Get game ready for Sunday's visit of Burnley, as St Mary's hosts its first clash of the 2018/19 Premier League season...
Southampton vs Burnley
Sunday 12th August, 1:30pm BST
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Opposition Burnley head to the south coast after holding Istanbul Basaksehir to a 0-0 draw in Turkey during their midweek Europa League exploits.
The Clarets bolstered their squad with the additions of Joe Hart, Ben Gibson and Matej Vydra during the transfer window, while Saints were also busy over the summer period, with no less than five new recruits.
Mark Hughes may well be tempted to hand the newest of those, Danny Ings, a St Mary's debut on the opening day, when Saints meet the striker's former employers in Sunday's afternoon kick-off.
The 26-year-old will compete with Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini for a starting berth this weekend, after the manager confirmed this week that he is indeed fit, and available for the visit of Sean Dyche's side.
Southampton: Hughes will enter Sunday's Premier League opener with a fully fit squad after Cédric's return to training this week, while new faces Jannik Vestergaard, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Stuart Armstrong are all likely to feature.
Burnley: Joe Hart made his debut and kept a clean sheet in Thursday's Europa League draw, but Tom Heaton has reportedly recovered from a calf injury and could be in line to return.
Last season's No.1 Nick Pope is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after an operation on his dislocated shoulder.
Striker Chris Wood could return after missing out midweek, while defender Ben Gibson may be set for a Clarets debut.
Saints frontman Austin has scored four goals in his four Premier League appearances against Burnley. Interestingly, against no other side has he scored more in the competition (also four vs Arsenal and West Brom).
The striker will undoubtedly feature at some point in Hughes's plans, but faces stiff competition from Gabbiadini and now Ings, who will all be hoping to kick start their season with an opening day strike.
Former Celtic midfielder Armstrong has also caught the eye during pre-season, with his willingness to get forward and creativity in the final third. He netted his first Saints goal in the 3-2 pre-season triumph over Celta Vigo, and could be the man to unlock a traditionally resilient Burnley backline.
Burnley largely built last year's success on defensive stability, with James Tarkowski emerging as a star name in Dyche's backline - so much so that the centre-half was on the reserve list for England's 2018 World Cup squad.
Sunday's visitors are already well into their rhythm owing to Europa League commitments, and will therefore have nailed down a likely starting XI, which may well include a forward pairing of Sam Vokes and the returning Wood.
Indeed, both have netted in recent European meetings with Aberdeen.
In the 56 past meetings between these two sides, Saints have won 20 times, one short of Burnley’s haul of 21 victories with 15 draws.
Previous five meetings:
March 2015: Saints 2-0 Burnley
Oct 2016: Saints 3-1 Burnley
Jan 2017: Burnley 1-0 Saints
Nov 2017 Saints 0-1 Burnley
Feb 2018: Burnley 1-1 Saints
DID YOU KNOW
- On home soil, Southampton have suffered just two defeats in their last 16 league meetings with Burnley (W8 D6), although one of those losses came last time out at St. Mary's (0-1 in November 2017).
- 10 of the 11 goals scored in the six Premier League meetings between Southampton and Burnley have come in the second half, including each of the last nine in a row.
NOT AT THE GAME?
Not able to make it to St Mary's this weekend? We’ll be with you every step of the way on our interactive match centre at southamptonfc.com, where we will have all the build-up, as well as in-game updates and free live audio commentary.
Additionally, be sure to follow us on our various social channels for behind-the-scenes access and further updates.
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