Neither Burnley or Southampton will be too pleased with how their Premier League campaigns have begun, with each of them pointless after one and two games respectively.
Saturday’s fixture presents both clubs with an opportunity to get off the mark.
Burnley will be looking to bounce back from their defeat last Sunday, after their threadbare squad went down 4 -2 against Leicester City. The Clarets’ may, however, be buoyed by Carabao Cup wins over Sheffield United and Millwall, which have put them into the 4th round of the competition for the 1st time since 2013/14.
Southampton have had a surprisingly poor start to the season with PL defeats to Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur, the latter of which was a 5 -1 drubbing. Unlike Burnley, the Saints don’t even have a cup run to focus on, as they went down 2 – 0 to Brentford at St. Mary’s in the 2nd round.
Harry Kane slots home in Spurs’ 5 – 1 routing of Southampton. (Photo: Hampstead and Highgate Express)
Burnley’s squad has been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks, with seven players ruled out with injury. James Tarkowski and Robbie Brady are considered 50/50 for the weekend, whilst Jay Rodriguez, Ashley Barnes, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Jack Cork will all miss out.
Jimmy Dunne will hope to get the nod in defence again, after making his first Premier League start last time out. Dale Stephens might make his first appearance for the club, after signing for the Lancashire outfit on Thursday. Youngsters Bobby Thomas, Josh Benson and Anthony Driscoll-Glennon are likely to feature on the bench.
Jimmy Dunne challenges Jamie Vardy for the ball on his first PL start. (Photo: LancsLive)
Southampton have a near fully fit squad to select from, with only Nathan Redmond absent, with an ankle problem. New signing Mohammed Salisu hasn’t featured for the club yet since his arrival from Real Valladolid due to a lack of match fitness, but he could be an option for Ralph Hasenhüttl to try fix his leaky defence.
Jake Hesketh, Wesley Hoedt, Sam McQueen and Guido Carrillo all find themselves out of favour at on the south coast, having been given permission to speak to other clubs, and thus will not be in consideration for selection this weekend.
“I am waiting on news on Jay Rod but I would be amazed if he was fit for Saturday. I am certainly hopeful within the next week on some of those players and if not then after the international break I would like to think we have a chance with all those players.
“It won’t be just about Ingsy (Danny Ings), they proved that after lockdown last season. They are a good group with a good energy about them. Ingsy had a great season last year and is a good player but they have more than that. We must be tuned into the whole performance and that is what we will be looking to do.
“We have to get bodies in we know that, but not just through transfers, we have to get bodies fit. When we have everybody fit it looks a bit more balanced and we are not short, at the minute it looks stretched. Do we want a player or two in? Yes, we still do. But if we can get players fit that is as important as anything now.”
Dale Stephens is confirmed as a Burnley player, four years after Sean Dyche first tried to sign him.
“They are very well organised, even if they do have some injury problems, but we know how tough it is. But we are also not so bad. We are better than we have shown in the last three games, and this is what we are focusing on. We know that we can play better, that we can play more efficiently and calmer.
“I know that it is not automatically after ending a season good and you then start the next one good also.
“We know we are a team that only win games when we play better football than we are now, then we have a chance. We know that it is a very long season and we know that we should already have a more comfortable start.
“That is why we take every game as an important chance for getting better and the next game on Saturday is exactly such a chance. It is a chance for us to show up against a team we have only taken one point from since I am here, and we know that we haven’t beaten them in a long time. Every record can come to an end and if we do what we can do best, then I think we can win against them.”
Ralph Hasenhüttl ponders his team’s heavy defeat last weekend. (Photo: Robin Jones/Getty Images)