First Team 23/11/2019

Match Report: Watford 0-3 Burnley

By Kevin Affleck

Troy Deeney has performed a few acts of escapology in these parts and there might still be another chapter in his extraordinary career at this club to be penned if he has anything to do with it, but turning around this excruciating one at Vicarage Road proved even behind his herculean powers.

The Hornets fell behind on 53 minutes to Chris Wood's sixth goal in six matches and Quique Sánchez Flores immediately sent for the darling of Vicarage Road in a bid to try and turn this one on its head. It was his first competition action since August so it was always asking a hell of a lot of him against a well-drilled and streetwise Burnley team. You need a fully fit Deeney firing on all cylinders against this lot. 

You wondered if it was written in the stars that he might ram in a penalty to drag the Hornets level, but it's a sign of the way things have gone at home this season that the spot-kick everybody was craving went the way of Burnley and Ashley Barnes scored it, despite the best efforts of Ben Foster, to ruin Deeney's comeback. It just rubbed salt into the wounds that it was awarded after a VAR check, especially after the one at Tottenham wasn't award. This was not the return he or anyone had in mind and it got worse, much worse, when James Tarkowski slammed in the third. 

Things started okay and there was no sign a 3-0 home defeat on the cards for much of the match, particularly during the middle third when the Hornets were easily the more progressive of the two sides. But Burnley did a job on them, executing their plan to perfection. It was classic Sean Dyche stuff, all three goals coming via set-pieces, and they ran out winners with plenty to spare by the end. They soaked up the pressure, preyed on the Hornets' vulnerability and pounced with all the precision of a surgeon at the other end.

They set the tone for their highly-effective spoiling tactics when they come here by turning the Hornets round having won the toss. Unfamiliarly kicking towards the Rookery End in the first half, it took the home side a while to get going and there were extremely slim pickings in the first half. It was horribly stop-start stuff, punctuated by a series of fouls, offsides and generally seeking to find an edge by any means possible. It was a bit of a tough watch.

The biggest cheer was reserved for the sight of Deeney warming up in what was his first home league outing since the opening day of the season and then a remarkable piece of control from Adrian Mariappa who controlled one that dropped out of the sky with the sort of velvet touch Roberto Pereyra would be proud of. 

The first 45 minutes was something of a slow burner and it needed someone of Gerard Deulofeu's rare ability to help elevate things above a general level of mediocrity. He was at the hub over everything the Hornets did well.

He had a shot saved by the excellent Nick Pope on 18 minutes; was involved in the move of the first half involving Will Hughes and Abdoulaye Doucouré that led to Hughes getting to within shooting range of Pope; weaved some magic down the left in a piece of play that resulted in Craig Cathcart having a shot blocked from close range by Ben Mee and then saw a free-kicked saved low down by Pope. He was the obvious threat and Burnley knew to the extent that Tarkowski took a yellow card for the most cynical of challenges. It was the one decision the Burnley bench didn't argue with. 

The Hornets had eight shots to Burnley's one by the 50th minute and that told you all you needed to know about who was making most of the running. You just felt that Burnley could always pinch one, most likely from a set-piece, and so it proved. Burnley fired a warning shot when Mariappa brilliantly headed one over from under his own bar with Ben Mee ready and waiting to nod one in and that warning was not heeded as from the following corner, Wood hooked one in. It was a goal that sucked the life out of the stadium.

Sánchez Flores knew he needed to generate some momentum, to get the crowd going and no-one does that better than Deeney so he was summoned three minutes after Burnley scored. He barely got a kick, though, and neither did Ismaïla Sarr after he came on ten minutes later. Burnley's defensive unit were a tough nut to crack.

The Clarets closed ranks, retreated and were content to soak up whatever the Hornets threw at them. They backed themselves to close the game out and perhaps, if they were lucky, add one or two more on the counter. They did just that scoring twice in the space of eight minutes through Barnes and Tarkowski, leaving the Hornets with a mountain to climb. Deeney likes a challenge, in fact he loves one, and this is likely to be the biggest of his career to lead the team out of trouble.


HORNETS: Foster; Femenía, Mariappa, Dawson (Masina HT), Cathcart, Holebas; Doucouré, Capoue, Hughes (Sarr 66); Deulofeu, Gray (Deeney 56).

Subs not used: Gomes (GK), Chalobah, Dele-Bashiru and Foulquier.

First Team 22/11/2019

Match Pack: Watford v Burnley

As the Hornets prepare to face Burnley at Vicarage Road in the Premier League, here is all you need to know about the fixture...


INFO

  • Watford v Burnley
  • Premier League
  • Vicarage Road
  • Saturday November 23, 3.00pm GMT

HOW TO FOLLOW

  • Audio commentary of the match will be available at watfordfc.com.
  • Find live coverage and behind-the-scenes content on our social channels!

OFFICIALS

Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Daniel Cook, Harry Lennard
Fourth official: Jarred Gillett
VAR: Peter Bankes
Assistant VAR: Marc Perry


TEAM NEWS

The Hornets have Troy Deeney and Ismaïla Sarr available for this weekend’s match according to Quique Sánches Flores. But Domingos Quina (groin), Tom Cleverley (heel), Daniel Bachmann (hamstring), Danny Welbeck (hamstring), Sebastian Prödl (knee) and Roberto Pereyra (hamstring) are all out, and Christian Kabasele is suspended. 

Chris Wood will be available for the Clarets despite returning early from international duty. Matej Vydra (hip) is ruled out on his return to Vicarage Road, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hamstring) and Danny Drinkwater are also unavailable.


OPPOSITION FORM

Burnley sit 10th in the Premier League, having accumulated 15 points from their opening 12 games. They go into the match off the back of a 3-0 home victory over West Ham which will serve as some encouragement after a recent dip in form. The Clarets had previously suffered three defeats in a row, conceding nine in the process, after their initial bright start to the season. Having made minimal changes to the squad in the summer, Sean Dyche’s side has benefited from the development of England Under-21 international Dwight McNeil. The winger has four Premier League assists to his name so far this season and won the Man of the Match award in his previous outing.


HEAD TO HEAD

Overall:

Won 13, Drawn 10, Lost 19

Last Six:

Jan 2019: Watford 0-0 Burnley (Premier League)
Aug 2018: Burnley 1-3 Watford (Gray, Deeney, Hughes) (Premier League)
Apr 2018: Watford 1-2 Burnley (Pereyra) (Premier League)
Dec 2017: Burnley 1-0 Watford (Premier League)
Feb 2017: Watford 2-1 Burnley (Deeney, Niang) (Premier League)
Sep 2016: Burnley 2-0 Watford (Premier League)


GOLDEN FLASHBACK

March 3, 2012— Watford 3-2 Burnley: Nyron Nosworthy, Alex Kacaniklic and Troy Deeney each scored to complete a fightback for Watford against a promotion-chasing Burney in an eventful game at Vicarage Road in 2012. Jay Rodriguez had opened the scoring for the Clarets before a Nosworthy own goal doubled the away side’s lead. But the centre-half made amends for his error only four minutes later with a header to pull a goal back. Kacaniklic was brought on as a substitute and equalised for the Hornets in the 72nd minute. Deeney then converted from close range to make the game 3-2 only three minutes later and earn a victory. Sean Dyche, the Hornets' manager at the time, praised his team’s “never say never” attitude after the match.


PLAYED FOR BOTH

Chris Eagles

Eagles came through Watford’s youth ranks before moving to Manchester United in 2000. Five years later he returned to the Hornets on loan for the second part of the 2004/05 season where he made 13 league appearances, scoring one goal. He returned to Manchester in the summer with a glowing review from manager Ray Lewington but then found himself back at Vicarage Road for his third spell with Watford in January 2006 on loan during the Hornets' push for promotion. He scored on his first appearance in a victory against Stoke and also won Goal of the Season for his effort from the halfway line at Brighton. Eagles joined Burnley in 2008 where he went on to make over 120 appearances for the Clarets, scoring 21 goals.

Marvin Sordell

Sordell came through Watford’s youth system and made his debut against Sheffield United at the start of the 2009/10 season. He went on to make 75 appearances for the club, scoring 21 goals, and broke into the England Under-21s side during his time at Vicarage Road. His form earned him a move to Premier League Bolton Wanderers but, after the Trotters were relegated, Sordell eventually joined Burnley in the summer of 2014 to re-join his former Watford manager Sean Dyche at Turf Moor. He played a season for the Clarets before leaving for Colchester at the end of the season. The striker announced an early retirement in 2019 and said he would be a regular visitor to Vicarage Road.

Micah Hyde

Here, there and everywhere, Hyde was ever-present in midfield for the Hornets for seven years, making 252 appearances and netting 27 times. He won two consecutive promotions and was part of the club’s first Premier League team in 1999/2000. Hyde joined Burnley in 2004, where he scored on his debut against Sheffield United. He is also well thought of among Clarets fans after a goal scored in the FA Cup against Blackburn.


WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?

Quique Sánchez Flores:

“We are training to work hard with the days we have. Now we want to recuperate all the players, keep up the morale, the attitude, the confidence and try to build on Norwich. We need to transmit to the fans we are ready to fight.

“When you are training hard and not getting results you can feel down in confidence and under pressure. This is not good in football. All I want is the players to feel enough, they feel strong and have power to get good results.”

Sean Dyche:

“I think everyone is a little bit surprised by their [Watford’s] start, they are still a good side and sometimes these things can happen in the Premier League.

“They've got that first win but that doesn't guarantee the next one and we go there in good shape. We came out of a tough run of results last time out with a big win and our performances have been pretty strong.”


TRAVEL INFORMATION 

Industrial action by the RMT Union is planned on Saturdays in November and December 2019. Therefore supporters are advised to plan their travel in advance as trains will be very busy and a reduced service will be in operation on most routes.

Keep up-to-date with developments from @WestMidRailway and @LNRailway