01/11/2015: Saints 2-0 Bournemouth

Saints moved up to 7th with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth at St Mary's. The home side tore through their opponents in the first-half, but were unable to maintain the same quality during the second. Saints stood off the Cherries, but did defend well, never allowing the away side a clear sight at goal.

Bournemouth made an ok start, playing some neat and tidy football in the middle of the park. Saints soon took control of the game. The home side were occasionally guilty of overplaying it in deeper positions, but Bournemouth didn't press well enough to take advantage of any sloppiness. The front four for Saints enjoyed a great understanding during the first-half, linking up superbly, with the ball being played quicker and more purposely as the game went on.

Graziano Pelle had a 7th minute effort deflect onto the roof of the net. Five minutes later Sadio Mane was presented with a decent chance, curling the ball just over the far post, following good work from Cedric down the right. Then on 15 Ryan Bertrand's deep cross was knocked down by Pelle before Mane hammered the ball into the ground and just over the bar.

After a brief lull, Saints regained their rhythm going forward. The home side took a deserved lead on 31. After a prolonged period of possession Bertrand found himself with the ball on the left of the penalty area. He steadied his body before crossing to the six yard box for Steven Davis, who hooked the ball in.

It was all one way traffic during the remainder of the first-half. Pelle made it 2-0 on 36. The Italian powered a header into the top corner of the net, following some sublime skill by Tadic on the left. Saints played keep-ball up until half-time. Pelle headed wide on 39. At the other end Bournemouth had a rare opening just before the break, with Virgil van Dijk superbly keeping out Glenn Murray with perfectly timed challenge.

Bournemouth made a double substitution at half-time with Junior Stanislas and Joshua King coming on for Murray and Mark Pugh. The Cherries looked sharper on the ball, but had no cutting edge to go with all the possession. Eddie Howe's side attempted to get the ball out wide, but Saints defended very well individually. Saints barely got out of their own half during the second 45. Tadic shot wide from a rare break on 61. At the other end Stanislas had one of the best chances for the visitors, shooting wide from a free-kick. Saints invited pressure by defending deep, but fortunately the back four did their job well for the most-part.

Victor Wanyama was sent off on 78 after hacking down Lee Tomlin just outside the area. Koeman sent on James Ward-Prowse to shore things up, with Saints finally re-establishing some composure on the ball as a result. Tomlin had half a chance for Bournemouth on 87, firing straight at Stekelenburg. King then tried his luck from distance, but his effort was far too weak to trouble the keeper. A disappointing end to the game from a Saints perspective, but a win is a win.

Very much a game of two halves. Saints were as impressive as they have been all season during the first. The speed and the movement with which we attacked during the first-half was most impressive. You wouldn't have expected Saints to keep up that intensity for 90 minutes, but to drop off to the degree that we did was alarming to say the least. Saints played a dangerous game in sitting back, and although the team defended well, I'm not sure we'd have gotten away with playing like that against most other Premier League sides. Still, a decent three points. After an average start Saints are now well placed, with a mixed run of fixtures coming up.

Player Ratings

Steklenburg: 6. A few dodgy kicks, but never really looked like conceding. Made a couple of good saves

Cedric: 8. Getting better every week. Showed good awareness and strong in the tackle as always

Fonte: 6. Had a fairly easy 45 minutes before going off injured

van Dijk: 7. Made a couple of very minor errors, but generally read the game well and put in some big challenges

Bertrand: 6. Sloppy defensively during the last 20 minutes or so, but brilliant in the first-half, making a number of rapid bursts down the flank

Wanyama: 6. Explosive in spells, but more reserved at other times. Both bookings a bit silly

Clasie: 6. Started well, with some good short passing, but drifted out of the game during the second-half before coming off

Davis: 7. Provided plenty of energy during the first-half. Like many others spent the second-half chasing the ball

Mane: 7. Made things happen once again. Timed his runs to perfection and caused problems with his pace. Even defended well

Tadic: 7. Linked up brilliantly with the other attacking players and provided some quality passes before seeing his influence curtailed in the second period

Pelle: 7. Won everything in the air and used his body to great effect in the 1st half. Movement very good too. Naturally didn't get much of a look-in during the 2nd with Bournemouth on the ball so much

Substitutes

Yoshida: 7. Another solid outing. Made all the right decisions

Romeu: 5. Didn't use the ball too well at first, but eventually did steady things up a bit during the end of the game

Ward-Prowse: Birthday boy helped shore up Saints defensively


Match Details

Saints: S Davis (31) Pelle (36)

Attendance: 31,229 (3,066 Bournemouth fans)

Referee: Craig Pawson

Saints line-up: Stekelenburg, Cedric, Fonte (Yoshida 46), van Dijk, Bertrand, Wanyama, Clasie (Romeu 71), S Davis, Mane, Tadic (Ward-Prowse 80), Pelle

Subs not used: K Davis, Caulker, Ramirez, Juanmi

Bournemouth line-up: Federici, Smith, Francis, Distin, Daniels, Ritchie, Surman, Gosling, Pugh (Stanislas 46), Arter (Tomlin 73), Murray (King 46)

Subs not used: Allsop, Cargill, MacDonald, Kermorgant