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Preview: Burnley vs. Southampton - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Burnley vs. Southampton - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between between Burnley and Southampton, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
By , European Football Editor | 3mo

Separated by just a single point in the Premier League table last season, Burnley and Southampton will open their respective campaigns with a clash at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon.

Sean Dyche's side claimed 40 points from their 38 matches last term to finish in 15th, while Southampton gathered 39 points to ultimately finish five points clear of the bottom three.

Match preview

Having finished seventh in the 2017-18 Premier League season, it would probably be fair to say that last term will have been seen as a disappointment for Burnley. That said, securing another year of top-level football was hugely important and they will be looking to kick on in the coming season.

Only the three relegated teams lost more Premier League games than the Clarets during the 2018-19 campaign, but 11 wins and seven draws proved to be enough to keep them in the division. It has been a very busy pre-season in terms of volume of matches, but Dyche will have been pleased with the results.

Indeed, Burnley won five of their seven friendlies over the summer, impressively beating Nice 6-1 and Parma 2-0 in their last two matches. It is difficult to read too much into pre-season form, though, and it would be fair to say that the team cannot really ease into the new campaign.

While Southampton at home will be regarded as a winnable match, Burnley will then travel to Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers before welcoming Liverpool in their next three. A poor result on the opening weekend would therefore place huge pressure on the side heading into three very tough fixtures.

It has been a relatively quiet summer in terms of transfers, but Jay Rodriguez, Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Erik Pieters were joined by Danny Drinkwater on deadline day as the Chelsea midfielder arrived on loan. Drinkwater will feel that he will have a point to prove this season, which could work perfectly for the Clarets.

As for Southampton, there is a general feeling that the team hugely underachieved last season - that has been the case over the last two years, though, as they only just survived relegation in 2017-18.

Between 2013 and 2017, the Saints claimed eighth, seventh, sixth and eighth in the top flight. It remains to be seen whether Ralph Hasenhuttl can oversee a huge change this season, but it has not been the busiest of transfer windows despite some fresh blood arriving.

Danny Ings's loan move from Liverpool has been made permanent, while Che Adams and Moussa Djenepo have also made the switch to St Mary's. Exits have also been minimal and it would perhaps be fair to say that Southampton have not lost anyone that they did not want to this summer.

Like Burnley, the Saints have also showed some strong form in pre-season - winning four of their five matches. Hasenhuttl's side have beaten Feyenoord and Koln in their last two, while they also overcame Preston North End and Guangzhou R&F during their preparations for the new campaign.

Southampton's next game after this one is at home to Liverpool on August 17. As a result, there is also pressure on the visitors to pick up a positive result this weekend. Both managers will view this fixture as winnable, which will only add to the excitement heading into the contest on Saturday afternoon.

That said, the Saints have not actually beaten Burnley since a 3-1 home win back in October 2016. The Clarets are unbeaten in the last five Premier League games between the two teams, although both fixtures during the 2018-19 campaign finished all square.

Burnley form: WWLWDWW

Southampton form: DWWWW

Team News

Burnley will be without the services of experienced midfielder Steven Defour due to a calf problem, but Nick Pope, Ben Gibson and Robbie Brady should all be fit after featuring in the pre-season clash with Parma last weekend.

James Tarkowski - linked with Leicester City as a replacement for Harry Maguire - is a doubt with a thigh problem, though, and his absence would be a huge blow to the Clarets on the opening weekend of the new campaign.

Jay Rodriguez will be hoping to feature after returning to Turf Moor from West Bromwich Albion, although it seems likely that Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes will start as the front two.

As for Southampton, Sam McQueen is still on the sidelines with a long-term knee injury, but the visitors otherwise have a fairly clean injury list heading into the contest.

Hasenhuttl has a number of big decisions to make all over the field, but it seems likely that new signing Adams will get the chance to start alongside Ings and Nathan Redmond in the final third.

The Saints could opt for a five-man defence in a bid to combat Burnley's front two, with James Ward-Prowse and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg providing the legs in central midfield.

Burnley possible starting lineup: Pope; Lowton, Gibson, Mee, Taylor; Lennon, Hendrick, Cork, Brady; Barnes, Wood

Southampton possible starting lineup: Gunn; Valery, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand; Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse; Redmond, Ings, Adams​

We say: Burnley 0-0 Southampton

As mentioned, each of the last three Premier League games between the two teams have finished level, while neither has scored more than one goal in this particular fixture since October 2016. There is not much between the two teams across the board, meaning that we simply have to back another draw this weekend.

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