Shane Long brace sends Saints four points from the summit

Southampton’s fantastic start to the season continues with a 2-0 win over Leicester

Leicester City’s Wes Morgan looks on as Southampton goalscorer Shane Long gets ready to pull the trigger at St. Mary’s during his side’s 2-0 victory.

Leicester City’s Wes Morgan looks on as Southampton goalscorer Shane Long gets ready to pull the trigger at St. Mary’s during his side’s 2-0 victory.

 

Premier League round-up: Shane Long sent a message to Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill ahead of next Friday’s Euro 2016 qualifier in Glasgow, netting a brace after coming off the bench at St Mary’s against Leicester to continue Southampton’s best-ever start to a top-flight season.

Eyebrows were raised when Saints forked out €15 million to bring in the Tipperary man from Hull during a well-documented summer of upheaval on the south coast.

On this wet afternoon, though, Long followed in his club’s footsteps by confounding the doubters, scoring twice shortly after coming on as second-half replacement to secure Southampton a 2-0 win – their fifth successive victory in all competitions.

In truth, few had expected Ronald Koeman’s men to come a cropper against former Saints boss Nigel Pearson, yet it had looked like out-of-form Leicester would be taking a point from this war of attrition.

Last-ditch defending during an impressive, stubborn display from the Foxes looked to be enough until eventually buckling 15 minutes from time.

Long, introduced just seven minutes earlier, coolly slotted home after a neat Graziano Pelle lay-off, before latching onto a fine Victor Wanyama ball to net another in the 80th minute.

The 27-year-old almost completed a hat-trick in stoppage time.

Burnley finally claimed their first win of the season as Ashley Barnes’s header steered them to a 1-0 victory over Hull at Turf Moor.

In what was their 11th Premier League game of the campaign, the decisive moment came for the Clarets in the 50th minute when Barnes connected with Kieran Trippier’s cross.

They might have scored earlier, with Danny Ings shooting narrowly wide early on before being denied by a Steve Harper parry, the loose ball then being sent back towards his own goal by Paul McShane and cleared off the line by his Ireland team-mate Robbie Brady.

They were then playing against 10 men for the final 20 minutes – Hull captain Curtis Davies having been forced off with an injury when his side had already made three substitutions – but Sean Dyche’s team could not add to their tally.

That will not bother Burnley fans, who had not celebrated a Premier League win for their team since May 2010.

And while Dyche’s side remain bottom of the table, they are now only two points from safety, having taken their total to seven. Hull, who have not scored in three straight games, stay two points clear of the drop zone in 14th place.

Aston Villa ended their losing streak in the league after battling to a goalless draw at West Ham.

Paul Lambert’s side had suffered six straight defeats since winning at Liverpool in mid-September to plummet down the table.

However, Villa produced a determined, defensive display at the Boleyn Ground, where goalkeeper Brad Guzan denied Andy Carroll – back from an ankle injury – with a brilliant save in stoppage time to frustrate the Hammers, who had been looking to move back up into the top four following their impressive run of form.

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