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Southampton will view this tie as a welcome distraction from their wretched Premier League form after a run of just one win from their last 12 league goals. The Saints have taken just four points from their last available 36, and will be soon looking nervously over their shoulders if they don’t turn their form around promptly.
Bournemouth, meanwhile, approach this game in a decent run of form after a mid-season slump threatened to derail their promotion hopes. The Cherries have now picked up 10 points from their last 15 after a forgettable run of eight points from 10 games saw them slip out of the top six in the Championship.
Saturday 12:15 – Bournemouth v Southampton
BT Sport 1
They remain outside the play-off places, in spite of their upturn in form and could do without the distraction and disruption that a cup semi-final would bring – especially considering they have almost no chance of actually winning the competition.
The Saints desperately need a win to inject some momentum into their campaign ahead of a crucial run of fixtures and should have just about enough to secure their first semi-final berth since 2018.
Adams is almost guaranteed to lead the line for Southampton in the absence of Danny Ings, and the striker has been in a rich vein of form in recent weeks. The new Scottish international call-up has scored in three successive league games and has been the Saints’ biggest threat in a poor run of form in front of goal.
Adams hasn’t had quite the impact that the Southampton hierarchy would have hoped for when he moved from Birmingham two years ago, but there are signs that he is beginning to find his feet. The injury to Ings has brought regular first-team football and Adams appears to have benefitted from a consistent run up-front.
He will hope to continue his recent run of goalscoring form against a side currently playing at a level that he thrived at with Birmingham. He could strike an early and decisive blow for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
Southampton’s defensive record in the league is staggeringly bad. Only West Brom have conceded more goals than the Saints in the Premier League after 29 games and Hasenhuttl’s side average almost two goals conceded per game.
The Saints have conceded 26 goals in their last nine games – including 14 in the city of Manchester – and seem to be incapable of defending with any level of competency. Bournemouth, on the other hand, boast the second-best attacking record in the Championship with an impressive record of 55 goals from 37 games.
Jonathan Woodgate’s side have also conceded 37 goals this season – the same as 18th-placed Nottingham Forest – and they could come under pressure against a Premier League attack on Saturday.
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