New season, same problems for Southampton as Burnley come away with point
Danny Ings impressed on his Saints debut, but could not find the target.
Southampton ground out a goalless draw against Burnley to pick up the new Premier League season where they left off the last.
Jack Cork and Burnley will no doubt contest the offside call that denied the former Saints midfielder a first-half breakthrough.
But, beyond that chalked-off finish, this St Mary’s Stadium clash lacked the final-third quality for either side to wrestle victory.
Southampton have now trudged through just one home win in 12 league matches, dating back to late November.
New recruits Danny Ings and Mohamed Elyounoussi added impetus off the bench, but still a killer instinct continues to elude Mark Hughes’ south coast men.
Winchester-born striker Ings pressed and probed in his first Saints foray since joining on loan from Liverpool, but never in truth came that close to breaking the deadlock.
The visitors could well look back and accept a hard-fought point all told, especially amid their continued European adventures.
Sean Dyche’s men grafted for a goalless draw at Istanbul Basaksehir on Thursday, and will be back in action against the Turks in the Europa League qualifying third-round second leg in midweek.
Burnley made light of that hectic schedule to take immediate control, penning Saints into their own half for the opening quarter-hour.
Former Saints midfielder Cork thought he had drawn first blood only for a contentious offside call to keep the game scoreless.
Aaron Lennon ought to have blasted Burnley into the lead minutes later, but instead he fired straight against Alex McCarthy’s legs.
Mario Lemina drew a smart save from Burnley’s Premier League debutant Joe Hart, but Saints remained disjointed and disorganised.
Cork’s fine lofted ball set Johann Berg Gudmundsson free, only for another loose finish to follow.
And then the unmarked Jeff Hendrick’s header lacked the venom to test McCarthy.
New boys Ings and Elyounoussi were summoned from the bench just after the break, with full debutant Stuart Armstrong forced off with a knock.
The double switch swung the momentum Saints’ way, with Ings bright from the off.
The Liverpool loanee was snapped up in the transfer window’s final throes as Saints desperately seek more Premier League goals.
The 26-year-old almost conjured an early assist courtesy of a fine whipped cross. Jack Stephens’ defender’s finish let Burnley off the hook however.
Lemina saw another header saved by Hart as Saints continued to press and Ings continued to threaten.
But, despite the new faces, the new strategies and renewed hope of a fresh campaign, Saints are still suffering the same old worries.