Southampton and Burnley return to Premier League action after their winter breaks, with the two teams level on points in mid-table ahead of this fixture.
Group EPL St. Marys Stadium, Southampton, England
Key Stat: Wins against Leicester and Manchester United and a home draw with Arsenal meant Burnley went into the winter break in good shape and they will be keen to continue to climb the table coming out of it. Southampton's own resurgent form has hit the buffers recently, and the Clarets should fancy their chances of getting something out of this game.
Expert Verdict: Wins against Leicester and Manchester United and a home draw with Arsenal meant Burnley went into the winter break in good shape and they will be keen to continue to climb the table coming out of it. Southampton's own resurgent form has hit the buffers recently, and the Clarets should fancy their chances of getting something out of this game.
Southampton expect to have James Ward-Prowse available after his return to training following a knee injury. That would give Ralph Hasenhuttl a full squad to choose from, and Ward-Prowse could be back in central midfield as a result with Kyle Walker-Peters making his debut at right-back.
Danny Ings – The former Burnley man has found his feet again this season and has scored 14 goals in 25 league games so far this season.
James Ward-Prowse – If fit, he is likely to be restored to his central midfield role where he has been a key part of Southampton’s improved form.
Shane Long – Pushing for a new contract, the striker scored in the FA Cup defeat to Tottenham and his physicality will be important against Burnley.
Southampton’s good form has dried up a little in recent weeks, though their most recent defeat was in the FA Cup – a late fourth-round replay defeat to Tottenham Hotspur despite Shane Long and Danny Ings having put them 2-1 up with less than 20 minutes to play. It followed a 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool, though they did win their previous league game – Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong scoring in a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Defenders:Kyle Walker-Peters, Jack Stephens, Jan Bednarek, Ryan Bertrand
Midfielders:Stuart Armstrong, James Ward-Prowse, Pierre-Emil Hojbjerg, Nathan Redmond
Forwards:Danny Ings, Shane Long
Johan Berg Gudmundsson and Ashley Barnes are set to miss out for Burnley, but Matthew Lowton and Charlie Taylor could be fit as both full-backs face late fitness tests. If both are passed fit, it could be an unchanged team from the one which earned a goalless draw with Burnley.
Chris Wood – Scored in the wins against Leicester City and Manchester United to move to ten league goals for the season up front.
Jay Rodriguez – With Ashley Barnes out, the former Southampton forward has a chance to continue to cement his place up front, having scored in the win at Old Trafford.
Nick Pope – Back-to-back clean sheets against Manchester United and Arsenal in the Premier League have helped cement his claim to be England’s number one for the European Championships.
Burnley have enjoyed three impressive results in their last three Premier League games – beating Leicester and Manchester United and drawing 0-0 at home to Arsenal most recently. The Clarets came from behind thanks to Chris Wood and Ashley Westwood to beat Leicester, before Wood and Jay Rodriguez netted against United. A 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Norwich followed, but they stayed level on points with Arsenal thanks to their goalless draw before their winter break.
Defenders:Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor
Midfielders:Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil
Forwards:Chris Wood, Jay Rodriguez
Burnley’s 3-0 win against Southampton in August made it six matches without defeat against the Saints. Southampton last beat Burnley in 2016, since when there have been three Clarets wins and three draws. This season’s match at Turf Moor saw Ashley Barnes strike twice before Johan Berg Gudmundsson wrapped up victory.
Here are the results of their last five competitive matches:
Aug 10, 2019: Burnley 3-0 Southampton
Feb 02, 2019: Burnley 1-1 Southampton
Aug 12, 2018: Southampton 0-0 Burnley
Feb 24, 2018: Burnley 1-1 Southampton
Nov 04, 2017: Southampton 0-1 Burnley
Southampton and Burnley have both enjoyed resurgent runs of form since the turn of the year – first Southampton climbed out of trouble with a good streak of results, before Burnley joined them in mid-table with their recent upturn.
Burnley went into the international break having beaten third-placed Leicester City and then won at Manchester United and drawn at home to Arsenal.
It is excellent league form, and Sean Dyche’s side need to hit the ground running after the winter break to stay well clear of the bottom and maybe even make a late tilt for a European spot.
That is how tight the table is – the winner of this game will move into the upper mid-table positions and find themselves just three points behind Sheffield United, who start the weekend in fifth.
The loser, on the other hand, will be in the lower mid-table spots and still only a couple of poor results away from being sucked back into the wrong end of the table.
Burnley’s hopes of success will rest on whether Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez can continue their good form up front against a Southampton defence that conceded seven goals in their last two matches.
Southampton, on the other hand, have former Claret Danny Ings up front and in good form and he will be the key man against his former team.
The Saints, with home advantage, are slight favourites but Burnley’s last away match saw them win at Old Trafford – their poor away form could be a thing of the past, particularly if they pick up where they last left off.
With home advantage, Southampton are a best price of 4/5 to win with Betfair, but Burnley are in good form and a price of 15/4 to win with Bet365, Ladbrokes, Betfair, Betway, 10Bet and 888sport looks generous. The draw is a best price of 14/5 with Bet365, meanwhile.
Burnley to win and draw no bet is 5/2 with 888sport and a Burnley-draw double chance is a very generous 11/10 with 888sport.
Both teams to score has been set at 10/11 with Bet365, meanwhile.
Danny Ings to score at any time against his former team is evens with Betfair and Paddy Power, while Chris Wood to continue his good form and score at any time is 47/20 with 888sport.
Burnley hit some good league form ahead of their winter break and if they can hit the ground running on their return, they can continue their recent good streak of results against the Saints.