Burnley v Southampton: Puel’s men visit Turf Moor without Fonte
By: Dehinbo TImothy
Southampton on Saturday visits the Turf moor as they look for their first Premier League win in a month at Burnley on Saturday.
Fonte has handed in a transfer request and was not in the squad for the 1-0 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win over Liverpool on Wednesday.
“I prefer for the moment staying [with] Jose out of the team,” said manager Claude Puel.
“To leave him with the opportunity to study different solutions for him and for us to stay focused about all the players who are available to start in the team.”
While Saints are one step away from reaching the EFL Cup final, they have not won in the league since beating Bournemouth on December 18.
“We have lost points in the Premier League and we have to come back with a good answer,” said Puel this week.
Burnley have excelled at home this season, earning all but one of their 23 points at Turf Moor, and scoring 19 of their 22 league goals there.
Scott Arfield and Johann Berg Gudmundsson are unlikely to feature for Burnley after suffering hamstring injuries in the FA Cup draw with Sunderland last weekend.
George Boyd is set to be recalled and boss Sean Dyche could consider utilising Jeff Hendrick or Michael Kightly on the other flank.
Goalkeeper Tom Heaton and defender Ben Mee are likely to return but ‘bad boy’ Joey Barton, who played 90 minutes on his return to theclub in the FA Cup, may have to revert to the bench.
Southampton will check on the fitness of midfielder Steven Davis after he went off during the closing stages of the midweek EFL Cup victory over Liverpool at St Mary’s.
Fonte will continue to be left out of the squad after handing in a transfer request, while midfielder Sofiane Boufal has returned from Africa Cup of Nations duty because of a knee injury.
Charlie Austin (shoulder), Matt Targett (hamstring), Alex McCarthy (hamstring) and Jeremy Pied (knee) all continue their recovery.
Burnley have lost two of their previous three Premier League games against Southampton, but did win the other at Turf Moor in December 2014 thanks to a goal from Ashley Barnes.
Southampton haven’t won any of their last three league visits to Burnley, last beating them there in the Championship in October 2007.
The Clarets last failed to score at home in the league against Southampton in March 1971, a run of nine games.
Southampton have lost the most points when leading in the Premier League this season (14) but Burnley are the only side yet to gain a point when trailing.
Saints have lost three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since December 2014 when managed by Ronald Koeman (run of four defeats).
Burnley have won 22 of their 23 points in the Premier League this season at Turf Moor (96%).
Despite their defeat to Manchester City last time out, this remains Burnley’s best ever start to a Premier League season after 20 games (23 points).
PREDICTION: BURNLEY 2-1 SOUTHAMPTON