Burnley play host to Ronald Koeman’s Southampton this Saturday and it’s safe to say the South Coast side will expect to pick up points from their long journey north. Not many sides could play as well as Southampton have in their last 2 games and come away with no points to show for it. A run of fixtures that included; Manchester City at home, Arsenal away and then Manchester United at home can really separate the men from the boys. With Southampton setting the tone for their season early on this was their real test to see if they could legitimately threaten to break top 4. They’ve came up empty handed from those 3 huge clashes, making Burnley away this Saturday a major clash for them. Having picked up 0 points from their last 3 it is necessary for Southampton to immediately start putting points back on the board. If they aren’t going to pick them up against the direct competition for top 4 then they will need to make sure they are winning against newly promoted sides like Burnley.
For Burnley, their striker and manager have recently been nominated for Barclays monthly honours and rightly so. After picking up 8 points since the beginning of November, with a 4 game unbeaten run during that period, Sean Dyche’s side breathed some life back into their season and showed the rest of the teams near the bottom that they aren’t going to lie down they have the ability to stay up. Southampton are looking to immediately return to winning ways at Turf Moor, whereas Burnley will be fighting for points at home like they will have to every week and if theirs once thing you can guarantee about Sean Dyche’s Burnley side its that they will fight for those points.
For Burnley Sean Dyche has confirmed that Sam Vokes will not be making an appearance for the game at the weekend. The striker is still working his way towards full fitness after completing 90 minutes for the development squad recently. Other player’s still listed as injured for Burnley are; Michael Duff, Matthew Taylor and Stephen Ward. Given Burnley’s recent run of form being their best of the season despite the loss to QPR, it would be safe to assume much the same starting 11 as in recent weeks.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has refused to put a date on the return of Jay Rodriguez as he still struggles through his recovery. He also stated that Toby Alderweireld is back in training and that the big Belgian will be back in the team for Saturday. Meanwhile, Morgan Schneiderlin will not make the clash away at Turf Moor but could make Tuesday night. More good news was that James Ward-Prowse is back in training with the group, he will be included in the squad for the next two fixtures although it is unlikely he will feature.
Burnley are yet to win a Premier League fixture in December. They have drawn 4 and lost 4
Southampton have only lost once in their last 6 visits to Turf Moor
Southampton are the only team not to drop any points from winning position so far this season.
Burnley have conceded the most headers in the league so far this season. They’ve conceded 9 headed goals
The two sides have never met in the Premier league
The last time Burnley beat Southampton was 6 years ago at Turf Moor. They won the match 3-2
Burnley: George Boyd
Burnley were willing to dish out a reported 3 million pounds for George Boyd in the summer. So far he has chipped in with 2 goals in his 12 appearance for the side. The Scottish International has also created 10 chances with key passes so far, unfortunately none of which have been converted into goals. The 29 year old is part of a team that doesn’t expect individuals to win them games but rather a group effort from back to front that gives them the best chance possible of gaining the points needed to stay in the country’s top division. The former Peterborough man already has a Premier League season with Hull City last year under his belt which is a wealth of experience in the league compared to the majority of his team mates. Burnley supporters should be able to look at George Boyd after the money they paid for him to be a man that can change a match from a loss to a draw or even a draw to a loss. His goal against Newcastle at the beginning of the month was evidence that he can get them points, with the visit of a team like Southampton his side will be tested and Boyd is a player that should be stepping up and leading Burnley’s attacking line to goals.
Southampton: Graziano Pelle
On Monday against Manchester United Pelle managed to score his first goal in since the 8-0 win over Sunderland. That put an end to a goal drought extending 6 matches. Now that he has found the net again the big Italian’s should be back and Burnley away on Saturday is an opportunity for the striker to get a goal scoring run started and help make sure that during the Christmas period Southampton can remain competitive at the top of the table. After losing their last 3 and dropping out of the top 4 in the space of week Southampton can’t afford to lose any more ground to those around them. A top performance from their star striker on Saturday will be key to stopping this recent run of form becoming a worry to Southampton’s season. Losing to teams like Man City, Man United and Arsenal is no harm to team like Southampton especially when their performances were as impressive as they were during those defeats. However, dropping points to Burnley would be a different story and raise questions that Ronald Koeman will most likely not want to answer. Pelle was key to their early season form with his goals, so it’s easy to see that his goals will be key to recapturing that form sooner rather than later.
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Burnley had been in good form till their defeat to QPR last week. Southampton have took nothing from a tough run of games. Given the quality in their squad and even the quality of performance overall in defeat in their last two matches I can’t see past a Southampton win. Koeman should have his men ready to get back to winning ways and they will know that they have the caliber of player and playing style capable of taking all 3 points against this Burnley side and getting back to winning ways. This is not to say that Burnley will just be rolled over, Sean Dyche’s side will make sure that Southampton have to work for anything they want to get out of the game. The desire to fight for their place in the division has been evident in their recent run and Burnley could see Southampton as a wounded animal after recent defeats. I struggle to see them getting a win against the Saints but Burnley at home are capable of picking up a draw against any side. However, I can see Southampton bouncing back with a win at the weekend unfortunately for the home side.
2-0 Southampton Win