By 90Min
December 08, 2017

When Watford travel to play Burnley on Saturday this matchup will be far removed from any relegation talk that it had a season prior. 

The fortunes have steadily changed for both clubs this campaign. As surprising as it sounds, this fixture now greatly affects either club's search for European qualification.

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The hype around Sean Dyche's name continues to grow larger with each passing week. Dyche is now in contention for November’s Barclays Premier League Manager of the Month award. 


His Burnley side keep performing, causing suitors of Dyche to rework their pitches, as they try to lure him away from Turf Moor. 


Despite losing 1-0 away to Leicester City, Burnley still find themselves brushing shoulders with the bigger clubs of the top half of the table. 

They currently occupy seventh in the table, with only a lesser goal difference parting them from sixth.

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Burnley have won four of their last six games, only losing two of those games by 1-0 scorelines. Their resilience, and solidarity are the pillars that have uplifted their 

Burnley's visitors at Turf Moor have also shared the same superlatives as their host. Marco Silva's Watford are also a surprise outfit enjoying the greener pastures of the top-half of the table. 

Silva himself has also been courted for his managerial services, but just like Dyche he has cast aside any potential advances, focused only on making Watford a great side.

Watford's form hasn't been the greatest on paper, winning only two games from their last six in the league, though on closer inspection they can be buoyed by the positive performances against Manchester United and Tottenham.


Classic Encounter

Burnley 3-3 Watford 29 March 2013

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The two sides played out a six-goal thriller, with Sam Vokes earning Burnley a point for former Watford boss Sean Dyche. 

Dyche returned to Vicarage Road as Burnley manager and it took only 39 seconds for him to enjoy the occasion with a Charlie Austin opener. Watford's mainstay striker Troy Deeney equalised moments later, only for Austin to restore the lead.

Fernando Forestieri scored two unanswered goals either side of the break, before Vokes - who still plays for the Clarets - came on as a substitute to score a late stoppage time equaliser.


Key Battles

Abdoulaye Doucouré vs Steven Defour

Watford's Abdoulaye Doucouré has earned a lot of plaudits recently, earning comparisons to the great Patrick Vieira. 


His skill set will be needed if Watford are to win the battle in midfield. Doucouré has the technical ability that marries well with his strength and endurance, allowing him to drift pass opponents with ease.

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However, Burnley's Steven Defour could present a perfect antithesis to Doucouré's endeavours. Defour's ball-winning skill set could stifle Watford's rhythm in possession, making it a real war-like battle in the midfield. 

Whereas Silva would want his midfield to assert themselves by controlling the ebb and flow of possession, Dyche will be looking towards Defour to disrupt the flow and dish the ball out quickly to the Burnley flanks.


Team News

The latest casualty for Burnley is Robbie Brady. The Irish winger will face a lengthy time out as he prepares to undergo knee surgery after getting injured in his side's 1-0 defeat at Leicester.

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Dyche told the club website: “Robbie will have surgery to repair a patellar tendon tear and will be out for a substantial recovery period."

Watford will be without Will Hughes, who is nursing the hamstring injury that forced him off early in his side's 4-2 defeat to Manchester United.


Prediction

Both sides have impressed this season, Burnley currently within touching distance of a European spot and Watford not far behind.

Sean Dyche's side suffered defeat at Leicester last time out and will be eager to get back on track in the league.

However, Watford have proved to be a tough nut to crack so far this year, so a draw could be on the cards.

Burnley 1-1 Watford

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