FC Den Bosch
Go Ahead Eagles
9:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
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RKC Waalwijk
9:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
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De Graafschap
SC Cambuur
11:45 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
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Sparta Rotterdam
FC Oss
11:45 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
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Transfer Rater: Paco Alcacer to Southampton

Football Whispers
 By Alex Crook

Charlie Austin produces second-half masterclass to lift Saints to victory

Charlie Austin scored twice to take his goals tally to seven in six matches as Southampton continued their surge up the Premier League table with a 3-1 win at home to the striker's old club Burnley on Sunday.

Austin tapped in from close range and converted a penalty on either side of a Nathan Redmond volley as Claude Puel's men peppered Tom Heaton's goal with a season-high 34 shots.

Boyhood Saints fan Sam Vokes' late penalty was no more than a consolation goal for Burnley as Puel's side extended their unbeaten run to seven matches and moved up to eighth place.


Austin scoring goals is becoming the norm now, but Redmond joining him on the scorecard with his first since the opening weekend of the season is a huge confidence booster for the England under-21 winger-turned-striker.

Redmond took his goal wonderfully, albeit after having first-half efforts blocked by Heaton. Other than a questionable penalty, Saints were again impressive at the back, with Oriol Romeu the standout performer.


Scoring three goals is never something to be sniffed at, but to score only three off 34 attempts on goal is a very minor worry. Saints have had more shots than their opposition in every game this season, according to Puel, who acknowledges his side need to become more clinical.

Conceding for the first time in 612 minutes -- denying goalkeeper Fraser Forster the chance to break the club's clean sheet record -- was pretty galling, but again not a huge worry after netting thrice.

Game Details

Manager rating out of 10

9 -- Puel has well and truly won the fans over. He is the best parts of predecessors Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino rolled into one with his entertaining brand of winning football and love of all things young and British. It is clear that the players adore him too, with a couple of heart-warming moments during breaks in plays when he engaged in advisory conversation with them like a father would talk to his children. The respect is clear to see.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Fraser Forster, 7 -- Much less busy than his England bench-warming counterpart Heaton. Visibly annoyed to lose his clean sheet to a soft penalty call.

DF Cuco Martina, 6 -- Hardly given a working over by George Boyd, but he lacked his usual sparkling crosses going forward. The absence of the injured Cedric Soares should not be a worry for Puel.

DF Jose Fonte, 7 -- Much calmer than he was earlier in the season, but not exactly tested. Would have been the perfect 250th league appearance for the club if not for a missed header late on.

DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 -- The bar has been set high for the Dutchman, but he still hits his mark every week. This time it was his attacking flair which shone, with a first-half strike and an assist for Austin's opener.

DF Matt Targett, 6 -- Only influence of the game was a stunning whipped cross for Austin -- which was saved in Gordon Banks style by Heaton. Went off after 14 minutes clutching his hamstring.

MF Oriol Romeu, 8 -- His performance is best summed up by a Saints fan page on Twitter: "I'm not saying Romeu tidied up everything today, but don't be surprised if you get home and find that your kitchen is spotless." Underrated star.

MF Jordy Clasie, 6 -- A rare quiet game for Clasie. You usually either notice him because he is awful or storming. This time he just did the simple things.

MF Steven Davis, 7 -- Was the driving force in attack, with clever interplay all over the pitch. His set pieces were a constant delight from the left side.

MF Dusan Tadic, 7 -- The free role he has been given is one of Puel's biggest masterstrokes. He pops up on both wings and through the middle, confusing defenders trying to keep a close eye on him.

Charlie Austin found the back of the net twice against Burnley.
Charlie Austin's brace lifted Southampton to a 3-1 victory over Burnley on Sunday.

FW Charlie Austin, 9 -- Was slow and frustrated by Heaton in the first half but came out and gave a masterclass in centre-forward work in the second 45 minutes. Must be close to an England call-up.

FW Nathan Redmond, 8 -- Needs regular goals to benchmark how he is coping with the striker role. His performance, fully of quick feet and flair, deserved it.


DF Sam McQueen, 8 -- Premier League debut to remember. His physicality is a step up on the admittedly ever-improving Targett, but he has a Luke Shaw feel about him. Might want to try to stay on his feet after being accused of diving for a penalty.

FW Jay Rodriguez, N/A -- Feeling his way back to fitness yet again. Nearly scored.

MF James Ward-Prowse, N/A -- Almost curled in a late fourth. Certain to start in Milan.

Alex Crook is ESPN FC's Southampton blogger. Follow him on Twitter @alex_crook


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