Burnley vs Southampton Preview: New year, same thirst for points

Burnley vs Southampton Preview: New year, same thirst for points

The Clarets aim to mark their first home game of 2017 in the same way they marked their final one in 2016 - with a convincing victory.

Jordan Eyre

Burnley welcome Southampton to Turf Moor on Saturday, with the Clarets keen to mark their first home game of the calendar year with another win.

Sean Dyche’s side find themselves just two places and one point behind the Saints, with their home form proving to be a strong platform from which they have accumulated all but one of their total Premier League points tally this campaign.

Southampton have enjoyed a steady yet unspectacular season thus far, but after their rapid ascent through the divisions from League One’s relegation zone to a commendable sixth-place finish last season, they will be content with the progress they are making towards top-flight sustainability.

A shrewd combination of producing their own players, selling their major assets for a sizeable profit and recruiting suitable replacements has been the main contributory factor to the Saints’ recent success – and Dyche may be taking notes as he bids to emulate that stability with Burnley.

Previous encounters

The Clarets went down 3-1 at St Mary’s earlier this season, with Sam Vokes grabbing the visitors’ first away goal of the season from the penalty spot.

If Burnley can win on Saturday, their record with Southampton this time round would mirror that of the 2014/15 season of one win apiece: while the Clarets lost 2-0 on the south coast, they won the reverse fixture earlier in the season courtesy of Ashley Barnes’ late winner.

A similar result at the weekend would also see Dyche’s side draw level with the Saints in the head-to-head record between the two, with Southampton’s 20 wins one more than their opponents have managed.

Season statistics

Should Puel’s men take the lead on Saturday, there will be mixed feelings among both sets of supporters. While the Saints have lost the most points when leading a game in the Premier League this season (14), Burnley remain the only side to have gained any points when trailing.

By contrast, if the Clarets can take the lead then the Southampton may fail to muster any sort of response. They have the 10th best away record in the league, but when they lose, they lose badly: their five defeats on the road have yielded just two Saints goals, while they have conceded 13 – almost three per game.

Burnley’s confidence may be enhanced by the fact that, despite losing away to Manchester City last time out, they have made their best start to a Premier League season with 23 points from 20 games – they only accrued 33 during the entirety of the 2014/15 campaign.

Team news

Turf Moor chief Dyche admitted that wingers Scott Arfield and Johann Berg Gudmundsson are doubtful for Saturday’s clash, with both sustaining hamstring injuries during Burnley’s FA Cup tie at Sunderland.

Elsewhere, Claret quartet Patrick Bamford, George Boyd, Ashley Barnes and Jon Flanagan are all at different stages with their respective illnesses and injuries, although it is likely at least one will feature against the Saints.

For the visitors, midfielder Steven Davis faces a late fitness test but he is the only player to be close to a comeback, with Southampton boss Claude Puel unable to select the likes of Sofiane Boufal and former Clarets striker Charlie Austin due to longer term injuries.

But while the latter will miss yet another reunion with his former employers, Burnley-born Jay Rodriguez is set to make his first appearance back at Turf Moor since his move down south in 2012. Joey Barton is also in line to make his second league debut for the East Lancashire outfit.