AFC Bournemouth will be hoping to record their first victory at St Mary’s Stadium when they meet Premier League neighbours Southampton on Saturday.
Southampton v AFC Bournemouth
Saturday 27 April
Premier League, 3pm
St Mary’s Stadium
Southampton’s steady progress under Mauricio Pochettino and then Ronald Koeman has stalled quite markedly in recent seasons.
Having replaced Nigel Adkins in January 2013, Pochettino, in his first full season, led the Saints to eighth, their best league position since 2003, and their highest points tally in the top flight.
However – and after Pochettino had left for Tottenham – both were eclipsed the following season when Koeman guided them to seventh and qualification for the group stages of the Europa League.
The Dutchman scooped three manager-of-the-month awards on his way to going one better in 2015/16, with a highest Premier League points haul of 63 seeing them finish sixth and again going into the hat for the Europa League.
Snapped up by Everton following the end of the 2015/16 season, Koeman’s replacement Claude Puel lasted just 12 months at St Mary’s, his legacy being an eighth-place finish and runners-up in the League Cup.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s stay in the Saints hot-seat was also short-lived, the Argentine sacked eight games before the end of 2017/18 with the club hovering perilously close to the relegation zone following a run of one win in 17 games.
Pellegrino’s successor Mark Hughes, initially appointed on a short-term contract, was rewarded with a longer deal after keeping the Saints in the top flight, only to lose his job with the club in the bottom three having taken nine points from their first 14 games of this season.
Current incumbent Ralph Hasenhüttl has certainly steadied the ship with the Saints’ midweek draw at Watford leaving them six points clear of trouble with three games remaining.
Under the Austrian, the Saints have won seven and drawn four of their 20 league games, although they could have had more points had they not conceded so many late goals.
Time and, ultimately, results will determine whether or not Hasenhüttl will bring back the glory days – be that finishing in the top eight under Pochettino, Koeman and Puel or coming second and winning the FA Cup during the Lawrie McMenemy era of the 70s and 80s.
LAST TIME OUT
Watford 1-1 Southampton
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is hoping they can take the “final step” towards securing their Premier League status when they host the Cherries.
Hasenhüttl was speaking after the Saints had conceded a 90th-minute equaliser against the Hornets at Vicarage Road on Tuesday.
Earlier, Shane Long (pictured above) had given the visitors an early lead when he scored the fastest goal in Premier League history – his opener timed at 7.69 seconds.
They held their advantage until Andre Gray levelled from close range as the Saints took to 25 the number of points dropped from winning positions this season.
Hasenhüttl’s team are two places and six points above the relegation zone with the Cherries, West Ham and Huddersfield their remaining three games.
The Austrian said: “We have 37 points and, until we have 40, we do not speak about being safe.
“We now have a home game against Bournemouth and if you had told me that we would have had a chance to secure safety in that game when I took over, I would have taken it.
“With a game against Bournemouth at home, we can take the final step.”
2018-19 TOP SCORERS
Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond – Eight goals in all competitions
As a player, Ralph Hasenhüttl (pictured above) won three successive Austrian Bundesliga titles with Austria Wien and a fourth with Austria Salzburg.
Born in Graz, he started his career with hometown club Grazer AK in 1985/86 and went on to play more than 450 games in Austria, Belgium and Germany.
He scored three goals in eight appearances for his country and was appointed youth team coach at Spielvereinigung Unterhaching after hanging up his boots.
Hasenhüttl had a brief spell as caretaker manager before becoming the club’s head coach and guiding them to sixth place in the German fourth tier in his first season.
He left Unterhaching in February 2010 before his coaching career took off after he led VfR Aalen into the German second flight.
In October 2013, Hasenhüttl was appointed coach of Ingolstadt and piloted them into the Bundesliga for the first time in 2015.
Although he was successful in securing Ingolstadt’s Bundesliga survival the following season, he chose not to extend his contract and was confirmed as the new manager of promoted RB Leipzig.
He became a household name at Leipzig, leading them to second place in his first season and also into the Champions League and quarter-finals of the Europa League.
In May 2018, Hasenhüttl left Leipzig after failing to secure a new long-term contract and replaced Mark Hughes at Southampton in December 2018, becoming the first Austrian manager in the Premier League.
- In 1953/54, the Cherries met the Saints on four occasions and Frank Fidler scored in all four games, including in wins in Division Three (South) and the FA Cup.
- Steve Cook and Benik Afobe were on target when the Cherries registered their only Premier League win against the Saints in March 2016.
- When the Cherries met the Saints in 1957-58, the two Division Three (South) fixtures yielded no fewer than 14 goals – Saints winning 7-0 at The Dell and Cherries triumphing 5-2 at Dean Court.
- Southampton striker Shane Long has netted three times in his past four Premier League games – as many as he had in his previous 60 matches in the top flight.
- The Cherries first met the Saints in league action in 1953/54 – winning 3-1 at Dean Court on Christmas Day and losing 2-1 at The Dell on Boxing Day.
- Southampton have dropped a Premier League-high 25 points from winning positions this season.
- Since Eddie Howe returned to the Cherries in October 2012, the Saints have had seven managers – Nigel Adkins, Mauricio Pochettino, Ronald Koeman, Claude Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino, Mark Hughes and Ralph Hasenhüttl.