Southampton 0-0 AFC Bournemouth: Cherries and Saints rue missed opportunities

 

Bournemouth and Southampton cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw at the St.Mary's, a game in which both sides failed to take their chances to grab the three points.

Bournemouth were on the receiving end for much of the first half as the Saints tested Artur Boruc on multiple occasions with Jay Rodriguez and Dušan Tadić having good chances to give their side the lead, the home side's attacking intent on the ball was impressive and Eddie Howe's side were struggling to cope with their approach.

The second half was a much better one for the visitors as they enjoyed the better share of opportunities with Adam Smith hitting the post with a powerful strike from distance and a glaring miss from Benik Afobe from 12 yards. Yet the biggest chance fell to Harry Arter, who's standing foot slipped as he attempted to beat Fraser Forster from the penalty spot, allowing the score to remain 0-0 and give both sides a share of the spoils.

Rodriguez replaces Gabbiadini for Saints 

Puel made just one change to his starting XI going into the game, the in-form Manolo Gabbiadini missed out this one with a groin injury and in stepped Rodriguez, who had scored twice against the Cherries in the excellent 3-1 victory at the Vitality earlier in the season.

Howe saw it fit to play the same team that beat Swansea City last time out, with the two notable inclusions being that of Arter and Junior Stanislas who made the bench for this one.

Saints fail to convert possession into goals

An eventful first half was characterised by missed opportunities for both sides as Rodriguez and Tadić both squandered their fair share of chances to give the Saints the lead in the first half. 

Dusan Tadic fires off an effort for the Saints (image source: Adrian Dennis/Staff/Getty Images)

Puel's men controlled the tempo of the game as Howe's side were set with their 4-4-2 trying to contain the Saints' attackers in the final third and looking to hit them on the counter with the pace of Ryan Fraser, Benik Afobe and Joshua King.

15 minutes into the game, the positive start that the Saints bore fruit when Ryan Bertrand's cross found Rodriguez who took the shot on first time, but when he put the rebound into the back of the net, it was declared offside by the linesman and the Saints' joy was short-lived.

Midway through the first half, the momentum was dropping for the home side which is exactly what Howe's would've wanted to hit them on the counter through King and Fraser.

Bournemouth were unlucky on the half-hour mark when Andrew Surman's effort from six yards out was cleared off the line by Steven Davis, the Saints were lucky to have the Northern Ireland interantional after Forster was beaten by Surman's effort.

Tadić was the next with a big chance for his side but he hit the post with his effort after some very good footwork inside the box allowed him to get the shot away. A few minutes later Rodriguez's powerful effort was kept out by the excellent Boruc as the half ended on a positive note for the Saints

Cherries fail to put away golden chances 

The second half got off to a slower start in stark contrast to the first half and the first real chance came the Cherries' way but Afobe couldn't put the ball into the back of the net from 12 yards after being sent through by King, with the Norwegian international getting the better of Maya Yoshida in the build-up.

That miss seemed like a wake-up call for Puel's side who got the next chance to take the lead but Long couldn't put the ball into the back of the net after being played through by the Serbian Tadić.

Those misses gave momentum to both sides and Bournemouth were the next side left to rue their chance when a Smith effort from distance hit the post, it was a sweetly struck shot which left Forster stranded but the Saints were saved by the post on this occasion.

The momentum was shifting towards the Cherries in the final phase of the game and when Arter was presented with a penalty to give his side the lead, he lashed it over the bar, the turf might have had a part to play in that miss but it was certainly the biggest chance of the game for the away side to take the lead.

Harry Arter balloons his penalty (image source: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

The game ended 0-0 and as it has been for much of the season, the Saints failed to capitalise on the large amount of possession they had, Howe will be proud of his side's display but will also regret not being able to take three points away from his opposition as the Cherries look to get into the top 10.

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