Diego Rico

Bournemouth picks up first-ever win away to Southampton

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Bournemouth picked up its first-ever victory (16 visits – all competitions) away to Southampton in the Premier League‘s budding south coast rivalry, 3-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium on Friday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Nathan Ake and Harry Wilson got goals for Eddie Howe‘s side during a wonderfully dominant first-half performance before the roles were reversed in the second half. James Ward-Prowse pulled Southampton back to 2-1 not long after halftime and Saints pressed and pressed for an equalizer but ultimately came up empty. To make matters worse, Callum Wilson put the game away on a late Saints howler.


3 things we learned

  1. Slow starts for Saints — Through six games, Saints have conceded the first goal four times. For a team that’s built around the idea of defensive solidity and limiting chances, Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side appears especially limited once forced to change its plan of attack and… well, attack. In the two games they didn’t concede first, two clean sheets and two wins.
  2. Halftime adjustments — Hasenhuttl certainly got his tactics wrong from the start, but whatever was said at halftime made a noticeable difference in the second half. Given loads more freedom to push forward in attack and to win back possession, Southampton made it a game from 45:01 onward.
  3. Making few chances count a lot — Bournemouth needed just six shots to get their two goals. On the other hand, they managed just six shots in 90 minutes. Highly efficient, or lacking in overall production? Both, perhaps?

Man of the Match: Oriol Romeu


Ake put the Cherries ahead in the 10th minute, rising high above the crowd to get his head to Diego Rico‘s corner kick. It was Bournemouth’s fifth goal (of nine scored) from a set piece this season.

It didn’t take long for Bournemouth to easily cut through Saints’ four-man backline — a tactical change from the three-man operation which secured a victory away to Sheffield United last weekend — and put the ball in the back of the net again. Joshua King finished a devastating counter-attack with a sublime finish, only to have the goal taken off the board for being narrowly offside, via video review.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Once again, Bournemouth met little resistance en route to doubling their lead, only this time the goal stood. Philip Billing got to the endline down the left side of Saints’ penalty area and cut the ball back to the penalty spot where Wilson was waiting to sweep it past a helpless Angus Gunn.

Saints were gifted their way back into the game in the 52nd minute, when Steve Cook went straight through Che Adams as Southampton broke down the left side of the box. Ward-Prowse stepped up to the spot and hammered the ball past Aaron Ramsdale to cut the deficit in half.

Saints’ best chance at drawing level came in the 82nd minute, but Ward-Prowse was denied Ramsdale from close range, and though he spilled the rebound in front of goal, Bournemouth were able to clear the ball away in just the nick of time.

Gunn and center back Jannik Vestergaard ran into one another outside the Saints penalty area in the 95th minute, allowing Wilson to pick the ball up and walk it over the end line for the late exclamation point on Bournemouth’s historic night.

Bournemouth’s defensive desperation was such that they attempted just the six shots in the game, including zero between the 38th and 85th minutes. Alas, Saints couldn’t find the equalizer and Bournemouth catapulted all the way up to third in the PL, for the time being.

Premier League Preview: Bournemouth v. Tottenham

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  • Spurs (still) lead the top-three race, somehow
  • Cherries sit 14th, safe from relegation
  • Spurs won 5-0 at Wembley back in December

Tottenham Hotspur continue to lead the top-three and -four race that seemingly no one — not even them — wants to win. Yet, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side has two more chances to secure Champions League qualification by a very straightforward formula: they need just three points, beginning when they visit 14th-place Bournemouth on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

With Chelsea (68 points) just two points back in fourth and Arsenal (66) trailing by four, it’s Tottenham’s place to lose. To be certain, they have tried to do so again and again, only to see their London rivals falter immediately thereafter. Take, for instance, last weekend: Spurs lost to West Ham, but Chelsea drew Manchester United and Arsenal were hammered 3-0 by Leicester City. It’s been that kind of month for top-six sides not named Manchester City or Liverpool.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

As for the Cherries, they’re long since clear of the relegation zone and have very little left to play for, and it’s looked that way in recent outings. Eddie Howe‘s men have picked up just nine points from their last 12 games (2W-3D-7L), though they are on something of an upswing with four of the nine points coming in their last three games.

Injuries

Bournemouth OUT: Lewis Cook (knee), Junior Stanislas (hamstring), Simon Francis (knee), Charlie Daniels (knee), Andrew Surman (calf), Diego Rico (ankle) | Spurs — OUT: Harry Kane (ankle), Harry Winks (groin), Erik Lamela (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: Jan Vertonghen (head)

What they’re saying

Howe, on Bournemouth’s need for continued progression: “People will use ‘established.’ I don’t know if we have ever used that word. For us, it’s not a useful thing to look at, you can then get complacent and lazy,” he said at a press conference. “For us it is about having to prove we deserve to be here first and foremost every season, so that means starting the campaign with a really good mentality to go to achieve and progress.”

Pochettino, on Spurs’ performance this season: “I always remember the first meeting that we had all together, when the World Cup players arrived, and we said, ‘We all start from zero. It’s going to be a difficult season and we need to be open to improve and to fight.’ We’ve always built some spirit inside the dressing room to fight against the reality. It was tough but in the end we are in a very good position. We feel very proud.”

Prediction

Spurs have fared remarkably well against Bournemouth (6W-1D-0L since the Cherries were promoted in 2015), as has Son Heung-min on an individual level (four goals in the last two meetings). It’s all setting up for Spurs to secure a top-four place on Saturday and free their minds for Wednesday’s trip to Amsterdam for the second leg of the Champions League semifinals.

Fans who want to try their hand at predicting PL games can down the NBC Sports Predictor app, with a chance to win up to $50,000 each week. Download it on iOS or Google Play.

Inspired Man Utd outclasses Bournemouth

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  • United with 12 goals in 3 under Solskjaer
  • Rashford wizardry sets up opener (video)
  • Pogba with 2 goals, assist

Paul Pogba scored twice and assisted a Romelu Lukaku effort as Manchester United hammered Bournemouth 4-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford had a goal and an assist for the Red Devils, who saw Eric Bailly sent off late.

United finishes the day three points back of fifth place Arsenal.

Bournemouth’s goal came courtesy Nathan Ake, and the Cherries are 12th with 26 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Marcus Rashford was sensational in setting up the opener, working Nathan Ake and Diego Rico before feeding Pogba, who slid into the box to stab it home.

Pogba scored his second in the 34th, nodding an Ander Herrera cross past Begovic.

Rashford got one of his own just before halftime, lunging to get on the end of an outside-of-the-boot pass from Anthony Martial.

But hold on, as there was more time in the half and Ake nodded a David Brooks flick beyond the reach of David De Gea to make it 3-1.

Lukaku came into the match following a two-match absence on compassionate leave, and let the ball take a bounce before poking past Begovic.

Bailly saw red for his 79th minute scissor tackle of Ryan Fraser.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

WATCH: Rashford cooks two defenders, serves Pogba

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Marcus Rashford has been set free, and we’re loving every moment of it.

Manchester United struck first against Bournemouth on Sunday through Paul Pogba, but those focusing on the Frenchman’s finish will have missed the train.

[ WATCH: Bournemouth-Man Utd on NBCSports.com, NBCSN ]

Rashford, 21, simply shone in producing his sixth assist of the Premier League season.

Turning star Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake inside out, Rashford then absolutely roasted Diego Rico before putting a cross onto the plate of a feasting Pogba, who scored his sixth goal of the season and third in three matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

PL Preview: Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace

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  • AFC Bournemouth will make late calls on Diego Rico (hamstring) and Dan Gosling (calf) ahead of Monday night’s match. Charlie Daniels (knee) has completed a couple of days of training and is close to a return to the squad.
  • Crystal Palace will be without Jairo Riedewald, who was injured in the midweek victory over West Bromwich Albion. Christian Benteke (knee) is progressing with his recovery but manager Roy Hodgson says he is still not ready to play. 
  • Eagles forward Wilfried Zaha has scored in all three of his side’s away league fixtures this season.

Premier League matchday seven comes to a close as Wilfried Zaha and Crystal Palace head south to visit Bournemouth (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as both clubs try to position themselves in the heavily-populated mid-table.

Zaha last week called for more protection for star players like himself from referees, so it will be interesting to see how he’s officiated against a backline that will be key’d up to stop him. Bournemouth’s malaigned backline is coming off a rough, cathartic 4-0 thrashing from Burnley and will need a step up in performance if Eddie Howe‘s side wants to return to the win column.

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Bournemouth can move up to as high as sixth place with a win, while a win for Crystal Palace will see it overtake Manchester United in the table.


What they’re saying

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson on Bournemouth: “Their start has been good, there is no doubt about that with ten points from six games being a very good reward and they must be really confident. They haven’t changed their team spectacularly and their football has been pretty stable for the last two seasons which has given them very good results so obviously have no reason to change. We have a good idea what awaits us and the big question will be, are we good enough to deal with the threats that they pose and then of course to make certain that our football poses enough threats to them which will give us a chance to win the game.”

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe on facing Zaha and Crystal Palace: “He is an outstanding player. He did well against us in the two games last year, we found him difficult to deal with. From our prospective that is something we will look to improve. As I would say with any team it is not just him. Yes we need to deal with, be aware of and you have Andros Townsend on the other wing who has had a good start to the season. When [Christian] Benteke plays he is a focal point for them, they have got excellent midfielders, a lot of experience. So there are a lot of areas that they manage very well. But of course we have good players the other way. We know if we are at the top of our game we are a match for anyone.”

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Prediction

Crystal Palace is coming into the match on better form, but this game features two pretty even teams with just one or two great attacking options. Both teams will want the three points but will settle for a draw. Bournemouth 1-1 Crystal Palace