Burnley vs Southampton: Both sides looking to take a step towards safety
A big game for both sides (photo: Getty Images)

Burnley vs Southampton: Both sides looking to take a step towards safety

The clubs are level on points, four above the relegation zone.

Chris Lincoln

As the Premier League table begins to take more of a clear shape, Burnley and Southampton will both be delighted with an upturn in form that has edged them clear of the relegation zone.

Although perhaps too early to call this contest a six-pointer, it is a crucial one for two clubs who experienced spells in the bottom three earlier in the campaign. The winning side could be as high as 14th and seven points above the drop zone by the weekend, whilst defeat could drag the losing team within one point of the dreaded drop.

Good run of form

Southampton are unbeaten in four after a lift under new manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, whilst Burnley have won three and drawn two of their last five league games. It could have been even better for the Clarets if they had not conceded two late goals at Old Trafford in the week but Man United are the only side currently enjoying a longer undefeated streak.

As the table suggests, separated by just goal difference, the two clubs are evenly matched and contests have historically been close encounters. The last two fixtures have been draws after Burnley won both matches in 2017 but Saints picked up maximum points in the meetings previous.

Burnley are undefeated in their last five matches at Turf Moor against Southampton but the visitors have improved on the road in recent weeks, winning two and drawing one of their last three.

Goals are likely to be limited between the two sides. There have been just four goals in the previous four meetings with a 0-0 draw the most recent encounter earlier in the season.

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Limited changes for Saints

With the majority of transfer activity proving to be outgoings rather than incomings as the new Saints manager trims down his squad, Hasenhuttl will be hoping his team remain injury-free for the remainder of the campaign.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Ryan Bertrand and Mario Lemina all require late assessments, whilst Michael Obafemi and Maya Yoshida are definitely absent through injury and international duty respectively.

Hasenhuttl is not expected to make too many changes from the side that drew against Crystal Palace in the week and he will be looking to Nathan Redmond to continue his form in a 3-5-2 formation.

Crouch could be involved

Burnley were also quiet in the transfer window but Deadline Day signing Peter Crouch could be involved in the squad. However, fellow strikers Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes have been amongst the goals recently and should still lead the line.

Aaron Lennon, Steven Defour, Matthew Lowton and Jon Walters are all expected to be out, although Robbie Brady could return.

Fitness and fatigue could be an important element for two sides who work hard off the ball and gaining control of the game with the first strike is likely to be crucial in this intriguing encounter.