TALKING TACTICS: Attack-minded Saints a threat

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SCOUT Phil Smith looks at the threat posed by Championship leaders Southampton at Turf Moor tomorrow.

A 4-1 victory over Birmingham City, their 13th successive home league win, saw Southampton move to the top of the Championship.

Burnley have collected 14 points from a possible 33 at Turf Moor since March. The Saints boast a record of 25 from a possible 36 away from St Mary’s.

They are currently in blistering form having enjoyed six wins from seven in the league this season.

Diagram A illustrates the system of play that I expect them to utilise. It cannot be classed as anything but attack minded. 19 goals thus far emphasise that. Burnley have six.

The lack of a holding midfielder in the visitors 4-4-2 is likely to be an area Eddie Howe looks to exploit.

Jack Cork and Dean Hammond will be involved in penetrating runs centrally.

Cork will come short to receive the ball. He will look to release Rickie Lambert and David Connolly in depth. (Diagram B).

Southampton will utilise space behind the defensive line in their offensive transition. Expect across the face runs from the pair.

Lambert has broken the magical 20-goal barrier in each of his previous three seasons. The former Rochdale man has eight to his name already this term, including a recent hat-trick against Nottingham Forest.

Connolly will operate slightly behind Lambert. He will look to feed him. Brian Easton and Kieran Trippier must close inside to eliminate this threat.

Adam Lallana will give width and attack Trippier. Expect inside diagonals when Lambert drops into midfield. With four goals and five assists to his name already this campaign, Burnley will need to keep a close eye on the Saints Academy graduate.

Offensive transitions will see the team move quickly to offer support. Danny Fox and Frazer Richardson will provide width from behind and deliver the ball into the box. The cross will be attacked diagonally. Richardson has three assists to his name, including two against Birmingham City on Sunday.

Guly Do Prado is not a natural winger. He prefers to act as a third midfielder between the lines. He will look to release Connolly and Lambert with penetration through the defensive line.

Lateral free-kicks taken inswinging by Fox. Four players will attack the ball diagonally. Expect a late run from one player towards the penalty spot. Competent handling will be crucial from Lee Grant. Lambert will look to pounce on any second ball at the far post.

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