Burnley vs Watford Preview: Hornets looking to sting a solid home defence

Burnley vs Watford Preview: Hornets looking to sting a solid home defence

The Clarets have conceded just three goals at Turf Moor this season

Chris Lincoln

Two of the Premier League's surprise packages in the first half of the 2017-18 campaign meet on Saturday afternoon with both Burnley and Watford holding places in the top eight.

A strong home defence against a rampant away attack

Burnley have surpassed all expectations to put pressure on the 'big six' in the early stages of the season with their success based upon a solid defensive unit. The Clarets have kept four clean sheets and conceded just three goals at home with goalkeeper Nick Pope second only to David De Gea in save percentages thus far.

However, Sean Dyche's side have struggled to score on their home patch. They have netted just five times, fewer than every club apart from Swansea City. The Turf Moor faithful have become used to watching tactical battles rather than open free-flowing football with every other stadium in the top-flight witnessing at least eight goals more so far this season.

Watford sit just a place behind Burnley in the league and have been particularly impressive on their travels. Four of their six victories have come on the road and they have scored at least twice in all seven of their away fixtures.

An average of 1.73 goals conceded per match suggest Watford are vulnerable in defence but they may be more concerned with how they are going to score rather than their hosts. A close encounter is likely to be in store with all but two of Burnley's matches decided by no more than one goal. The first strike could be critical on Saturday.

Brady will be a big miss for Burnley but six players out for Watford

History suggests this will be a tight contest with five of the last eight meetings ended in draws. However, the home side has always won in the two Premier League encounters between these two sides. The last time Watford picked up three points against Burnley was back in 2004...with Sean Dyche playing in their defence. 

Marco Silva will be looking to Richarlison to continue his excellent form away from home, scoring four and assisting three in their previous seven fixtures on the road. Meanwhile, Burnley's Sam Vokes will be chomping at the bit to start with a 200th league appearance for Burnley the potential outcome.

The hosts will be without Robbie Brady who will be a big miss after showing excellent form throughout November. The winger has undergone surgery on his knee and could be out for the rest of the season. However, Ben Mee is likely to be available for the Clarets after having a gashed knee stitched up. Fellow defender Matt Lowton is unlikely to recover from his knee injury.

Watford have no fresh injury concerns but are missing six first team players. Miguel Britos, Nathaniel Chalobah, Younes Kaboul, Craig Cathcart, Will Hughes and Isaac Success are all unavailable for the visitors.