Analysis: One-dimensional approach proves ineffective for mentally fatigued Burnley

Analysis: One-dimensional approach proves ineffective for mentally fatigued Burnley

The Clarets suffered a surprise 3-1 home defeat to Watford on Sunday.

Chris Lincoln

An unimaginative approach from Burnley proved their downfall as they ran into a clinical Watford side at Turf Moor who have now scored eight goals in their two opening Premier League games.

Five successful crosses from 32 deliveries 

The message was clear from Sean Dyche- get the ball out wide to the wingers and look to hit the physical power and presence of Chris Wood in the penalty area.

The crossing approach appeared to be an effective tactic as early as the sixth minute when Johann Berg Gudmundsson picked out James Tarkowski to cancel out Andre Gray's early opener - the first goal Watford had scored on the road since January.

Yet the Clarets became too predictable and ended up pinging a mammoth 32 crosses into the penalty area - only five of which found a teammate. In comparison, Watford waited for the right moment to go wide, playing just eight crosses, successful with four, one of which created the opener for Gray.

Iceland international Gudmundsson was the only player to deliver any sort of quality for the home side, successful with four of his 11 deliveries, one of which was almost converted by substitute Sam Vokes. The rest of the Clarets returned just one successful cross from 21 attempts.

Embed from Getty Images

Watford clinical against unrecognisable Burnley defence

Very rarely did Burnley attack through the middle, closed out by a tight diamond in midfield for the Hornets. The hosts only went forward centrally 19% of the time as opposed to their visitors' 31%, a tactic that was extremely effective for Watford.

Their ability to expose the Burnley back four was emphasised when Abdoulaye Doucoure slipped through Troy Deeney to put Watford back ahead against a surprisingly leaky Clarets defence. A team usually so resolute made just three blocks during the contest as they looked a yard off the pace against the buoyant visitors.

Matthew Lowton's performance was synonymous of the afternoon for Burnley as a whole. None of his eight crosses found a teammate and he was at fault for a sloppy pass that allowed Will Hughes to wrap up the game with a third Watford goal. 

Burnley gave the ball away far too often throughout the 90 minutes as they struggled to pick the right pass throughout the game - a sign of mental fatigue already creeping in from their Europa League qualification schedule?