After a mid-season trip to Portugal for some warm weather training and two weeks without competitive football, Burnley are looking to turn a desperate spell of form around against Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
Saints dragging themselves out of a hole
The Clarets sit seventh but are without a win in their last ten league games, eleven in all competitions. Yet, their visitors to Turf Moor at the weekend, have only taken one victory in their last 14 league games, although they did defeat West Brom in the FA Cup last Sunday.
There is no doubting where the current problem is situated for Sean Dyche's side. Burnley have the fourth strongest defence in the league but only Swansea City, who they lost to last time out, have scored less goals.
Dyche could welcome back Chris Wood to the starting eleven after he got through 70 minutes of work in a training ground friendly against Blackpool earlier in the week. It his goal threat that could be key to an upturn in fortunes, although tactically there is more for the Clarets to consider.
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Striking the right balance
Burnley are one of the most organised and disciplined sides in the league, making it hard for opponents to break them down. When they grab a goal on the counter-attack or prove too strong defensively for the opposition, then Plan A tends to work perfectly.
However, the Clarets have struggled when they have conceded first...failing to win in over 50 games.
Burnley have only conceded seven goals in the first half of 27 Premier League matches this season but have failed to score the opener in 59.3% of matches. Considering they have only scored nine goals in the second half of games, partly due to the difficulty of getting up the field after the energy exerted defensively, conceding the opening goal on Saturday afternoon will make life very hard for the hosts.
Confidence on the line
Southampton are in the relegation zone but their defensive record is not too bad. Only three teams have conceded less outside the top seven and they thwarted all that was thrown at them by West Brom last weekend, other than a thunderbolt by Salomon Rondon.
With two wins in their last three in all competitions, Saints are beginning to build their confidence. However, an opening goal for Burnley will rekindle those doubts over their form since Christmas. Similarly, Burnley will be swimming against the tide if they concede first and there is only so long Sean Dyche can keep the spirit high in the Turf Moor camp.
Yet the Clarets have beaten Southampton in both of their last two meetings. The score? 1-0.