St Mary’s - Premier League
Southampton and Burnley have to wait until Sunday to get their Premier League campaigns up and running, when they meet at St Mary’s in this 1.30pm kick-off. The two teams had very different campaigns last time out, but both are looking to make a good start this year.
Burnley were 1-0 winners at St Mary’s last season, before the return fixture at Turf Moor ended 1-1. The season before, Burnley also won 1-0 at home, while Southampton managed a 3-1 victory in the corresponding fixture.
Mark Hughes has fitness concerns over two players ahead of this season opener. Cedric Soares and Maya Yoshida are both short of match practice, and Sunday’s game could come too soon for the pair.
The injury list that took hold of Burnley’s squad towards the end of last season doesn’t look much better ahead of the new one. Sean Dyche has eight players who’ve been nursing injuries, including Chris Wood, Aaron Lennon, Robbie Brady and Steven Defour.
Southampton vs Burnley Preview and Predictions
After scraping to safety last season, Southampton will hope for a much more positive campaign this time round. Burnley meanwhile have a European adventure to look forward to, but there are concerns that the Europa League could burden a squad that isn’t among the league’s biggest.
There wasn’t the usual raid on Southampton players this summer, mainly because the majority of their star names have been picked off by bigger clubs over recent years. That can only help manager Hughes though, who begins his first full season in charge after being parachuted in to guide the Saints to safety last year.
Hughes has spent decent money on the likes of Jannik Vestergaard, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Angus Gunn and Stuart Armstrong, and Southampton are priced at 5/6 for the win on Sunday. Burnley meanwhile have strengthened at both ends, after bringing in two of last season’s outstanding Championship performers, Ben Gibson and Matej Vydra, as well as former England No 1 Joe Hart.
The Clarets are priced at 17/4 to take the three points, and you feel they need to build their haul before the Europa League really kicks in. If you think this game will end with honours even, you can back the draw at 28/11.
Under 2.5 goals at 4/6
Burnley only conceded 39 goals last season, while Southampton only managed to score 37. That was actually one more than the Clarets managed, so this one’s likely to be low scoring.
Charlie Austin to score first at 7/2
The English centre-forward is fit and firing after a positive pre-season, as he looks to put his injury nightmares behind him. He looks very tempting at that price for the opening goal of the game.