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  • Burnley had just two days rest between their games against Man City and Watford.
  • Watford, in contrast, had a break of four days between their first fixtures back.
  • Watford won 3-1 on their last visit to Turf Moor.
  • Burnley won just two of their last six league games at home

Burnley’s comeback battering

Burnley had to wait longer than most to re-start their 2019/20 campaign, though the Clarets’ pride and their goal difference column both took a major hit in their first Premier League game back.

Sean Dyche’s men were torn asunder by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening, falling to a 5-0 defeat in what was their joint biggest loss of the campaign to date.

City’s dominance over Burnley was such, that the Clarets’ managed to muster just a single attempt on goal during the 90 minutes in Manchester, and that one effort, hit from distance by Dwight McNeil, failed to test Ederson between the sticks.

With their confidence at a low ebb following their comeback battering, and the energy sapping effect of playing twice in quick succession, Burnley look vulnerable again ahead of their latest assignment against Watford on Thursday.

Hornets sting Leicester late on

Watford navigated their first game back after a three-month hiatus in promising fashion after they snatched a last-gasp draw at home to high flying Leicester City at Vicarage Road.

When Foxes full-back Ben Chilwell scored on the stroke of full-time, Watford’s cause looked lost, though a sensational over head kick from unlikely hero Craig Dawson deep into added on time allowed the hosts to nab a point.

However, to use their excellent Leicester City result as a platform to launch a reignited survival bid, Watford will have to improve on their dismal away form that saw them win just twice in 15 attempts on the road since August.

Surprise away win on the cards?

A combination of circumstances could allow Watford to grab just their third away victory of the campaign at Burnley’s expense this week however.

The Clarets were given the runaround by a rampant Manchester City on Monday night, leaving them little time to recover confidence and replenish fitness ahead of their meeting with Watford.

In contrast, Watford have had a full two days extra rest more than their counterparts – something that could prove a pivotal factor with conditioning issues prevalent after the season’s three-month postponement.

With Ashley Barnes, Ben Gibson and Robbie Brady already confirmed as absent, and Chris Wood and Johann Gudmundsson both lacking sharpness, Burnley boss Sean Dyche has plenty of injury problems to contend with on top of any complications due to fatigue – and that could open the door for fresher Watford outfit to snatch a surprise win this week.

In the corresponding fixture last season, Watford left Turf Moor with the points after a 3-1 win, and with the landscape looking even more favourable this time around, we think the Hornets are priced generously to repeat the trick.

A Watford clean sheet feels incredibly unlikely however, and we don’t expect them to add to the two shutouts they secured in 15 away matches since August. With that considered, we think a correct score prediction of 2-1 to the Hornets represents a likely finish.

Key Battle – James Tarkowski vs Troy Deeney

In a battle between two physically imposing powerhouses, Burnley defender James Tarkowski’s one-on-one duel with Watford forward Troy Deeney has the potential to be a mouth-watering skirmish.

Deeney contested a whopping 14 aerial duels against Leicester last week – which was more than all of his other Hornets’ teammates combined, though Tarkowski has the strength to match his opponent header for header on Thursday.

Burnley vs Watford team news

Ashley Barnes, Ben Gibson and Robbie Brady are all absent for Burnley, while Chris Wood and Johann Gudmundsson will be assessed closer to kick off.

Jeff Hendrick and Phil Bardsley have yet to agree terms on contract extensions and are unlikely to feature.

Burnley predicted line-up: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Brownhill, Westwood, Cork, McNeil

Gerard Deulofeu, Darly Janmaat and Isaac Success remain sidelined for Watford, while Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck and Jose Holebas area all pushing for places in the starting XI having come off the bench against Leicester.

Watford predicted line-up: Foster, Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina, Capoue, Hughes, Doucoure, Pereyra, Sarr, Deeney


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