Burnley 3-0 Southampton
Goals: Ashley Barnes x2 (£6.5m), Johan Berg Gudmundsson (£6.0m)
Assists: Erik Pieters x2 (£4.5m)
Bonus Points: Barnes x3, Pieters x2, Nick Pope x1 (£4.5m), Gudmundsson x1
Ashley Barnes (£6.5m) did his best to blow Burnley’s pre-season trends out of the water in a 3-0 win over Southampton on Saturday.
The forward scored twice against the Saints after a campaign of summer friendlies in which he did not find the net once.
Barnes also played fewer minutes in those games than colleagues Chris Wood (£6.5m) and Jay Rodriguez (£6.0m) but still started alongside the New Zealand international at Turf Moor.
His two forward colleagues combined for 15 goals in pre-season but it was Barnes who showed the clinical edge in Gameweek 1.
However, in truth, the game was closer than the scoreline suggested.
Southampton had chances in the early stages with new signing Che Adams (£6.0m) and Nathan Redmond (£6.5m) hooking wide and stinging the palms of Nick Pope (£4.5m) respectively.
In fact, Burnley did not pose much of a threat in the first half other than a Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£6.0m) drive from the edge of the box that clipped the post. It was only in a 12-minute second-half spell that they scored three goals.
“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 like awkward.” – Sean Dyche
Barnes first capitalised on a Jannik Vestergaard (£5.0m) slip to connect with an Erik Pieters (£4.5m) clearance, drilling under Angus Gunn (£4.5m).
Minutes later, the former Plymouth Argyle striker was on hand again to double Burnley’s lead. This time there was more intention on Pieters’ ball into the box, an incredible cross to the back post where Barnes poked home.
“I have great admiration for him. This pre-season he didn’t score a goal and he looked hungry for it. The first goal was a fantastic touch and finish, it was great skill. His second finish was sublime, it’s a brilliant ball by Erik Pieters, but when centre-forwards finish like that it looks easy. It’s not easy when the ball is coming over your shoulder like that.” – Sean Dyche
It is worth highlighting the role that Pieters played in this win, as his 14-point score in Gameweek 1 was bettered only by Raheem Sterling‘s (£12.0m) 20-point haul.
Not only did the former Stoke man get two assists, but he also tacked on a clean sheet and two bonus points.
However, it would probably unwise to jump straight into including Pieters in our squads, for several reasons.
Firstly, while his cross for Barnes’ second goal was excellent, the assist for the first was nothing more than a clearance, that the striker was able to latch onto because of Vestergaard’s mistake.
Furthermore, it does seem likely that Charlie Taylor (£4.5m) will be the first choice left-back for Burnley this season.
The former Leeds United defender missed a portion of pre-season with an injury but still started two of the last three matches of the summer, while Pieters featured from the beginning only once in that run.
According to Burnley’s official website, Taylor was only omitted from the matchday squad for the Southampton clash “during a fast-track to get him up to match fitness.”
In our Team News content, we did think that Taylor would be a doubt to start this Gameweek 1 as he played in a reserve team game midweek a few days beforehand.
Fantasy managers looking at the Burnley defence will have to keep an eye on the left-back situation and Dyche’s next press conference ahead of Gameweek 2.
The third Clarets goal on Saturday came from Gudmundsson’s determination as he dispossessed Ryan Bertrand (£4.5m), bore down on goal from the right flank and curled an effort into the far corner of Gunn’s net.
Meanwhile, it was rewarding for Fantasy managers to see goalkeeper Pope make his first Premier League appearance since the 2017/18 season on Saturday.
The Burnley shot-stopper picked up where he left off as a Fantasy asset too, keeping a clean sheet, making three saves and claiming one bonus point.
As per usual, the Clarets made life very comfortable for their goalkeeper, largely limiting Southampton to efforts from range, enabling Pope to make enough saves for that additional point.
It will be interesting to see how this tactic affects Arsenal in Gameweek 2, given how much of the Gunners’ play takes place inside the penalty box.
“Popey didn’t have a lot of do, which was also pleasing.” – Sean Dyche
“The lads have shielded me well in tough conditions, it was difficult to get going in a sense. The lads looked after me really well and I helped them out when I could. I feel better than before; I don’t think about it when I wake up in the morning. It’s in the past now, so I’m glad to get it behind me.” – Nick Pope
Meanwhile, despite the result probably being an unfair reflection of the match, concerns about Southampton’s defence under Ralph Hasenhüttl continue.
Admittedly, there was poor defending specifically from Vestergaard for two of Burnley’s goals but it has been some time since the Saints offered reliable clean sheet potential.
This performance does not bode well for Southampton as they prepare to host Liverpool in Gameweek 2, although it could help Fantasy managers make their captaincy decision.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Pieters, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; McNeil (Lennon 84′), Westwood, Cork, Gudmundsson; A Barnes (Rodriguez 84′), Wood.
Southampton XI (3-4-2-1): Gunn; Vestergaard, J Stephens (Højbjerg 73′), Bednarek; Bertrand, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Valery; Redmond, Ings (Obafemi 66′); Adams (Boufal 73′).
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 1
- Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
- West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City
- Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United
- Burnley 3-0 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
- Watford 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa
- Leicester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
- Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea