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Three talking points as Burnley snatched a late victory against Southampton



Burnley extended their impressive record away from home this season as Sam Vokes’ late header proved enough to secure all three points against Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon.

The Clarets seemed happy to give their opponents the lion’s share of the possession from the opening whistle but Mauricio Pellegrino’s side found it hard to break down a rigid Burnley defence.

Even when they did manage to get a shot on goal they found Nick Pope in inspired form between the sticks, pushing away two first-half efforts from Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond before superbly denying Maya Yoshida, but on the whole it was an encounter devoid of any true quality.

It seemed like the match was destined for a draw but substitute Vokes popped up inside the box and nodded home with nine minutes left to send his side up to the dizzy heights of sixth in the table.

Southampton feeling deja vu as toothless attack flops again

Southampton fans will feel like they’re experiencing their own version of Groundhog Day as they failed to find the back of the net at St Mary’s for the ninth time in their past 11 home league games.

It was another case of same old, same old for Pellegrino’s men, who accumulated 63% possession across 90 minutes but just ran out of ideas in the final third when faced with an organised opposition.

Neither Manolo Gabbiadini, Shane Long or Charlie Austin had a clear sight of goal all match and when Boufal and Redmond found space they couldn’t beat Pope, but they never really subjected Burnley to a prolonged period of pressure and instead put in a very slow, lethargic team display.

But whilst Southampton’s worries in front of goal are no closer to a solution just yet, the visitor’s approach to Saturday’s match has to be praised as they ground out a third away win of the season.

Dyche instructed his side to sit deep inside their own half, allowing Southampton’s centre-back pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Maya Yoshida to have an awful lot of time on the ball, but they quickly shut off any possible pass into the Burnley half of the pitch and just kept things generally tight and compact.

It proved successful during the 1-0 win away at Everton and this measured approach came out on top once again at St Mary’s, and Burnley are quickly turning out to be the top-flight’s big surprise package.

Tale of two managerial decisions

Whilst the action on the pitch at St Mary’s was largely uneventful from the opening whistle, the outcome of the match can be attributed to two managerial decisions from Dyche and Pellegrino.

With Southampton in the ascendency and controlling the game – despite not posing much in the way of a real threat – the Saints manager took the peculiar decision to haul Manolo Gabbiadini off.

The Italian may not have been enjoying his best afternoon in a Southampton shirt but he’s a forward capable of popping up or producing a moment of brilliance, as he did with his double against Newcastle a few weeks back, and taking him off immediately lessened their threat around the area.

By contrast, his managerial counterpart Dyche sensed that his side could get something out of the match and opted to introduce the eventual match-winner Vokes and fellow forward Ashley Barnes.

All of a sudden the visitors began to press higher up the pitch and commit more men forward, upping the tempo of their play, and Dyche ultimately reaped the rewards for a shrewd and bold managerial decision.

Nick Pope continues to impress in Tom Heaton’s absence

One player who has been making a serious impression this season for high-flying Burnley has been goalkeeper Nick Pope, who once again produced a string of excellent saves to secure his clean sheet.

The 25-year-old was almost unheard of at the start of the season but since the unfortunate injury picked up by Tom Heaton two months ago he’s certainly gone about taking his opportunity in Burnley’s first-team, keeping four clean sheets and starring in the Clarets’ unlikely venture into the Premier League’s top-six .

Whilst he wasn’t particularly subjected to a siege on Saturday he still stood tall when needed, making one exceptional stop from Yoshida to keep the scores level shortly after the break.

He’s become a critical part of this impressive Burnley side and it begins to beg the question of whether Heaton will walk back into the side or not – because Pope has certainly made a statement of his quality.

If he doesn’t manage to retain his spot when Heaton returns then it wouldn’t have been a decision made lightly by Dyche, and that’d just be testament to the impact he’s had at Turf Moor this season.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.


Jay Rodriguez reunion at Burnley would suit both parties

The 28-year-old is a Turf Moor academy graduate.

Josh Kerr



Jay Rodriguez
Photo: Getty Image

According to reports from Sky SportsBurnley are interested in signing West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez – a transfer that would be of benefit both parties.

West Brom want to reduce their wage bill, and Sean Dyche’s Clarets are recruiting for their journey in Europe next season, so the deal on paper makes perfect sense.

The forward spent five-years with his hometown club, before a £6 million move to Southampton back in 2012. The 28-year-old was made available after West Brom were relegated from the Premier League earlier this month.

Rodriguez needs a fresh start after enduring one of the more troubling seasons of his career so far. Relegation was overshadowed and clouded by an allegation that he racially abused Brighton defender Gaetan Bong.

He was charged by the FA, but the allegation was not proven. Despite scoring seven times in 37 league games for the Baggies, Rodriguez will agree it’s been a season to forget, and his former club could be the team to save him.

(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

The former Burnley striker was a fan favourite on Turf Moor before his move to Southampton six years ago, scoring 41 times in 128 appearances. He would give Dyche’s side more attacking depth which is an urgent requirement considering they have to juggle the Premier League with Europa League duties next season.

Meanwhilem Darren Moore is desperate to reshape his squad at West Brom and to do that he has to part ways with some of his more marketable players and Rodriguez fit’s into that category.

Burnley will surely be interested in the transfer considering the Englishman scored 11 goals in all competitions for a West Brom side that only managed 31 league goals in total.

The 28-year-old would also be moving closer to home, having been born in Burnley, and he remains one of the club’s most famous success stories from the academy.

The Claret’s should be bold and bring Rodriguez back to the team that discovered his talent. West Brom are desperate to offload their high earners, and the move would be perfect for all parties involved.

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Tom Heaton would be the perfect replacement for Joe Hart at West Ham

The 32-year-old is being valued at just £10 million.

Josh Kerr



Tom Heaton
Photo: Getty Images

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton has emerged as a potential replacement for Joe Hart at West Ham, according to reports from The Sun.

The report claims that Hart will not return to West Ham following his loan move from Manchester City. His mixed time at the club hasn’t given Hammers supporters a reason to demand a permanent deal for the England international.

The 31-year-old is unwanted by Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, and his poor form in East London has meant few clubs are showing an interest.

Instead, the East London side have turned their attention to Burnley and Tom Heaton as their new number one, with the 32-year-old keeper valued at £10 million.

The Chester born keeper began the season as Sean Dyche’s first choice but lost his place to Nick Pope after he suffered a dislocated shoulder last August.

The outstanding Pope and immediately staked a claim to be England’s number one in the summer World Cup. Due to his displays, he looks to have kept Heaton out of the team for the foreseeable future.

(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Considering Heaton has been an England squad regular in recent years, it is difficult to see him happy to be the number two at Turf Moor and an exit for the former Bristol City keeper could be imminent.

With over 178 appearances in the Premier League, Heaton would be the perfect signing for a goalkeeper position that has caused a lot of headache for fans at the London Stadium.

Both Hart and Adrian have been in and out of the first team and neither has pushed their cause as to why they should be the standout choice for the number one spot.

At Burnley, Heaton’s move to the substitute bench is one of the more unfortunate stories of the season as no-one came close to the 6ft 2 keeper before his injury.

If it wasn’t for Pope having one of the greatest debut seasons of the Premier League era then it would have been a given to see Heaton come back in as number one.

His manager, Sean Dyche, will most likely want to keep him at the club, especially considering the club’s Europa League commitments next season.

However, the Burnley boss would also understand that a keeper of his quality is too good to be wasting the final years of his career on the sidelines.

If Heaton were to move to the London Stadium then West Ham will have yet another England international in their ranks.

However, this time they would be getting an assured, established Premier League keeper, who has been fundamental in Burnley’s success for many-a-year.

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Bristol City

Joe Bryan would be the perfect signing for Sean Dyche’s Burnley

The 24-year-old has had a fine individual season at Ashton Gate.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Burnley have been the feel-good story of the Premier League over the last two years, as the club are set to complete a journey from the Championship to the Europa League.

The finances in football mean that it is difficult for a club to progress naturally, but the Clarets have shown that it is still possible and Sean Dyche has been the driving force behind their upwards trajectory.

One major reason for their success has been their recruitment.

The club have not tried to over-spend or sign players based on their reputation.

Their approach allows them to sign players tailored for their needs and it is no surprise that the majority of their signings over the last two years have fitted in seamlessly.

It would be a mistake if they changed their approach this summer, even with the added pressure of the Europa League.

In recent days, they have been linked with one Championship player that seems to be the perfect fit for the squad at Turf Moor.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The Telegraph report that Joe Bryan has emerged as a target for the Premier League club.

They go on to state that Dyche is ready to offer £6 million for the Bristol City left-back as he tries to improve both the quality and depth of the squad ahead of next season.

The rumour mill is starting to accelerate and the majority of media stories need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but this does make a lot of sense.

If Burnley continue with the recruitment policy, Bryan would be a great fit for them and immediately improve their starting eleven at left-back.

Bristol City’s season slowed down during the second half of the campaign, but they have impressed those that have watched them regularly and Bryan has been one of their standout performers.

The left-back has contributed four goals and three assists in the league, in addition to two strikes in the League Cup including one against Manchester United.

He would add a much-needed attacking threat from left full-back and that would provide an extra dimension to the Burnley team.

Although his decision making and defensive contribution needs work, he is a very good young full-back with the potential to thrive in the Premier League.

Bryan is an aggressive defender, as shown by his average of three successful tackles and 3.2 clearances per game.

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

At times, he can be guilty of committing to too many forward runs, but that is something that could be addressed.

Dyche is very good at coaching a defence and the 24-year-old would benefit from working with the Burnley manager.

Dyche will be the first to admit that it will be difficult to replicate Burnley’s success, especially with the scheduling problems caused by the Europa League.

However, it would be foolish to make any huge changes to how they are currently conducting business.

Joe Bryan may not be an international with lots of experience in Europe, but he would be a great signing for this squad and fit in immediately.

The Clarets should do everything in their power to secure his services.

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