Mark Hughes steadied the ship on the South Coast last season, he will be hoping to build on his successes last year with an opening day win against Europa League Burnley.
Burnley are a dogged side who fight to the end. The fitness levels of Southampton will be under scrutiny going into this game with the Clarets. The Saints will likely have plenty of possession, but they need to be wary of the threat Sean Dyche’s side pose on the counter-attack and not leave themselves exposed at the back.
Southampton’s forward options are a concern, particularly against a Burnley side built on a solid defence. Southampton’s ageing strike force of Shane Long and Charlie Austin struggled for goals last season, whilst Manolo Gabbiadini looked a shadow of the player who first burst onto the scene at St Mary’s.
Southampton will want to make sure Burnley front-man Chris Wood doesn’t get too much space in the box. Given any time and space in the box, the New Zealand born striker is lethal.
With that in mind, Hughes needs to ensure these two stars sign before their clash against the Clarets…
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