Game-week one of the Premier League 2018/19 campaign kicked off for Southampton and Burnley today at St. Mary’s Stadium with a goalless draw.
Prior to the game Southampton had only won two out of their previous 19 opening games in top flight football and Burnley were hoping to win consecutive opening games for the first time since 1967, following their shock win over Chelsea last season.
Mark Hughes’s men started the game very slowly and were very lucky not to be behind, thanks to great saves from Alex McCarthy and the ex-Southampton player Jack Cork’s goal disallowed for offside.
Up until the 20th minute Burnley retained 72% of possession, however they could not capitalise on the sluggish start by Southampton.
One of Southampton’s key players today was their new signing Jannik Vestergaard. With the Saiints conceding the most goals from set pieces last year, the introduction of the Danish international shows a clear intention from Mark Hughes strive to improve on the weaknesses of the club, and it paid off today.
The arrival of Southampton’s two new signings, Danny Ings and Elyounoussi in the 55th minute livened up the game as Burnley’s defence were on the back foot for the majority of the second half.
The best chance of the game ironically came to Ben Mee, towards his own net. Luckily his teammate Westwood was on the line to steer clear his effort; not the way Mee would have wanted to round off his 250th appearance. Burnley introduced Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes in an attempt to make a difference, as these were the two Burnley players to score against the Saints last season, but to no avail.
In the final 15 minutes Southampton looked the most likely to score, with Danny Ings creating a massive influence on the pitch from off the bench. However, today was a game of defensive solidity, with Burnley’s partnership of Mee and Tarkowski looking as organised as ever, and the introduction of Vestergaard looking like exactly what the Saints needed at the back.
Sean Dyche can be happy with a point away from home on the first game of the season, continuing his excellent away record from last year (W-7 D-7 L-5), and Mark Hughes can be encouraged by the effort put in by the squad and now has to work on creating more opportunities for their capable strikers.