Burnley swept aside Southampton 3-0 in a surprisingly comfortable afternoon at Turf Moor.
The first chance came in only the second minute, with new Southampton signing Che Adams missing a glorious opportunity from less than five yards.
But it would be VAR decisions that would dominate the first half. First, Chris Wood's goal was ruled out because Ashley Barnes was slightly offside in the build up. The next episode came when there was a check to see if Adams ought to be shown a red card for a high tackle, but it was dismissed. It was a nasty and dangerous tackle, and he could very easily have been sent off on another day.
Key Talking Point
Sean Dyche opted to go for (almost) the same team that ended the last campaign. Erik Pieters made his debut at left back, but fellow new signing Jay Rodriguez started from the bench.
It's safe to say that Burnley were just a little rusty, constantly playing loose passes and not really up with the pace of the game. As a result, they were never able to gain any true momentum going in the first half - and were unable to muster up a single shot on target in the opening 45.
71' GOAL!!! Barnes crashes the ball home into the far corner past a stranded Gunn, after latching onto Pieters' great cross. 2-0— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) August 10, 2019
However, there was a completely different attitude in the second half - a greater intensity and a desire to go and claim all three points. The Clarets were ruthless and made their opportunities count, which will most certainly please the manager.
Burnley XI: Pope (6); Lowton (6), Mee (6), Tarkowski (6), Pieters (8); McNei (6)l, Cork (5), Westwood (5), Berg Gudmundsson (7); Barnes (9*), Wood (7)
STAR MAN - Ashley Barnes
He may not be the most easy on the eye striker, but he is certainly lethal. If Barnes gets an opportunity, he will take the chance more often than not. The team struggled in the first half, but he was constantly chasing the ball down and looking to set the tone for the team.
His first goal was an absolute arrow into the bottom corner, giving Angus Gunn no chance. The second was a sumptuous volley. The match needed someone to provide a touch of quality, and Barnes was the man to apply just the touch. To top it all off, he had a beaming smile as he was replaced by Jay Rodriguez, who came on to make his second debut for the club.
Key Talking Point
There were limited chances for the front two of Burnley. However, this was more to do with the fact that the Clarets didn't really get going in the first half. Jack Stephens put in a very shaky performance, slipping over twice inside the first half hour.
The most worrying thing for Southampton fans was that, the defensive struggles continued throughout the match. Vestergaard's mistimed jump proved to be a very costly error as Barnes rushed on to the loose ball and fired home. It was once again put to the sword for the second goal - Barnes once again finding himself in acres of space to volley home.
The third goal? You guessed it - another defensive error. Ryan Bertrand the culprit this time. This is a team that lost 11 out of 19 games last season on the road, and the second half performance showed why. The defensive frailties are very much alive, but Saints fans will be hoping new signing Kevin Danso can have a positive impact.
Southampton XI: Gunn (5), Valery (6), Bednarek (5), Vestergaard (4), Stephens (4), Bertrand (5), Ward-Prowse (6), Romeu (6), Adams (6), Ings (4), Redmond (7*)
STAR MAN - Nathan Redmond
Redmond looked a real live-wire, forcing a save from Nick Pope at the end of the first half. Southampton's 2018/19 Player of the Season looked fit and sharp, constantly looking to make things happen at every opportunity.
He appears to be Ralph
Good: Redmond, Romeu— Joe Ⓥ (@floppy_donkeys) August 10, 2019
Bad: valery, ings, vestergaard
Manager also goes on the bad list - we spent most of the game playing into burnley's hands#saintsfc
Burnley next face a trip to the Emirates on Saturday, where they will take on a new and improved Arsenal side.
Southampton, meanwhile, also face a top six side in Liverpool. They play host to them on Saturday, as they play their first game at home.