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19 August 2018 Venue Turf Moor Attendance

Kick off 13:30 (UK)

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PREVIEW: Burnley v Watford

Clarets open home Premier League campaign with visit

19 August 2018

No-one has played more in the Premier League so far this season than the Clarets.

Apart from the Community Shield finalists – Manchester City and Chelsea – everyone else has played only their opening league fixture a week ago.

The Clarets, on the other hand, are already five games in due to their run in the Europa League.

Thursday night’s 1-0 win over Istanbul Basaksehir – which has set up a two-legged play-off against Olympiakos – is followed by the opening home league game against Watford – making it six games in the space of 25 days.

Boss Sean Dyche dipped into his squad strength to overcome the Turkish opposition – making five changes from the first leg and six from last Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Southampton in the Premier League.

For a second successive round, Burnley needed extra-time to progress.

But whichever side Dyche sends out to face Watford on Sunday (KO 1.30pm), he has no concerns about fatigue or lack of recovery time.

“We are always high on the fitness side. You could see the players on Thursday night,” said the Burnley boss.

“The mental motivation is already there and has been for a long time, and the group demand is there.

“They’re all the things that count. The rest of it outside the camp is all noise.

“It’s about your own team’s focus to drive forward, no matter what’s put in front of you. And I think we’re good at that.

“I will be going into Sunday believing these players will go again.

“They will run hard, play hard and do what they need to do to a win a game.

“The fitness here is unbelievable. The players’ mental and physical fitness is absolutely fantastic, so they will be ready for Sunday.”

Watford started their season with an impressive 2-0 home win over Brighton thanks to two goals from attacking midfielder Roberto Pereyra (above).

The Argentina international has scored five of the last seven league goals Watford have scored but the visitors’ attack is likely to be led by Troy Deeney and Andre Gray – both of have previously played under Dyche at Vicarage Road and Turf Moor.

“They are two very good players, players I know well, and they had a very good afternoon,” added the former Watford boss

“They are another side, like ourselves and a few others, that are looking to develop season-on-season and try affect games in a different manner each season to make sure they secure what they want to.”

Team news

Burnley boss Sean Dyche is likely to make changes following Thursday night’s Europa League win over Istanbul Basaksehir and with a trip to Greece to come next week.

New signing Matej Vydra is unlikely to figure against his former club with another Development Squad outing pencilled in for next week.

Robbie Brady is close to a return to training but Steven Defour remains out of contention.

Watford will be without midfielders Tom Cleverely and Nathaniel Chalobah, forward Stefano Okaka and summer signing Gerad Deulofeu through injury.

The Hornets made seven new signings over the summer but started with just one against Everton – goalkeeper Ben Foster.

What they’re saying

Watford manager Javi Garcia: “They have a very good squad and I’m sure they won’t have any problem playing three games this week.

"On Thursday I think they changed the team so I’m sure they will play at the same level as in other games.

“If you ask me whether I prefer to play three games or two in this period, I’d prefer to play two. But I’m sure they will keep this level and it’ll be a very tough game for us.”

Match stats

Burnley have won three of their last four matches against Watford and completed a league double last season.

Watford have won just once in eight games against Burnley, a 2-0 home win in February 2017.

The Hornets have not won at Turf Moor since a 3-2 Championship victory in April, 2004.

Watford have lost 11 and drawn one of their last 12 away games in the Premier League and have not scored in their last eight away league games.

Their last goal away from home in the league was an Andre Gray effort at Manchester City in January.


Paul Tierney


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Match Reports

Burnley 1 Watford 3

James Tarkowski's first Burnley goal in vain as Watford end away-day blues

19 August 2018

James Tarkowski’s first goal for the Clarets was not enough to prevent a losing start to the Premier League campaign at Turf Moor as Watford ended their away-day drought.

Watford had lost 11 of their last 12 away games in the league and not tasted joy on the road since November.

But they made the most of their fresh start to make it back-to-back wins to kick off the campaign as the Clarets were undone by goals at the start of each half.

Tarkowski cancelled out the first strike from ex-Claret Andre Gray.

But two goals inside four minutes just after the break from Troy Deeney and Will Hughes proved too great an obstacle to overcome as Sean Dyche’s men conceded three goals at home for the first time since December and only the second time since being promoted back to the top flight in 2016.

The Clarets’ impressive first-half performance – coming just three days after they had booked their place in the play-off round of the Europa League – hadn’t hinted at what was to come.

But the visitors seized their opportunities in impressive style to leave the Clarets hoping to mirror the response they showed to losing their first home game to West Bromwich Albion 12 months ago.

Watford hadn’t scored an away goal in the Premier League since January but took just three minutes of their first trip of the new season to end the wait.

Gray had been the man who had last found the net on the Hornets’ travels and it was the former Burnley man who was on target again.

He had already had one sighter of goal – Stephen Ward making an excellent block – before rewarding the visitors for their lively start with a top-class strike.

Gray’s one-two with Deeney allowed Deeney to deliver a driven cross which his strike partner met at the near post with a first-time volleyed finished which he steered inside Joe Hart’s left-hand post.

Crucially, though, it took the Clarets less than five minutes to level thanks to an impressive response.

Tarkowski had played with Gray at both Burnley and Brentford and matched what his former team-mate could do by climbing highest to powerfully nod in a Johann Berg Gudmundsson corner.

Burnley then swarmed all over the Hornets for a spell, moving the ball well and penetrating down both flanks in a highly watchable game.

Gudmundsson forced Ben Foster into a flying save to keep out his goal-bound free-kick and Jack Cork – continuing his flourishing midfield partnership with Ashley Westwood –a shot blocked as the Clarets pressed for a second goal.

Watford weren’t here just to make up the numbers, though, and threatened themselves on the break.

Deeney forced Hart into a smart save from a long-range skidding effort.

But it was the Clarets who almost went into the break in front as Watford’s goal led a charmed life following another incisive passage of play.

Foster pushed away an effort from Jeff Hendrick after he had been slipped in by Ward and then after Jose Holebas had just got to the loose ball first ahead of Aaron Lennon – whose combination with Matt Lowton had been a feature of the half – Westwood followed up with a piledriver he struck just over the top.

Dyche had gone back to the side that started last Sunday’s opener at Southampton as the Clarets played their sixth game in 25 days in tandem with their Europa League exploits.

There was no sign of fatigue, but the Clarets were still caught cold at the start of the second half as two goals in six minutes put Watford in control.

Deeney got the first, poking the ball past Hart after being superbly picked out by Abdoulaye Doucoure after his initial shot had been blocked.

And Hughes, booked in the first half for a high and late challenge on Ward which Burnley boss Dyche felt merited a red card, then made it 3-1 with a cracking strike into the top corner from almost 25 yards after Lowton’s mis-placed pass had given the Watford midfielder a run at goal.

With a two-goal cushion the Hornets were able to try and take the sting out of the game and let the Clarets chase the ball.

But with Dyche trying to find a way back into the contest he sent on Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes.

And with his first touch Vokes almost repeated the instant impact he made at Vicarage Road in April when he came off the bench to spark a successful comeback and one of the wins that helped secure the European place.

This time, though, his downward header from a Gudmundsson free-kick skidded inches past the post.

And with the Clarets unable to force another opening – Ben Mee hooking a volley over the bar in inuury-time from the best of them – that might have put late doubt in Watford’s mind, there was to be no successful fightback this time.

Burnley: Hart, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward (Taylor 74), Lennon, Westwood, Cork, Gudmundsson, Hendrick (Vokes 70), Wood (Barnes 65). Substitutes: Heaton, Gibson Bardsley, Long.

Booked: None

Watford: Foster, Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas, Hughes (Femenia 83), Doucoure, Capoue, Pereyra, Deeney (Success 88), Gray (Sema 68). Substitutes: Gomes, Prodl, Mariappa, Masina.

Booked: Hughes, Janmaat

Attendance: 18,882

Referee: Paul Tierney

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