MX23RW : Wednesday, December 12 10:29:49

Result: Southampton and Burnley in opening-weekend stalemate at St Mary's

Southampton and Burnley have to settle for a share of the spoils on the opening weekend of the Premier League season as they draw 0-0 at St Mary's Stadium.

Southampton and Burnley had to settle for a share of the spoils on the opening weekend of the Premier League season as they drew 0-0 at St Mary's Stadium this afternoon.

Alex McCarthy was equal to a succession of first-half Burnley chances, while the Saints finished the stronger but could not find a breakthrough to pinch all three points.

Matthew Lowton makes a header during the Premier League game between Southampton and Burnley on August 12, 2018© Reuters

Southampton had two once-prolific Burnley strikers in their squad, with Charlie Austin starting and Danny Ings on the bench after his loan arrival from Liverpool on deadline day.

However, it was one of their own former players in the Burnley ranks who found the net on seven minutes. The Clarets recycled a corner to Jack Cork who finished confidently into the bottom corner from 12 yards, only for the offside flag to go up.

The visitors continued to have the better of the opening stages and needed McCarthy, preferred to new £12m signing Angus Gunn in goal, to rescue them when Aaron Lennon ran onto a botched clearance from Wesley Hoedt to volley powerfully from close range.

McCarthy may have been beaten a couple of moments later when Johan Berg Gudmundsson whipped a 25-yard free kick over the wall, which dropped agonisingly onto the roof of the net.

Southampton created their first chance on 17 minutes when Mario Lemina got across his marker to meet Ryan Bertrand's delivery at the near post, where summer signing Joe Hart pushed the ball away.

Joe Hart in action during the Premier League game between Southampton and Burnley on August 12, 2018© Reuters

Crosses into the box were Southampton's best source of opportunities, and they had a new weapon from set pieces in 6ft 6in defender Jannik Vestergaard, who headed over the bar from a 41st-minute corner.

Burnley should have gone into the break in front but James Tarkowski could not direct his close-range header past McCarthy, who also saved from Chris Wood from the resultant corner although the striker did not generate much power on his header.

Vestergaard make an impressive debut for the hosts, crucially intercepting a Matt Lowton cross from which Wood was lining up a simple tap-in. The Dane also deflected Jeff Hendrick's shot wide as the Clarets started the second period as brightly as they did the first.

The double introduction of new recruits Ings and Mohamed Elyounoussi gave the Saints some attacking impetus but it was actually a Burnley player who nearly gave them the lead when Ben Mee's header was cleared off the line by Ashley Westwood.

Ings looked particularly lively against his former club, curling a 25-yard shot which had Hart scrambling narrowly over the crossbar. The on-loan Liverpool forward also teed up Jack Stephens who ran onto the cross, but was denied by a well-positioned Hart at the near post.

Jack Stephens in action during the Premier League game between Southampton and Burnley on August 12, 2018© Reuters

Hart was assured all afternoon though and held another Lemina header on 74 minutes. Southampton came again from another corner when Ings got away from marker Lennon, only to direct his effort high of the goal.

In the end it was a match in which the defences - and goalkeepers in particular - came out on top.

SOUTHAMPTON (3-5-1-1): McCarthy; Cedric (Elyounessi, 56'), Stephens, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Bertrand; Romeu, Lemina, Armstrong (Ings, 56'); Redmond; Austin (Gabbiadini, 72')

BURNLEY (4-5-1): Hart; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward; Lennon, Cork, Hendrick (Barnes, 76'), Westwood, Gudmundsson (Taylor, 87'); Wood (Vokes, 73')

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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