Burnley Home Drew 0 – 0
Another summer of change at Southampton, in common with just about every other club except Tottenham. This year the manager stayed the same, so we assume that the new acquisitions met with Mr. Hughes’ approval, even if a big striker didn’t seem to be on the shopping list: Danny Ings rather than Daniel Sturridge. There were starting debuts for Vestergaard and Armstrong against Burnley, a side with three competitive games behind them already. This may well have nullified the effect of a long midweek Europa League trip as the visitors were all over Saints in the opening period, with our team unable to progress more than 10 yards over the half line in the first 10 minutes… and I’m reliably informed that it took them17 minutes to make it as far as the Clarets’ penalty area. By then the ball had been in the Southampton net, with ex-Saint Cork denied by a close offside call, and McCarthy had been called into desperate action several times to keep the sheet clean. To call this a game of two halves, with all that implies, would be harsh on Burnley who continued on top after the break, but a key moment came with an 56th minute injury to Armstrong that was the catalyst for a double change, bringing in Elyounoussi and Ings for debuts and cutting short Soares’ first game of any kind since the World Cup. A move to a flat back four seemed to revitalise Saints as much as the change of personal, but the new men played their part in a more spirited showing up front that brought the game’s nearest thing to a goal when Westwood headed off the line from team-mate Mee. Stephens, now operating at right back, brought a save from Hart but McCarthy was still having to earn his wages at the other end as for the second season running Saints started their campaign with a goal-less home game. It was also our fourth successive Premier League opening day draw, and for three years out of four we’ve failed to score in the first home league game.
LSSC Man of the Match: Alex McCarthy, far busier than you’d have liked.