Burnley 3 v 0 Southampton (FA Premier League)
After an excellent pre-season campaign the Clarets got the new Premier League season underway against Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton, which was a repeat of last seasons opening fixture when the sides drew 0-0 draw at St Mary’s Stadium. The biggest change from last season was the introdcution of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Stockley Park designed to assist the officials in making correct decisions.
Southampton got the game underway and had the first effort of the half after just two minutes, when full-back Yan Valery went down the right wing before crossing the ball to the back post were Che Adams poked the ball just wide of Nick Pope’s right-hand post.
The visitors won a corner on eight minutes, which came to nothing as Oriol Romeu fired his shot over Pope’s crossbar from just inside the area. Both sides struggled to find their rhythm in the opening fifteen minutes due to heavy rain and strong winds at Turf Moor.
The Clarets had the ball in the net on sixteen minutes as Vestergaard slipped allowing Ashley Barnes to run clear into the Saints area before sliding the ball across the six yard box for Chris Wood to tap into an empty goal. However the goal was reviewed by VAR before being disallowed for offside against Ashley Barnes earlier in the move.
On twenty-six minutes, the Clarets nearly took the lead as Matthew Lowton found Johann Berg Gudmundsson at the edge of the Saints box, Gudmundsson riflied a shot inches wide of Gunn’s bottom corner and out for a goal kick. Just three minutes later, VAR was called upon again as Che Adams went crashing into captain Ben Mee as the defender headed the ball clear. However the officials at Stockley Park said the late challenge was not a red card.
Chris Wood went close to opening the scoring on thirty-five minutes with an acrobatic effort that was well saved by the visitors goalkeeper Angus Gunn in the Southampton goal.
The visitors had the final effort of the half as Nathan Redmond cut into the area before forcing an excellent save from Nick Pope who tipped the strikers fierce effort just over the crossbar to make the half-time score 0-0.
The Clarets took the lead just after the hour mark, when a long ball over the top was missed by the Southampton and Ashley Barnes took one touch before sending a half-volley past Gunn to make it 1-0.
The Clarets extended their lead just four minutes later, when Erik Pieters moved into the Southampton half before sending a curling cross into the Saints penalty area, for Ashley Barnes to volley past Gunn to make it 2-0.
Former Clarets striker Danny Ings was replaced by Obafemi jusr after Barnes goal, but to be fair he had very little impact on the game, as the Clarets managed the conditions far better than the visitors in the second-half.
The home side added a third on seventy minutes, when Johann Berg Gudmundsson tackled Jamie Ward-Prowse in the middle of the park before taking the ball down the right-wing and cutting into the area and curling the ball past Gunn into the far corner of the goal to make it 3-0.
The Clarets should have added a fourth goal on seventy-nine minutes, when Ashley Barnes latched onto a Southampton error before rounding goalkeeper Angus Gunn and hitting a shot from a tight angle. Saints goalkeeper Gunn however managed to get a hand to the ball and turned it away for a corner.
The biggest cheer of the day came on eighty-four minutes, when Jay Rodriguez replaced the Clarets Man of the Match Ashley Barnes. The game so Rodriguez make his Clarets Premier League debut after returning to his hometown club in the transfer window.
Speaking after the match manager Sean Dyche said, “Southampton are a tough side and they have some good players and energy, it was a tight game and there wasn’t much in it, but I was so pleased with our mentality to stick at it. We started asking more questions in the second half and lifted the tempo and without putting them on the back foot we suddenly made it awkward.
You could sense the game start to change and of course it was a fantastic goal from Barnes, it’s a brilliant touch and hit that settled us down, from that moment we kept at it and went after them on the front foot. It was brilliant football for the second goal and to top it all off it’s a brilliant piece of play and finish from Johann. It was clinical finishing all round and very pleasing to see.”
Burnley – Pope, Lowton, Pieters, Tarkowski, Mee, Gudmundsson, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Wood, Barnes (Subs) Hart, Bardsley, Long, Gibson, Lennon, Hendrick, Rodriguez
Southampton – Gunn, Bednarek, Stephens, Vestergaard, Varley, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Bertrand, Adams, Redmond, Ings (Subs) McCarthy, Cedric-Soares, Yoshida, Djenepo, Boufal, Obafemi, Hojbjerg
Goals – (Burnley) Barnes (63, 70) Gudmundsson (75)
Attendance – 19,784