Sunday, October 21, 2018

Prediction: Southampton vs Burnley

Verdict: Under 2,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 3/5

Bookmaker: 888sport

St. Mary’s Stadium will host Southampton’s season opener in the 2018-19 Premier League campaign. The Saints enter this game as slight favourites but they can’t take anyone for granted. Burnley have been playing a lot of matches before this one, and have been on good form at the moment thanks to their European campaign. Without a doubt, this one will be a nail-bitting contest between two hard-working sides that project themselves near the middle of the standings once it’s all said and done. Kick-off is scheduled at 13:30 hrs (BST) and Graham Scott will be the referee.

Southampton

The Saints have had a mixed bag of results during the pre-season since they won three of their six matches (W3, D1, L2). However, it must be noted that they did not face a single Premier League side during that span, and their lone English opponent was Derby County (0-3 defeat). So’ton defeated Jiangsu Suning (3-2), Dijon (2-0) and Celta Vigo (3-2), while securing a draw against Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 (3-3) and a defeat against another German opponent, Borussia Monchengladbach (0-3). They added some interesting pieces over the course of the transfer window such as Jannik Vestergaard, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Danny Ings, but also lost Dusan Tadic, Florin Gardos and Sofiane Boufal as well as Guido Carrillo. Last season, Southampton ended the campaign in 17th place and escaped relegation by a mere three-point margin. They will try to start the new campaign with a positive result so they don’t have to live with the relegation threat since Matchweek 1.

Team News

Southampton will have a fully fit squad ahead of this game.

The lone doubt is the presence of centre-back Maya Yoshida due to his lack of fitness. However, the Japan international is expected to feature in this one at some capacity.

Burnley

Burnley should be one of the most active teams before the start of the 2017-18 Premier League season, and we are not talking about transfers. Between their pre-season friendlies and their run through the UEFA Europa League Qualifiers, Burnley have already played nine matches and the results are quite encouraging: five wins out of nine matches (W5, D3, L1) and they remain alive in the race to clinch a berth on the EL’s Group Stage, since they escaped with a hard-working 0-0 away draw against Turkish side Basaksehir in the first leg of the tournament’s third qualifying round. They had minimal activity during the transfer market since they only added Ben Gibson, Matej Vydra and Joe Hart, but all three should represent an upgrade over the current in-house alternatives. It’s not like Burnley needed many upgrades after finishing last season in seventh place. Will they translate their momentum into a win in the season opener on the road?

Team News

The Clarets could have up to six absentees for the season opener.

Steven Defour (calf), Nick Pope (shoulder) and Matej Vydra (match fitness) have all been ruled out. Meanwhile, Robbie Brady (thigh), Tom Heaton (calf) and Chris Wood (hip) are doubtful. All three will require a late-fitness test to determine his availability heading into this contest.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Burnley have a slight edge over Southampton in their previous six Premier League meetings: W3, D1, L2.
  • Four of the last five Premier League fixtures at St Mary’s have each produced less than 2.5 goals in total.
  • Southampton have won only one of their last 11 home fixtures in the top flight (W1, D5, L5).
  • Burnley have won three of their last five away matches in the Premier League (W3, D1, L1).
  • The last five matches between these two sides have ended with two wins for each side and one draw. Southampton have not won against Burnley at home since 2016, though.

Conclusion

Burnley should be quite tired following their Europa League match against Basaksehir this past Thursday on Turkish soil. Plus, Southampton are not a team known for their scoring prowess. They did not do much to bolster their attack during the transfer window, either.

As such, I don’t expect this game to be very open. It could very well end with under 2.5 goals scored.

Verdict: Under 2,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 3/5

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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