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Burnley 1-3 Watford: Andre Gray scores on Burnley return as Watford end away goal drought

Andre Gray celebrates his goal
Andre Gray moved from Burnley to Watford for £18.5m in August 2017.

Andre Gray struck on his return to Burnley as Watford scored an away goal for the first time since January to continue their winning start to the Premier League season.

Gray, who left Turf Moor to join the Hornets in August 2017, produced a brilliant volley from Troy Deeney's cross in the first three minutes - their first goal on their travels since Javi Gracia was appointed head coach.

Burnley, who beat Istanbul Basaksehir in their Europa League third qualifying round tie on Thursday, equalised just three minutes later as James Tarkowski headed his first goal for the club.

But Watford scored twice in the opening six minutes of the second half to secure victory - captain Deeney hitting his first goal since March by latching on to Abdoulaye Doucoure's perfectly weighted pass and Will Hughes firing home the third when he collected Burnley defender Matt Lowton's loose pass and drove home from outside the area.

With 20 minutes remaining, Sam Vokes almost scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute for Burnley, heading narrowly wide as Ben Foster scrambled to his bottom corner.

However visitors Watford, who defeated Brighton 2-0 last weekend, finished the superior side as their opponents - playing their sixth competitive match in 25 days - failed to find a route back into the match.

Watford set about amending shocking away record

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Gracia eager to 'enjoy moment' after rare away win

Watford's comfortable victory over Brighton temporarily silenced questions over how they might cope after losing Richarlison to Everton for £50m in July.

Gracia's men have endured startling struggles away from home recently, failing to record a win in 12 top-flight trips before today, losing 11 of those and failing to score in their past eight on the road.

But Deeney remained adamant following victory last week that suggestions his team were set to "fall apart" following their summer business were unfair.

And fielding a line-up unchanged from the Brighton game, Watford set about amending their away statistics on Sunday.

It was Argentine Roberto Pereyra who stepped up to fill the Brazilian's boots with two goals for the Hornets last time out, but it was Gray who supplied the early heroics against his former side, demonstrating his clinical ability in front of goal with a brilliant volley beyond Joe Hart.

Deeney proved a constant nuisance for the Burnley backline and his perseverance ultimately culminated in his long-awaited return to the scoresheet.

The Hornets showed a real togetherness, characterised by Gray and Deeney's effective link-up play, that will see them prove difficult opposition in the league this term, and Hughes' excellent strike capped off a pleasing performance for Gracia.

Burnley's European balancing act

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Burnley gave game away - Dyche

Burnley manager Sean Dyche reverted to the 11 that started last Sunday's 0-0 Premier League opener at Southampton, having made seven changes for Thursday's Europa League match.

The obvious issue for Dyche at the beginning of the campaign was how to balance a relatively thin squad, ensuring their European exploits - however long they continue - detract as little as possible from their Premier League efforts after achieving seventh spot last term.

However, they were caught out by Watford's blistering start in both halves and, though Dyche will have been pleased by Burnley's ability to respond immediately to the opening goal, their start to the second half will have been hugely frustrating.

Only three players who completed the whole 120 minutes in midweek - Hart, Jeff Hendrick and Stephen Ward - started again on Sunday, but Watford looked the sharper side and dominated the second half as Burnley began to run out of ideas.

It means Dyche's team have not won any of their past seven Premier League matches, losing four - a run stretching back to April.

They do have faces yet to feature, including summer addition Matej Vydra who is not yet match fit - and will need them, given that there is no let-up in the immediate fixture list. The task of defeating Olympiakos over two legs in the Europa League play-off starts with a trip to Greece on Thursday.

Man of the match - Troy Deeney (Watford)

Troy Deeney
Captain Troy Deeney worked tirelessly for his team, assisting Andre Gray's opener before scoring his first Watford goal since March.

'We gave the game away' - what they said

Watford manager Javi Gracia: "Today we scored three and we have done better than last season. But I don't like to look back at the statistics of last season; I prefer to enjoy the moment. We did a good job and I'm very happy for the players.

"It is important the amount of goals but the quality as well. Today the strikers Troy Deeney and Andre Gray scored which is very important for them and the team. Will Hughes scored an outstanding goal. I am happy for all of them.

"All the players are working a lot. Troy for example has a brilliant attitude in every training session and we will try to keep that in the next games."

Burnley manager Sean Dyche: "We gave the game away. In the very beginning we were not very sharp - their first shot on target goes in. We responded very well, had a good first half and a number of chances we should have made more of.

"The players had a warning to start the second half right and we didn't. The only gripe is that you can understand if we didn't start well but the players had that warning before the second half."

Hornets' flying start - the stats

  • Watford have won their opening two matches in a top-flight league season for only the second time. On the previous occasion (1982-83), they finished second, behind Liverpool.
  • Gray's opening goal ended a run of 730 minutes without a Premier League away goal for Watford. Indeed, Gray was the last Hornets' player to score on the road in the competition before today; at Manchester City on 2 January.
  • Watford's opening goal, coming after two minutes 40 seconds, was their quickest in a Premier League away match.
  • Hughes has ended on the winning side in each of the past 13 competitive games he has scored in.
  • Since regaining promotion to the Premier League in 2016, this is only the second time that Burnley have conceded three or more goals in a home match (having lost 0-3 at home to Tottenham Hotspur in December 2017).
  • Tarkowski's goal was his first for Burnley in all competitions, in what was his 67th appearance for the club.

What's next?

Burnley travel to Greece for the first leg of their Europa League qualifier against Olympiakos on Thursday (19:00 BST) before a trip to Fulham next Sunday (16:00 BST). Watford host Crystal Palace earlier that day (13:30 BST).

Line-ups

Burnley

  • 20Hart
  • 2Lowton
  • 5Tarkowski
  • 6Mee
  • 23WardBooked at 53minsSubstituted forTaylorat 74'minutes
  • 25Lennon
  • 4Cork
  • 18Westwood
  • 7Berg Gudmundsson
  • 13HendrickSubstituted forVokesat 70'minutes
  • 11WoodSubstituted forBarnesat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Heaton
  • 3Taylor
  • 9Vokes
  • 10Barnes
  • 14Gibson
  • 26Bardsley
  • 28Long

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 2JanmaatBooked at 90mins
  • 15Cathcart
  • 27Kabasele
  • 25Holebas
  • 16Doucouré
  • 29Capoue
  • 19HughesBooked at 41minsSubstituted forFemeníaat 83'minutes
  • 37Pereyra
  • 9DeeneySubstituted forSuccessat 89'minutes
  • 18GraySubstituted forSemaat 68'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 5Prödl
  • 6Mariappa
  • 10Success
  • 11Masina
  • 12Sema
  • 21Femenía
Referee:
Paul Tierney
Attendance:
18,822

Match Stats

Home TeamBurnleyAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home8
Away9
Shots on Target
Home3
Away6
Corners
Home5
Away2
Fouls
Home8
Away19

Live Text

Match ends, Burnley 1, Watford 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Burnley 1, Watford 3.

Foul by Ben Mee (Burnley).

Ken Sema (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Daryl Janmaat (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Charlie Taylor (Burnley) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Daryl Janmaat (Watford).

Offside, Watford. Ben Foster tries a through ball, but Isaac Success is caught offside.

Offside, Burnley. Charlie Taylor tries a through ball, but Ashley Barnes is caught offside.

Ashley Barnes (Burnley) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

Attempt missed. Ben Mee (Burnley) left footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Sam Vokes following a set piece situation.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

James Tarkowski (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Isaac Success (Watford).

Foul by James Tarkowski (Burnley).

Isaac Success (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Isaac Success replaces Troy Deeney.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by James Tarkowski.

Attempt saved. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Ken Sema (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Roberto Pereyra.

James Tarkowski (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ken Sema (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Kiko Femenía replaces Will Hughes.

Foul by Ashley Barnes (Burnley).

Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Matthew Lowton (Burnley).

Ken Sema (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

James Tarkowski (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

Foul by Ashley Barnes (Burnley).

José Holebas (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Burnley. Charlie Taylor replaces Stephen Ward.

Attempt blocked. Sam Vokes (Burnley) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Johann Berg Gudmundsson with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Burnley. Sam Vokes replaces Jeff Hendrick.

Ashley Barnes (Burnley) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Christian Kabasele (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Ken Sema replaces Andre Gray.

Substitution

Substitution, Burnley. Ashley Barnes replaces Chris Wood.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City22008176
2Chelsea22006246
3Watford22005146
4Tottenham22005236
5Bournemouth22004136
6Everton21104314
7Liverpool11004043
8Crystal Palace11002023
9Leicester21013213
10Man Utd21014403
11Brighton210134-13
12Newcastle201112-11
13Southampton201112-11
14Wolves201124-21
15Burnley201113-21
16Cardiff201102-21
17Arsenal200225-30
18Fulham200215-40
19West Ham200216-50
20Huddersfield200219-80
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