|Burnley 3 v 0 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 10th August 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Burnley The Preview
Friday, 9th Aug 2019 08:17
Saints meet Burnley on the opening day for the second year running, however this time it is up in Lancashire rather than the South Coast.
Saints travel to Burnley full of confidence after an unbeaten pre season, but this is the Premier League and the results will count for nothing come 3pm at Turf Moor.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's squad is improved from last season so the hope is that if he can get the results that he achieved in the second half of the season over a full 38 games then this should not be one of struggle and indeed could be one of once again a finish in the top 10.
In terms of selection most would agree that the side will virtually pick itself in all but one position, with the big question being what formation will the manager employ.
Many would assume that it will be a 3 - 2 - 3 - 2 line up, probably his most popular choice last term, if that is the case then the big question will be who partners Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard in the back three, will it be Wesley Hoedt who has featured in pre season or will he have to go with either Jack Stephens or Maya Yoshida.
That would then see Ryan Bertrand and Yan Valery employed as wing backs, with a central 3 and 2 up front.
However with the arrival of Che Adams this causes selection headaches in fitting both two out of three from Danny Ings, Che Adams and Nathan Redmond, therefore there could be a subtle change made and it may line up more 3-2-2-1-2 .
That would see a back 3, the 2 wing backs and a central 2 of probably Pierre Emile Hojbjerg and James Ward Prowse, that would then free up Nathan Redmond to play behind the strikers in a more free flowing role and then Adams and Ings up front.
The big plus though will be the options available to the manager off the bench, attacking wise he will have Moussa Djenepo Shane Long, Sofiane Boufal and possibly Michael Obafemi, Stuart Armstrong, and Oriol Romeo in midfield and Cedric and a central defensive player.
This is perhaps where Saints will start to win games late on, we have options off the bench in all areas especially attacking where too often last term our 3 main options Ings, Austin & Long were too often injured and we struggled going forward.
Now we have options and more to the point they are contrasting options, so the manager can change the pattern of the game rather than just changing like for like.
So Saints can go into this season with confidence with a squad that the manager can mould into the style that he wants.
Burnley has not been a lucky ground for us of late, now would be a good time to take all three points, a rare occurrence on the opening day in the Premier League, something we have only done twice in the last two decades and truly start to show that the shoots of recovery that emerged last season are growing and growing fast.
Photo: Action Images
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