Burnley is back within a win of eighth place, which could be a Europa League place, after beating desperate Watford 1-0 at Turf Moor on Thursday.
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Dwight McNeil set up Jay Rodriguez for a second-half goal as the undermanned Clarets took all three points from the visitors, who were lively early.
Watford’s 28 points are just above the drop zone. The Hornets sit 16th, one point ahead of three teams.
Three things we learned
1. Clarets can’t make early chances count: Jay Rodriguez and Matty Vydra were each granted early chances by sleepy or foolish Watford errors in what were considered by SofaScore the only two “big chances created” in the first hour-plus. Both teams took five shots inside the box in the opening 70 minutes, both keepers made two saves.
2. Bad Burnley half buoyed by J-Rod: Dwight McNeil has been the Clarets’ shiny academy jewel for some time, and his cross to the top of the six for Rodriguez to turn past Ben Foster was sensational. The Clarets were miserable for most of the second half to that point.
3. Will Watford rebound? The Hornets were the better team in terms of threat aside from the goal, despite what the even statistics said. Watford has a lot of points on their remaining fixture list, but this zero should’ve been three. Southampton, Chelsea, Newcastle, and Norwich City are next before West Ham, Man City, and Arsenal to close it out.
Man of the Match
McNeil was very good. He completed 37-of-46 passes and connected on three crosses and long balls, one being the assist.
Burnley – Watford recap
Watford had some moments early but Burnley had a goal ruled offside in the 14th minute when Jay Rodriguez headed home.
The Clarets kept pouring forward, and Matej Vydra hit the pitch with an audacious shot before Michael Dawson cleared Rodriguez’s side volley rebound off the line.
Ismaila Sarr was a problem for Burnley’s left side, and Dwight McNeil and Charlie Taylor had to push and tug to keep him from delivering the ball inside. They failed once but Danny Welbeck couldn’t react quick enough to capitalize.
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The Hornets were all over Burnley in the second half.
Troy Deeney headed a corner that was blocked off the line before Will Hughes blazed the rebound over the bar from about 20 yards.
That’s when Burnley scored out of nothing, Rodriguez’s clever header fooling Ben Foster off McNeil’s terrific cross.Follow @NicholasMendola