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It seems we are deemed to play Southampton almost as early as possible in a season. Two seasons ago we kicked off our Premier League campaign at Southampton; last season it was the same fixture at home on opening day. This season, because of the postponement of the Manchester United game, they are once again the first Premier League visitors to Turf Moor.

We are both looking for our first points of the season and again we will be going into today’s game with an ever increasing injury list. Ashley Barnes, who has come through two under-23 games this week, has been out since January and we haven’t seen either of Ben Mee or Jack Cork since July. That was bad enough but when the season kicked off we were without James Tarkowski and we’ve lost Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Robbie Brady and Jay Rodriguez in the three games so far.

That’s far too many players to be without for any club but for us and our small squad it has just about reached crisis point. Barnes is on his way back, thankfully, Dale Stephens has signed this week so that’s one extra, and we have to say the young players have done themselves proud when called upon but I don’t think we expected, even in the League Cup, to be ending a game with Bobby Thomas, Jimmy Dunne, Josh Benson (pictured below in action at Millwall) and Anthony Glennon all on the pitch.

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They’ll be with the squad today too. Jay Rod was the one injured at Millwall but when Sean Dyche names his team later I’m sure we will be fairly close to the team that started the second half at Leicester last Sunday with the exception of Rodriguez.

Assuming Tarky doesn’t make it, I would expect the team to be: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Charlie Taylor, Erik Pieters, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Chris Wood, Matěj Vydra. Subs from: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Matt Lowton, Bobby Thomas, Anthony Glennon, Josh Benson, Dale Stephens, Mace Goodridge.

Southampton, like us, are searching for their first point of the season but you wouldn’t have thought that had you watched their first half against Spurs last week at St. Mary’s. They had lost their opening game 1-0 at Crystal Palace, and they didn’t perform particularly well in that game, but with half time approaching last week they led Spurs 1-0 with a Danny Ings goal.

Son Heung-min decided to change all that. He scored in first half stoppage time and again in the second minute of the second half. With just under twenty minutes to go he’d added two more, with Harry Kane claiming assists on all of them, and Spurs were 4-1 up. Kane himself added number five before Ings got his second and a consolation goal from a nonsense of a penalty award.

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They don’t have the injury problems we’re facing. Nathan Redmond is ruled out with an ankle injury but all other players are available to Ralph Hasenhüttl including his two summer signings Kyle Walker-Peters (pictured above), who was with them on loan last season, and Mohammed Salisu; he was signed from Real Valladolid.

Their team against Spurs was: Alex McCarthy, Jack Stephens, Jan Bednarek, Kyle Walker-Peters, Ryan Bertrand, Moussa Djenepo, Stuart Armstrong, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse, Danny Ings, Che Adams, Subs: Fraser Forster, Jake Vokins, Michael Obafemi, Jannik Vestergaard, Shane Long, Nathan Tella, William Smallbone.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

August 2019, opening day of the season. Often a new season starts under cloudless skies but that wasn’t the case for this game as supporters found themselves drenched making their way to the Turf with the strong winds also threatening to spoil the game.

Once there, they saw a team that showed three changes from that which had ended the previous season. Nick Pope replaced the departed Tom Heaton, Erik Pieters came in for a debut for the injured Charlie Taylor and Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson was preferred to Jeff Hendrick.

Pope made one big save right on half time while earlier in the half we got our first taste of Premier League VAR in action when a Chris Wood goal was ruled out for offside. They did get this particular decision correct.

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That was about it for the first half and there hadn’t been a goal as we went past the hour, but then it all changed with Ashley Barnes scoring twice and Guðmundsson getting number three, all in the space of twelve minutes.

Jannik Vestergaard completely misjudged a ball forward from Pieters which allowed Barnes to take a touch and then hit a sensational shot past Angus Gunn. The same two players combined for the second too. This time it was a superb ball from Pieters that Barnes hammered in on the volley.

Barnes then got the better of Vestergaard again and the ball was won by Guðmundsson who got clear down the right and, just as everyone thought he would cross the ball, he placed a wonderful shot into the far corner.

Barnes nearly got a hat trick but when the final whistle blew we were convincing 3-0 winners.

The teams was;

Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil (Aaron Lennon 84), Ashley Barnes (Jay Rodriguez 84), Chris Wood. Subs not used: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Ben Gibson, Jeff Hendrick.

Southampton: Angus Gunn, Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg 73), Jannik Vestergaard, Yan Valery, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse, Ryan Bertrand, Danny Ings (Michael Obafemi 66), Nathan Redmond, Che Adams (Sofiane Boufal 73). Subs not used: Alex McCarthy, Cédric Soares, Maya Yoshida, Moussa Djenepo.

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