With both sides having something to play for, Southampton host Burnley on Saturday as the hosts look to get their Champions League ambitions back on track.
Ronald Koeman’s men have slacked off a little after a stunning start in which they were firmly in the top four. They sit sixth currently six points from Manchester United in fourth, and with one win in five, the Dutch manager will be wanting to address such poor form.
Burnley however, are on a high after defeating Manchester City last week. George Boyd’s superb volley was enough to see off City, but the Clarets are still in the drop zone. A point off Sunderland in 17th, a result at St Mary’s could give Sean Dyche and his men a huge boost as we enter the business end of the season.
When asked about the game, Koeman is looking to a ‘difficult’ match against the strugglers: "It's a difficult game at home.” However the Dutchman is confident of the win if a repeat of last week’s performance is given: “The way we played against Chelsea in the first half will give us confidence."
Koeman also added that his team won’t rest on there being a big between Southampton and eighth placed Stoke: "The distance behind is eight points and that gives a comfortable position but we want to finish higher than we are now."
Sean Dyche was keen to point out that he felt his side had been unlucky in some of their games this season: “I feel the same as I have done all season. We’re operating in a good manner and I think we’ve been a tad unfortunate in some games where our performances merited more.”
Southampton can welcome back Ejero Elia after an ankle injury saw him sit out the impressive draw with Chelsea last weekend. However Jay Rodríguez (knee) and Emmanuel Mayuka (groin) are still out. Otherwise Ronald Koeman has no fresh injury concerns to worry about.
Sean Dyche is still without Matt Taylor, who is still recovering from an Achilles operation, while Dean Marney and Kevin Long (both cruciate ligament injuries) are long term absentees.
Southampton’s home form has been a little rocky recently, with three wins and four losses in their last nine games at St Mary’s. However the ability to score there is difficult, with the home side having kept 11 clean sheets and conceding only 12 in the last 19 home games in the Premier League.
All five of Burnley’s Premier League wins this season have been by a single goal, and with Danny Ings needing to re-discover his hot goalscoring form, Burnley could be in for a hard time here as Southampton see this as an ideal chance to close in on the promised land of the top-four.