Burnley welcome Saints as both teams search for first points of the season
Burnley 1-1 Southampton
Southampton have been surprisingly undercooked in their first two games of the season. They were superb at the end of the last campaign as they lost just the one game since March.
But a tame defeat to Palace on the opening day of the season, followed by being taken apart by Spurs the week after, has threatened to undo all their good work as a club recently.
As for Burnley, they won’t be panicking after just one defeat, especially against a team in Leicester who have once again started the season superbly.
They will be confident of improving in this match, especially at home, and picking up much needed points.
It’ll be a tight contest between two fairly evenly matched teams and one or two moments of quality could separate them.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 12th
Reasons to be cheerful:
They are hard to beat at home
Will want to bounce back strongly after defeat to Leicester
Reasons to be fearful:
Injury concerns are mounting
Southampton’s strikers will cause makeshift defence problems
Turf Moor is always seen as one of the toughest grounds to go to in the Premier League and get a result. This is mainly due to Sean Dyche’s managerial skills, season after season getting the very best out of his players.
He may not have the most talented squad, but he always demands the most hardworking. They only lost four games at home last season to teams outside the top six.
His key problem this weekend will be the players unavailable to him. He was already without first-choice central defenders Ben Mee and James Tarkowski as well as several midfielders.
This position worsened midweek when Jay Rodriguez went off with an ankle injury in their cup win over Millwall.
He still has quality players, however. Wood has shown he can still carry the burden of goalscorer, as well as Vydra who netted midweek.
It’ll be tough against Southampton, but you wouldn’t bet against them grinding out the result they need.
Star Man – Chris Wood
Will be relied upon to score the majority of Burnley’s goals this season. Can be a handle for any defender.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 10th
Reasons to be cheerful
Danny Ings scored first goals in defeat to Spurs
Have fewer injury concerns than their opponents
Reasons to be fearful
Failed to win any of previous seven matches vs. Burnley
Thrown away 37 points from winning positions since 2018
The strangest thing about Southampton’s poor start to the season is how well they ended the last campaign.
A run that included just one defeat since March propelled them up to 11th in the table off the back of Danny Ings’ goalscoring success.
In truth, it was The Saints’ away form which gave them their highest league position since 2017. They secured 10 extra points on their travels rather compared to their matches at St Mary’s. It could be this away favouritism that helps them this weekend.
They have fewer fitness concerns than their rivals, although Redmond remains a doubt with an ankle injury.
However, they must overcome the fact that they have not beaten Burnley in their last seven meetings going all the way back to 1974.
They have the players to do so, but will face a very tough challenge at Turf Moor.
Star Man – Danny Ings
Their topscorer last season got off the mark with two against Spurs. Can give Burnley’s second-choice defence a tough time.
A tight game of few chances
Most likely one goal to separate the sides
Burnley’s home advantage could help
If you are on the hunt for your first points of the season, it’s unlikely that Burnley away would give you too much hope of starting.
Their injury concerns will give Southampton confidence, however. A lack of their first-choice central defenders will be a big miss for the Lancashire side.
Southampton must quickly rediscover their away form from last year, but if they feed Ings then they know that he can score goals.
It could come down to one or two chances and is likely to be a tight match.
Burnley 1-1 Southampton