Our men’s first team are back in Premier League action on Saturday as they welcome Bournemouth to the Amex, kick-off 3pm.
Roberto De Zerbi’s team can reflect on one of their best months in the top-flight. Four wins and a draw during January, including victories over Liverpool in both the league and the FA Cup, sees us heading into the match with confidence high.
We sit sixth in the Premier League, five points behind Spurs but with two games in hand, but there are only three points between Albion and the five teams below us in the table.
The Cherries have just as great a motive to bag three points. Sat in 18th, a win on Saturday could catapult them as high as 14th. Gary O’Neil’s team have struggled for form since the return to action after the World Cup, picking up one point from five games and scoring once in last Saturday’s draw against Nottingham Forest.
To arrest that slump, they were particularly active in the January transfer window, bringing in Dango Ouattara from Lorient, Antoine Semenyo from Bristol City and Illya Zabarnyi from Dynamo Kyiv, as well as goalkeeper Darren Randolph from West Ham.
How quickly they settle in could prove crucial in Bournemouth’s fight against relegation.
Speaking at his press conference on Friday afternoon, Roberto De Zerbi confirmed that Adam Lallana will not be fit in time for Saturday's game, joining Levi Colwill and Jakub Moder on the sidelines.
The head coach said, "Lallana is not going to be involved, we will have to see about Evan [Ferguson]. The injury was not so heavy, he might be able to play tomorrow or the next game, but right now it's not so clear.
"I want to see Yasin Ayari on the pitch. I think he is a good, young player. I'm happy for Facundo Buonanotte, he will be on the bench tomorrow and we will see if he can play."
Roberto also spoke about Moises Caicedo and how the speculation around his future hasn't impacted the esteem in which the Ecuadorian is held by his teammates.
"The other players love and respect him. They understood the situation, because everyone in football knows this situation can happen. If there isn't a problem with me, then there isn't a problem for anyone."
Our last meeting
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The clubs met many times in the lower leagues and in the Premier League the Cherries have enjoyed a better record. Their 3-1 win over us in January 2020 was their fourth victory in the top flight, while we’ve only beaten them once back in December 2019.
Bournemouth player to watch
A perfect finish 🎯@JaidonnA11's strike is our 𝕄𝕠𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕠𝕗 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕄𝕒𝕥𝕔𝕙 courtesy of @HendyGroup 🚀 pic.twitter.com/yldBbYvQOA— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) January 22, 2023
Dango Ouattara made a perfect impact on his debut against Nottingham Forest, setting up Jaidon Anthony to put the Cherries in front. Sam Surridge got a late equaliser, but Bournemouth fans will be pleased that their Burkina Faso international appears to have settled in quickly.
Brighton won their last home league game against Bournemouth (2-0 in December 2019), ending a five-game winless run against the Cherries at home (D3 L2). They last won consecutive such games against them in February 2004 (a run of three).
Bournemouth have lost just one of their last 12 league games against Brighton (W7 D4), going down 2-0 away from home in December 2019.
Brighton have won nine of their 19 Premier League games this season – only in 2021-22 (12) have they ever won more in a single campaign in the competition, and they didn't reach their 10th victory until their 35th game in that season.
Since the Premier League restarted after the World Cup break, Bournemouth have scored the fewest goals (1), won the joint-fewest points (1) and lost the joint-highest number of games (4). Meanwhile, only Everton (11) have conceded more than the Cherries in this time (10).
Brighton have scored 37 Premier League goals this season, around seven more than their expected goals tally would suggest (29.8). Only Manchester City (10.9) and Tottenham (9.1) are overperforming their xG more than the Seagulls this season.
Brighton have scored 26 goals in 13 Premier League games under Roberto De Zerbi, with only the top two sides Arsenal (28) and Manchester City (30) netting more than the Seagulls since his first game in charge.
Both Bournemouth and Brighton have faced a league-high six penalties each this season, while the Cherries are one of just two sides yet to be awarded one this term (along with Liverpool). As it stands, Bournemouth's six penalties faced is the joint-most without also being awarded one in a single Premier League campaign (also Charlton Athletic in 2004-05).
30% of Brighton's Kaoru Mitoma's attempted take-ons in the Premier League this season have been in the opposition’s box (12/40), the highest share of any player with at least 30 attempted. The Japanese winger is averaging 1.5 take-ons in the opposition box per 90 minutes, the highest ratio of any player this season (min. 500 minutes).
Brighton's Evan Ferguson has three goals and two assists in just 198 minutes of Premier League football this season, with his average of a goal involvement every 40 minutes the best in the division this term (min. 90 minutes).
13 of Bournemouth striker Kieffer Moore's 16 shots (excluding blocked efforts) in the Premier League this season have been headed (81%), the highest share of any player with at least 15 attempts this term.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett.
Fourth official: James Linington.
VAR: Jarred Gillett.
Assistant VAR: Natalie Aspinall.