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1516 burnley turf moor 04It’s taken until the sixth game of the season and all of the other 19 Premier League clubs have been featured at least once, but Burnley will tonight be shown to the nation live as we face Watford at home, the first of three consecutive fixtures to get live coverage. It’s not the first time a game between these two clubs has been shown live on television but we’ll not bother to mention the other occasion in 2003. It is though the first time the two clubs will have ever met in the top flight of English football.

The new lights, although not being switched on for the first time, will be required as we bring an end to game week six with this Monday night game.

It’s nine days since we were beaten 3-0 at Leicester. We’ve had time to reflect although much of the talk has been about former Sunderland and West Brom player Stéphane Sessègnon and, since Friday, Andre Gray who will start the four match ban tonight that he received from the FA over his comments on Twitter.

That it is Watford has, of course, brought the link with Sean Dyche but he’s dismissed it all and says it is just another game. Things have certainly changed at Vicarage Road since Sean was in charge during the 2011/12 season. He left in the summer of 2012, removed by the new owners who wanted to bring in Gianfranco Zola. The Italian was in charge for a season and a half but he’s one of seven managers they’ve employed since Dyche left with Zola the only one to keep his job for over a year.

At Leicester, Dyche used a different formation which saw Sam Vokes drop to the bench and Steven Defour play a more advanced role in a 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 formation. Until the goals either side of half time it looked to be working and I wondered whether he would continue with it or revert to the 4-4-2 and then that posed the question as to who would drop out for Vokes.

That’s changed with the Gray suspension. With Ashley Barnes not close to fitness and a good number of strikers out on loan, it leaves just Vokes and loan striker Patrick Bamford available should he wish to return to his favoured 4-4-2.

If he does bring in Bamford and play 4-4-2, it will be a tough call. Jeff Hendrick came in and Dyche was very positive about his performance which suggests he will remain in the side and I think the most vulnerable are Dean Marney, who signed a new deal last week, and Scott Arfield.

There’s also been questions asked about Matt Lowton. He could come under pressure from Jon Flanagan who is getting closer fitness wise and is, according to the manager, in contention.

Then there is Johann Berg Gudmundsson who has, to date, started just one league game for us, the 1-1 draw against Hull.

“It’s going to be difficult as is every game in the league. They are obviously going to have a lot of confidence after beating Man United last game. They play a different system with 3-5-2 and not a lot of teams play that system. We have to adjust to that but I think our home form has been quite good and it is going to be tough for them to come to our place.”

He too could come into the reckoning and we could line up: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Jeff Hendrick, Steven Defour, George Boyd, Sam Vokes, Patrick Bamford. Subs from: Paul Robinson, Jon Flanagan, Tendayi Darikwa, James Tarkowski, Dean Marney, Aiden O’Neill, Scott Arfield, Michael Kightly.

Watford won promotion in 2015 just as we were coming down. They had a good season last time round under Quique Sanchez Flores but he lost his job in the summer and was replaced by Walter Mazzari who will be the fourth Italian manager to come up against Burnley this season.

Things are on the up for him and his team too after a difficult start that yielded just one point from the first three games. That point was in the first game of the season at Southampton but they followed that up with home defeats at the hands of Chelsea and Arsenal.

Things looked to be going from bad to worse in game number four when they fell 2-0 behind to West Ham at the London Stadium but things quickly changed and four goals in 22 minutes saw them run out 4-2 winners and they’ve since followed that up with a 3-1 home win against Manchester United.

Those wins took them up to ninth in the table. They’ve dropped two places over the weekend but they know a win will move them up three places and a two goal win would see them up to seventh.

In the five games they’ve scored ten goals and it is probably a surprise that neither Troy Deeney nor Odion Ighalo is leading the way. They have two goals and one goal respectively but midfielder Etienne Capoue leads the way with four.

Watford will be without Dutch full-back Daryl Janmaat, a recent signing from Newcastle. He suffered a shoulder injury in their win against Manchester United and has been ruled out for six weeks. Fellow defenders Jose Holebas and Younes Kaboul are also doubtful,

Last time out, against United, their team was: Heurelho Gomes, Craig Cathcart, Sebstien Prödl, Miguel Britos, Daryl Janmaat, Roberto Pereyra, Valon Behrami, Etienne Capoue, Jose Holebas, Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo. Subs not used: Costel Pantilimon, Kenedy, Ben Watson, Adlene Guedioura, Nordin Amrabat, Juan Zúñiga, Isaac Success.




We’ve played Watford four times since Sean Dyche became our manager and he’s not been on either the winning or losing side with two 1-1 draws, a 0-0 and a 3-3 result at Vicarage Road in 2012/13 when Charlie Austin scored his last Burnley games.

Watford couldn’t have chosen a better time to play Burnley in 2013/14. In what was a superb season for us, they arrived at Turf Moor with us on a run of five games without a win. That had started with the League Cup exit and followed by draws against Millwall, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest with a defeat, only our second league defeat of the season, at Huddersfield three days earlier.

Michael Duff, Dean Marney and Danny Ings were all out of the side and with Michael Kightly not fully fit, it was a changed Burnley team with Kevin Long, Junior Stanislas, Brian Stock and Keith Treacy all starting. The bench included Cameron Dummigan, Steven Hewitt and Cameron Howieson.

It was also a night when the home crowd didn’t do themselves any favours. Stanislas was targeted almost from the off and Hewitt, a day before his 20th birthday, was also subjected to it after coming on as a substitute; Dyche was very critical afterwards at the treatment of a young player.

We were largely uninspiring on the night but we were the better side. In the first half both Scott Arfield and Treacy were unlucky not to score but it always looked as though it was going to be a 0-0 game and that’s exactly how it ended to leave us in third place in the table.

The teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Kevin Long, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, Junior Stanislas (Steven Hewitt 80), Brian Stock, David Jones, Keith Treacy (Michael Kightly 69), Scott Arfield, Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Alex Cisak, Cameron Dummigan, Danny Lafferty, David Edgar, Cameron Howieson.

Watford: Jonathan Bond, Davide Faraoni, Joel Ekstrand, Nyron Nosworthy, Marco Cassetti (Daniel Pudil 80), George Thorne, Sean Murray (Diego Fabbrini 75), Cristian Battocchio, Lewis McGugan, Hector Bellerin, Troy Deeney. Subs not used:  Gary Woods, Fernando Forestieri, Javier Acuna, Fitz Hall, Iriney.

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