kick went narrowly wide, one elderly Bournemouth fan stood up among the Saints fans with his hands on his heads. There was nothing said. The friendliness remained during a few chants between both set of supporters and as the game headed towards a conclusion, it became more jovial in the stands. Acknowledging that tough times will be ahead in their debut season among the big boys with ACL injuries robbing them of key players, Bournemouth’s fans chanted: “Premier League, we’re having a laugh!” Victor Wanyama was sent off 12 minutes from time for two yellows which made things interesting, as tackles flew in and the Cherries gave it their all but came up short as they sit one point and one place above the relegation zone while Saints sit in seventh place, just four points off the top four.

“We are Southampton, the South Coast is ours!” sang the home fans as the final whistle blew to signify the win. So, after all, Saints’ fans did care.

POTENTIAL

What Sunday proved to me was that this rivalry is brewing but may not get the chance to flourish in the Premier League. The hunger for this to become a rivalry and a derby seems to be almost exclusively from Bournemouth’s fans. After years of living in the shadows of Southampton, the Cherries want to challenge the nearest club to them, geographically, and are desperate for this to become something more than it currently is. This rivalry is sometimes friendly, sometimes nasty, but if Bournemouth manage to stave off relegation and remain in the Premier League beyond this season, given the passion and pride on show in the stands, around the region before the game and on the pitch, the league will be a richer place for it.

Bournemouth vs Leicester: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Bournemouth vs Leicester: The Cherries will try to make it five games unbeaten when they host the one-win Foxes at Vitality Stadium on Saturday (watch live, 10 am ET on Peacock Premium). 

STREAM LIVE BOURNEMOUTH vs LEICESTER

Leicester (4 points. 19th place) hammered Nottingham Forest 4-0 to pick up that first win of the season last time out, seemingly buying manager Brendan Rodgers a bit more time following an incredibly rocky start (0W-1D-6L). Bournemouth (9 points – 13th), meanwhile, are unbeaten (1W-3D-0L) since firing Scott Parker in late August (1W-0D-3L to start).

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Bournemouth vs Leicester

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Bournemouth vs Leicester live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10 am ET, Saturday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

The Cherries had turned their season around by tightening the defense (just three goals conceded in four games, including two clean sheets) to compensate for their inability to create, let alone finish, scoring chances (two goals scored in four games under Parker; four in four games under interim boss Gary O’Neil). Half of their six goals came in the 3-2 victory over Nottingham Forest (a common them emerges as well), all in a 36-minute period in the second half. Aside from those 36 minutes, it’s been a barren wasteland of offensive output (0.48 xG per game – last in the Premier League, by a wide margin).

The Foxes kept their first clean sheet of the season in the win over Forest, after conceding a PL-high 22 goals in their first seven games (they are still last in the PL, just ahead of — you guessed it — Forest). Leicester were, however, fortunate to escape the opening half-hour without conceding (maybe twice), most notably when Taiwo Awoniyi hit the post of an open goal. Saturday’s battle with Bournemouth will offer the perfect opportunity for another clean sheet.


Bournemouth team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: David Brooks (fitness), Lloyd Kelly (knee), Junior Stanislas (undisclosed) | QUESTIONABLE: Joseph Rothwell (thigh), Benjamin Pearson (undisclosed), Ryan Fredericks (undisclosed)

Leicester team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Wilfried Ndidi (hamstring), Ricardo Pereira (achilles), Ryan Bertrand (knee), Nampalys Mendy (knee)

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Premier League injury news, 2022-23 season

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Premier League injury news: It’s time to take a look at which players might be unavailable for matchweek 10 of the 2022-23 Premier League season, due to injury.

[ MORE: How to watch the Premier League on NBC ]

Prior to every matchweek this season, we’ll update this Premier League injuries page with the latest news and update, so make sure to check back regularly to see how your favorite — or least-favorite — club is getting on.

Let’s check out the latest Premier League injury news, below.


Arsenal injuries

OUT: Emile Smith Rowe (groin), Mohamed Elneny (thigh)

Aston Villa injuries

OUT: Diego Carlos (achilles), Lucas Digne (ankle), Boubacar Kamara (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Leon Bailey (undisclosed), Calum Chambers (illness)

Bournemouth injuries

OUT: David Brooks (fitness), Lloyd Kelly (knee), Junior Stanislas (undisclosed) | QUESTIONABLE: Joseph Rothwell (thigh), Benjamin Pearson (undisclosed), Ryan Fredericks (undisclosed)

Brentford injuries

OUT: Pontus Jansson (hamstring), Christian Norgaard (achilles), Keane Lewis-Potter (knock) | QUESTIONABLE: Ethan Pinnock (knee)

Brighton & Hove Albion injuries

OUT: Jakub Moder (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Moises Caicedo (undisclosed)Enock Mwepu (illness)

Chelsea injuries

OUT: Wesley Fofana (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Carney Chukwuemeka (illness)

Crystal Palace injuries

OUT:  Chris Richards (leg), Jack Butland (hand), Nathaniel Clyne (ankle), Nathan Ferguson (foot), James McArthur (groin)

Everton injuries

OUT: Ben Godfrey (broken leg), Nathan Patterson (ankle), Andros Townsend (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (knee), Yerry Mina (ankle), Mason Holgate (knee)

Fulham injuries

OUT: Harry Wilson (knee), Nathaniel Chalobah (suspension), Layvin Kurzawz (calf), Manor Solomon (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Antonee Robinson (ankle), Willian (calf), Kenny Tete (undisclosed)

Leeds United injuries

OUT: Luis Sinisterra (suspension), Stuart Dallas (thigh), Adam Forshaw (ankle), Archie Gray (ankle)

Leicester City injuries

OUT: Wilfried Ndidi (hamstring), Ricardo Pereira (achilles), Ryan Bertrand (knee), Nampalys Mendy (knee)

Liverpool injuries

OUT: Naby Keita (undisclosed), Arthur Melo (undisclosed), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) | QUESTIONABLE: Curtis Jones (calf), Andrew Robertson (knee)

Manchester City injuries

OUT: Kyle Walker (groin), Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE)

Manchester United injuries

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Aaron Wan Bissaka (knock), Donny van de Beek (knock), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Raphael Varane (ankle)

Newcastle United injuries

OUT: Jonjo Shelvey (thigh), Matt Ritchie (calf), Emil Krafth (knee), Karl Darlow (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Aleksander Isak (leg)

Nottingham Forest injuries

OUT: Omar Richards (calf), Moussa Niakhate (thigh)

Southampton injuries

OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Romeo Lavia (undisclosed) | QUESTIONABLE: Adam Armstrong (undisclosed), Juan Larios (undisclosed)

Tottenham Hotspur injuries

OUT: Dejan Kulusevski (undisclosed), Emerson Royal (suspension), Lucas Moura (achilles), Japhet Tanganga (knock)

West Ham United injuries

OUT: Nayef Aguerd (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Maxwel Cornet (calf)

Wolverhampton Wanderers injuries

OUT: Ruben Neves (suspension), Raul Jimenez (groin), Pedro Neto (ankle), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Nathan Collins (suspension), Chiquinho (knee)

Premier League player Power Rankings – Week 8

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The latest Premier League player Power Rankings of the 2022-23 season have arrived, as we focus on who starred across Matchweek 9 as the action returned in full force following the international break.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] 

Stars from Manchester City and Arsenal continue to dominate the upper echelons of our list, as plenty of megastars are starting to hit top gear.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. It is all based on their current form and which way they are trending, right now!

I’m sure you all agree wholeheartedly with our latest Premier League player Power Rankings…


Premier League player Power Rankings 2022-23 season – Week 8

1. Erling Haaland (Man City) – Even
2. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City) – Even
3. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) – Up 2
4. Phil Foden (Man City) – Up 2
5. Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal) –  Down 2
6. William Saliba (Arsenal) – Up 9
7. Joao Cancelo (Man City) – Even
8. Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal) – Up 3
9. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 5
10. Kieran Trippier (Newcastle) – Up 8
11. Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal) – Up 9
12. Leandro Trossard (Brighton) – New entry
13. Martin Odegaard (Arsenal) – Up 4
14. Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton) – New entry
15. Alisson (Liverpool) – New entry
16. Manuel Akanji (Man City) – New entry
17. Alex Iwobi (Everton) – New entry
18. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) – Up 1
19. Miguel Almiron (Newcastle) – New entry
20. Thomas Partey (Arsenal) – New entry

Manchester City vs Southampton: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Red-hot Manchester City host struggling Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and all eyes are on goalscoring machine Erling Haaland.

STREAM LIVE MANCHESTER CITY v SOUTHAMPTON

Haaland has scored 14 Premier League goals in his first eight games in the competition and has already set numerous records, including being the first-ever player to score hat tricks in three-straight PL home games. Pep Guardiola’s incredible squad depth has been on full show in recent weeks but Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne are irreplaceable as City are the only PL team who remain unbeaten so far this season.

Southampton are struggling after three-straight defeats for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s young side, with goals hard to come by. Following a run of four defeats (all by a single goal) in their last five outings, the pressure is on their Austrian coach as many believe his time is running out at St Mary’s. A heavy defeat here will see confidence levels sink further.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Here’s everything you need to know for Manchester City vs Southampton.


How to watch Manchester City vs Southampton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: Peacock 
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines

City look unstoppable right now and Haaland and De Bruyne are ripping teams apart. Not to mention that Guardiola has a stable of incredible players to rotate and they look hungrier than ever to show everyone exactly how good they are. After smashing Manchester United 6-3 at home last weekend, the only concern for Guardiola is how they switched off late on to cough up a few goals. That said, City were barely in second gear at that point and could have scored 10 goals, at least, against their bitter rivals. For Southampton, well, they have the youngest squad in the Premier League and it’s showing. There have been ups and downs so far this season and they’ve come out on the wrong end of four one-goal losses in their last five. There isn’t an awful lot wrong (aside from not having a top striker) but after this game at City they need to pick up a few big wins to stop a growing tide of dissent towards Hasenhuttl. One strange fact: Saints drew home and away against Man City in the PL last season.


In-form players to keep an eye on

Basically all of City’s team is in top form but Haaland, De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish are all looking incredible, while Manuel Akanji has slotted in seamlessly at center back. Southampton’s best player this season has been Armel Bella-Kotchap, closely followed by Romeo Lavia (bought from Manchester City this summer) but the latter remains out injured. Joe Aribo has quietly scored a couple and is doing his best to get their attack going.


Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

John Stones, Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips remain out injured, while Rodri wasn’t risked for the Manchester derby. All of that means that Akanji and Ake could start again at center back as they are rotated with Laporte and Dias. The likes of Julian Alvarez and Riyad Mahrez could also see some minutes this weekend after both scoring in the Champions League in midweek.


Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options

Lavia is close to a return, while Tino Livramento is stepping up his recovery from a long-term knee injury. Hasenhuttl could switch to a back five for this game as he knows a mauling could push him one step closer to being fired.