Saturday 14th January 15.00
Not exactly one of the ties to light up the weekend but a relatively interesting one all the same. Burnley have never been a by-line for beauty but don’t ever lack for brawn and bravery. Funny thing about those latter accolades is that no matter what way you write them, they sound incredibly patronizing, especially with regard to the hosts. And that does them an injustice as, after 20 matches, they have seven wins which is just one less than everyone’s new favourite team, West Bromwich Albion. Keep this trajectory going for the rest of the season and their BPL survival will be assured.
Regular readers will know how this column feels about Southampton and will get upset if we plough that broken soil again so, suffice it to say, we like ‘em. We liked them even more following their midweek win over Liverpool in the League Cup or whatever they’re not calling it these days. A 1-0 score-line didn’t do them justice as Nathan Redmond missed more than his fair share after scoring what turned out to be the winner.
As things stand, only a single point separates these two teams and a single team in the shape of Stoke City is sandwiched between them, nestled as they are in 10th and 12th, visitors and host respectively. A look at recent form will show that Southampton have lost their last three league games on the bounce which arguably doesn’t speak well of either team.
Case for the defence
In Southampton’s case, they lost two home games in the space of three days over Christmas against two of the league’s form teams in the form of Tottenham Hotpsur and West Bromwich Albion. They followed up their loss to the latter with another defeat to Everton just two days later. For a relatively slim squad dealing with some injuries in key positions as well as unrest in the case of want-away defender Jose Fonte, three games in less than a week proved too much for their resources.
Home sweet home
Burnley’s tale is somewhat different to their visitors even if their points total is quite similar. They have the worst away record in the league bar none, having managed a solitary point from nine games on the road. However, their home form is bettered only by the big guns of Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal. Sean Dyche’s men have taken 22 points from the 11 games played at home, better than both Manchester clubs.
It’s for this reason that we decided to preview this match as the market seems to have this match arse ways. They have the Saints as favourites across the board at just better than evens whereas the prices for a draw or Burnley win are very fetching and quite at odds with their home form as noted above. True, scoring lots of goals is not exactly Burnley’s forte but nor is it Southampton’s so whatever happens, it should be a low-scoring affair. If you fancy a draw, BetFair are offering a price of 12/5 but if you think the home side will take all three points, look no further than 32Red who are offering 13/5 on that result.