Watford vs Burnley predictions: Relegated pair aim to make Championship point

Dan Sait
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Rob Edwards' Watford side face a tough test against Burnley
Rob Edwards' Watford side face a tough test against Burnley

Ismaila Sarr's stunning strike from his own half in Monday's draw at West Brom grabbed the headlines but it was an otherwise underwhelming Watford performance.

In truth, Sarr's fantastic goal disguised the fact the Hornets were lucky to take a point, despite also missing a penalty. 

Plenty of visitors will struggle at The Hawthorns but Rob Edwards' team were pinned back to a degree that the Baggies' equaliser felt inevitable and the only surprise was that the hosts did not then go on and secure all three points. 

Edwards will know then that his side must improve if they are to beat fellow relegated club Burnley next, who have an excellent recent record against Watford and have made a decent start to life in the second tier under Vincent Kompany. 

Team news

Watford midfielder Imran Louza remains absent following summer knee surgery and is expected to return to training in late August. 

Nigerian forward Samuel Kalu is also scheduled to return to training at the end of the month as he recovers from a hamstring issue, but midfielder Tom Dele-Bashiru is out for up to three months with a knee ligament injury. 

Francisco Sierralta has been passed fit after picking up a knock and Hamza Choudhury has joined on loan from Leicester, so he could feature on Friday night. 

Burnley boss Kompany is in the process of a major rebuilding job after losing 13 senior players over the summer. 

Key men Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Maxwel Cornet, Dwight McNeil and Nathan Collins are among those to have left the club following relegation. 

Kevin Long and Ashley Westwood are long-term absentees, Johann Berg Gudmundsson is also set to miss out against Watford and Jay Rodriguez is rated 50/50 at best to return. 

The stats

Watford's opening-weekend 1-0 victory over Sheffield United was their first win in 14 competitive home games. 

That dreadful run reflects a torrid top-flight campaign in which the Hornets had comfortably the worst home record in the Premier League, as they claimed just one point from the last 39 available at Vicarage Road. 

However, Watford are a different proposition in the second tier, with the victory over Sheffield United making it 10 consecutive Championship home wins – a run in which they have kept nine clean sheets. 

Burnley will not be overly concerned about that record, however, as the Clarets have racked up impressive results on their recent trips to Hertfordshire, winning three and losing none of their last four visits. 

Last season, the Clarets took four points from their meetings with Watford in the Premier League, but both clubs now have new managers and vastly different squads.

Of the 25 players who featured when Burnley visited Vicarage Road in April, only five turned out for Watford and five for Burnley in their latest respective league outings. 

Prediction

Both teams have made solid starts in the Championship, taking four points apiece against opponents who either finished in the top six last season or are expected to do so this term. 

Neither set of supporters should get ahead of themselves just yet, though. 

Vincent Kompany has been tasked with trying to steer Burnley straight back up to the Premier League this season
Vincent Kompany has been tasked with trying to steer Burnley straight back up to the Premier League this season

Burnley's opponents, Huddersfield and Luton, are highly unlikely to trouble the play-offs again this term, while Watford were fortunate to take four points from two games that could easily have gone against them. 

However, the Hornets' opposition have undoubtedly been far tougher and while West Brom and Sheffield United will both feel they deserved more, Edwards has an attacking trio that is devastating at this level in the shape of Sarr, Emmanuel Dennis and Joao Pedro. 

Concerns over their futures can be put on hold for now as, whether they have been playing for the badge or to impress potential suitors, all three have started the season in scintillating form. 

With Kompany attempting to build a ball-playing unit at Turf Moor, moving away from predecessor Sean Dyche's more direct style, the visiting Clarets are likely to boss possession. 

But Watford have the attacking quality to capitalise on any weaknesses among a new-look Burnley defence.

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