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Preview: Southampton vs. Burnley - prediction, team news, lineups
23/10/2021 08:11:06

Two teams with just one win between them go head to head at St Mary's on Saturday as Southampton entertain Burnley.

The hosts picked up their first victory of the campaign at the expense of Leeds United last weekend, whereas Burnley only have three draws to show from their opening eight games.

We say: Southampton 1-0 Burnley

These two sides played out an entertaining 3-2 in this fixture back in April, but we cannot see a repeat of that goalfest here given how difficult both sides have found it to score so far this season.

However, what we do see a repeat of is Southampton's victory in this fixture. The Saints won home and away against the Clarets last season and, with that win over Leeds now under their belts, we are backing them to edge to another three points this weekend.

Match preview

Southampton's triumph over Leeds last Saturday would have been a significant weight off the shoulders of Ralph Hasenhuttl, although he will know that the value of that first win could be undermined should they fail to back it up against Burnley.

It has not been an easy start to the season for the Saints, with six of their eight games so far coming against teams that finished in the top half in 2020-21, and a home tie against an out-of-form Burnley side represents their easiest test on paper yet.

Hasenhuttl has publicly warned of the challenge the Clarets will pose, but his side will be favourites to make it back-to-back league wins for the first time in five months.

The win over Leeds also made it two clean sheets in their last three league outings at home - having not managed to keep any in their previous 11, and their defensive record is now the best of any team in the bottom half.

It is at the other end where they have struggled most, though, scoring just six goals all season - only Burnley and Norwich City have found the back of the net on fewer occasions.

Indeed, including the tail end of last season, Southampton have scored only twice in their last five home league games and, considering Burnley have drawn a blank in four of their last six away games across all competitions, that suggests a low-scoring encounter in store on Saturday.

Burnley will be desperate to get off the mark as we approach the quarter-way stage of another season in which their primary goal is to stay in the division, but they too have had a relatively difficult start.

Like Southampton, six of their eight outings have come against teams that finished in the top half last term, including away games against both Liverpool and Manchester City already - a factor which has contributed to their joint league-low tally of just one away point so far.

A 2-0 defeat to the champions last time out was by no means disgraceful - and comfortably a better scoreline than they have suffered in that fixture during recent years - but it does leave them in the relegation zone with only three points to their name so far.

Draws against Leeds and Leicester City were respectable, but a stalemate at home to relegation favourites Norwich, who incidentally are the only team to have scored fewer than Burnley in the league this season, will be seen as two points dropped.

Sean Dyche's side are now on the longest current winless run in the top four tiers of English football, stretching back 11 games, although there are signs that a maiden triumph could be around the corner.

All five of Burnley's goals this season have given them the lead in the match, but they have thrown that lead away on each occasion, dropping 10 points from winning positions already this term - a joint-high in the league alongside Newcastle United.

Team News

Southampton's troubles in front of goal are unlikely to be helped by the continued absence of their top league scorer James Ward-Prowse, who will serve the second match of his suspension following his red card against Chelsea earlier this month.

Armando Broja stepped up to fill the goalscoring void against Leeds, marking his first start for Southampton by becoming the first ever Albanian scorer in the Premier League, and he could be rewarded with another start this weekend.

Competition for places up front will increase now that Che Adams is back in training, although the returning striker may be forced to settle for a place on the bench at best this weekend.

Adam Armstrong may also have to make do with a place on the bench, but Stuart Armstrong will be pushing for a return to the starting lineup.

Jack Stephens is Southampton's only other confirmed absentee alongside Ward-Prowse.

Burnley should be boosted by the returns of Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor and Matej Vydra, all of whom are in contention to feature this weekend.

Dyche hinted that the upcoming three-game week could have a bearing on whether all of those three play, but Mee is expected to return to the starting XI after recovering from coronavirus.

Dale Stephens is back on the grass again but will not be available this weekend, while Dyche must decide whether to stick with Maxwel Cornet up front or bring in one of Ashley Barnes or Jay Rodriguez.

Southampton possible starting lineup:

McCarthy; Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud; Elyounoussi, Romeu, Diallo, S Armstrong; Redmond, Broja

Burnley possible starting lineup:

Pope; Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Taylor; Cornet, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Barnes, Wood

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