Burnley welcome Watford to Turf Moor on Monday evening, and will be hoping to pick up their second league win of the season against the Hornets. Watford have enjoyed a renaissance of late, having swept aside both West Ham United and Manchester United in their last two Premier League games.
Burnley’s opening five fixtures included clashes against the last two league champions in Chelsea and Leicester City, and a team expected to be challenging for the title this season in Liverpool. A 2-0 win over the Reds in August has been supplemented by just the one point since, in a 1-1 draw with Hull City earlier this month, and the Clarets only lost out on the win on that occasion through Robert Snodgrass’ last-gasp equaliser.
But back on home soil after that sobering 3-0 loss at Leicester, Sean Dyche’s men will be desperate to bounce back with a win against Watford. By contrast, they have begun to turn their form around with two consecutive wins; a 4-2 win at West Ham’s London Stadium was followed up by an even more impressive 3-1 win against Manchester United last weekend.
The two sides last met in 2014, when Scott Arfield’s late goal kept the Clarets on track for promotion to the Premier League in Sean Dyche’s first full season in charge of the club.
Earlier that season, the contest ended in another draw – this time, a 0-0 stalemate – and draws have been a regular occurrence in previous meetings. Five out of the last six games between the two have ended level, and the other game ended in a 3-2 win for Watford – a victory masterminded by then-manager Dyche.
Interestingly, the winning side in this fixture has scored three goals on the last five occasions which has seen a victor, a run which stretches back to 2008. Goals, therefore, are to be expected – and there has been only one 0-0 draw in the history of this fixture.
The two previous occasions Burnley have played in the top-flight, their chances of survival have been blighted by profligacy in front of goal. This season resembles much the same, with just three goals scored so far. Monday’s opponents equalled that total in their previous game alone, but the Clarets also seem to have an eye for the speculative: all their goals this season have come from outside the penalty area.
Watford’s total of 10 league goals has been mainly contributed to by the unlikely Etienne Capoue, who has scored more goals this season than in his previous three combined. A tall, rangy midfielder, the Frenchman has been given the license to roam forward with more freedom and is, so far, the club’s leading scorer this term, ahead of the Hornets’ main strikers Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney.
But an area in which Burnley have a statistical advantage is at the other end of the pitch, however. Although Sean Dyche’s side only have one clean sheet, Watford have yet to register a shut-out themselves, and are behind their opponents in the amount of clearances, blocks and saves made, too.
The biggest change Burnley will make is an enforced one. Striker Andre Gray was punished by the FA for homophobic tweets dating back to 2012, and will serve the first of his four-game ban against Watford on Monday.
Patrick Bamford is the most likely to deputise, with Ashley Barnes still not 100% fit. Otherwise, the Clarets are at full strength and are likely to revert back to their preferred 4-4-2 formation after their 4-2-3-1 experiment at the King Power Stadium backfired.
Watford will still be without Stefano Okaka after the striker picked up a hamstring injury ahead of the Manchester United win, while right-back Daryl Janmaat has been ruled out for six weeks and fellow defenders Jose Holebas and Younes Kaboul are also doubtful.