Nothing separates the near-neighbours in the table after five games of the campaign so far, with the two sides level on both points and goal difference.
Southampton fans must have been fearing the worst when they lost their opening two matches of the season, particularly after ending last term with just one win in seven.
However, Ralph Hasenhuttl has quickly turned things around once again and the Saints come into Friday's derby unbeaten in their last four outings across all competitions, winning three of those.
Away victories over Brighton & Hove Albion, Fulham and Sheffield United all came without conceding a goal, while the only failure to win in that spell was still a credible draw with 10 men at home to Manchester United.
Only league leaders Liverpool have amassed more points over the last three games, and another victory on Friday night would see them temporarily move up to third place, level on points with champions Manchester City.
Victory over the Cherries is all the more important considering a difficult run of fixtures coming up - Hasenhuttl's side face a string of top-six hopefuls after this match, with Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City, Man City, Everton and Arsenal in succession.
If they are looking further ahead than Friday night, though, it will only be to Tuesday, when a much bigger derby match awaits as they take on bitter rivals Portsmouth at Fratton Park - their first meeting for more than seven years.
A first home win since April would be a perfect warm-up for that short trip, but Bournemouth will not make it easy in search of their first ever win away to their south coast rivals.
The Cherries sit one place above their opponents by virtue of goals scored having found the back of the net in every game this season, most recently a 3-1 triumph over Everton on Sunday.
Callum Wilson's brace helped Bournemouth back to winning ways after successive league defeats and another victory on Friday would move them on to 10 points - already a quarter of the way to the 40-point mark which is always their first goal at the start of each season.
Eddie Howe's side have not exactly enjoyed this fixture during their time in the top flight, though, winning just one of their eight Premier League meetings, while Howe himself has never won an away game against the Saints.
Southampton form: LLWWDW
Bournemouth form: DWLWLW
Southampton will be without in-form summer signing Moussa Djenepo for this match after he picked up a muscular problem during the week.
However, the Mali winger's absence could be offset by the potential return of Nathan Redmond, who is making good progress in his recovery from an ankle injury and therefore could be in line to feature in the matchday squad.
Djenepo is therefore Southampton's only guaranteed absentee, which is in stark contrast to a Bournemouth side missing as many as eight first-team players.
Simon Francis and Lloyd Kelly are both working their way back up to fitness after injury and could be in contention to feature in the squad for this one, but Dan Gosling, David Brooks, Charlie Daniels, Adam Smith, Junior Stanislas and Arnaut Groeneveld are all longer-term injury concerns.
There is better news for Lewis Cook, who came through his first appearance since December unscathed at the weekend, although Howe could be tempted to start Jefferson Lerma for this one in order to ease the midfielder back into action.
One player who can be assured of his place is Callum Wilson, who has now been directly involved in 26 Premier League goals since the start of last season - only Raheem Sterling has more among English players.
Southampton possible starting lineup:
Gunn; Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergaard; Cedric, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Adams, Armstrong
Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Stacey, Cook, Ake, Rico; H Wilson, Lerma, Billing, Fraser; King, C Wilson
We say: Southampton 1-1 Bournemouth
St Mary's is sure to be bouncing under the lights and, after facing Liverpool and Manchester United there so far this season, this match represents Southampton's best chance yet to pick up a home win. However, Bournemouth have been enigmatic this season and are capable of getting a result at the home of their near-neighbours.
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