Watford 0-3 Burnley
Goals: Chris Wood (£6.2m), Ashley Barnes (£6.3m), James Tarkowski (£5.0m)
Bonus Points: Tarkowski x3, Nick Pope x2 (£4.7m), Wood x1
Chris Wood (£6.2m) continued his excellent scoring form as he netted a sixth goal of the season in Burnley’s 3-0 win at Watford.
The centre-forward now has six goals in as many Premier League starts, a level of consistency that offers great value for money in his price bracket.
His colleague Ashley Barnes (£6.3m) is also enjoying some of a resurgence too. He went without an attacking return between Gameweek 4 and Gameweek 11 but has scored in each of Burnley’s last two matches.
Against Watford, his goal came from the penalty spot, although as is usually the case with this team, we cannot confirm that Barnes is the designated taker.
Historically, Burnley operate on the basis that whoever wins the penalty gets to take it and in this case, Barnes earned the kick after a foul by Kiko Femenía (£4.2m).
It will be interesting to see if either of Burnley’s front-men, both very nailed on in Sean Dyche’s 4-4-2 formation, will garner transfer attention over the coming weeks.
Up next for the Clarets is a home meeting with Crystal Palace before Manchester City come to Turf Moor and Burnley visit Spurs in north London.
With those fixtures in mind, Nick Pope (£4.7m) and other defensive assets are likely to remain the main Fantasy focus at Burnley, as they are arguably much more benchable than their attacking colleagues.
Furthermore, their defensive potential continues to rise, with the Clarets claiming their first away clean sheet of the campaign at Watford. In fact, it was their first on the road since January, when they last visited Vicarage Road.
Goalkeeper Pope registered another nine-point haul against the Hornets, just as it was in Gameweek 12, underpinned by a clean sheet, four saves and two bonus.
“Second half, a really good reaction, for me, for the detail in his work, Nick Pope was excellent, he made saves he’d probably make, but his handling, his aggressive nature in coming off his line to take crosses, they are important factors, particularly as a defensive unit, people often think it’s just about a catch or a bit of calmness, but it spreads a feeling around your team, the opposition think they have a chance and a big monster like him comes and claims it and they haven’t. I like the psychology of when keepers play like that. I was a centre half and it’s a great feeling, it makes a big difference. Goalkeepers can bring a calmness. First half he made a couple of saves I’d expect him to make, and the defensive unit kept us in it, without being peppered, but we couldn’t get a foothold.” – Sean Dyche
In fairness to the hosts, 3-0 did not accurately reflect the game as it really was one of two halves. Watford were much the better side in the opening 45 minutes and the fact that they caused Burnley several problems was what allowed Pope to rack up some saves.
Early-on James Tarkowski (£5.0m) was caught on the ball in his defensive third, allowing Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m) to drive into the box and force a low sprawling save from Pope.
Soon after, Andre Gray (£5.7m) held the ball up well and spread a sweeping pass out to Femenía on the right. His fizzed cross looked dangerous before Ben Mee (£5.0m) tipped a vital interception towards a grateful Pope.
Deulofeu continued to look dangerous as he drove into the box following a corner, leading to a Craig Cathcart (£4.4m) shot blocked by Mee.
Finally, Deulofeu also troubled Pope with a swerving free-kick from range, the goalkeeper palming away just in time.
For that reason, Burnley were arguably fortunate to go into half-time at 0-0.
That fact that might suggest that Watford still have something to offer offensively in the coming weeks as they travel to Southampton next.
Deulofeu especially was a bright spark in the first-half in Gameweek 13 and, with regards to Gameweek 14, is often at his best when away from home against relegation-threatened sides.
However, Burnley responded well in the second half, establishing a greater sense of control over the Gameweek 13 encounter, scoring early in the second period and pressing home their advantage late on.
This bodes well looking ahead to Gameweek 14 when Crystal Palace will come to Turf Moor.
So far this season, Burnley are yet to concede at home to a side that finished outside the top-six last season.
As much as that is encouraging for Pope, Tarkowski also looks good for Gameweek 14.
He has now been the top-scoring Fantasy asset in each of the last two Gameweeks as all of his attacking returns (three) have come since Gameweek 12 – in addition to a pair of clean sheets.
Not only is a shut-out a probability next time out, but his aerial threat could also help expose a weakness to headed goal attempts for Palace.
That said, whether or not he can be a long-term investment with some tricky fixtures on the horizon remains to be seen.
Furthermore, a yellow card against Watford means Tarkowski is now just one away from a one-match suspension.
Perhaps a more shrewd route into the Burnley defence could be Charlie Taylor (£4.2m), who has now started each of the last two matches for Burnley.
After their 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United, the former Leeds United left-back has helped get the Clarets back on track and offers a fantastic budget price for anyone looking to double-up on Burnley’s defence, especially in those home fixtures.
“First half, we weren’t anywhere near our best. You could say we were lucky to get in at 0-0. Second half was just a completely different performance. We just felt as though we were waiting for something to happen instead of going out and trying to grab it and make something happen. That changed. We got right on the front foot from the first whistle in the second half and it was just two completely different performances.” – Charlie Taylor
Those interested in the Burnley defence may just want to make themselves aware of one confirmed absence from the squad for Gameweek 14.
Central midfielder Ashley Westwood (£5.4m) picked up his fifth yellow card of the season at Vicarage Road and is now suspended for one match.
Alongside Jack Cork (£5.0m), he has been an important component in Burnley’s defensive strength this season.
Westwood’s presence was important in the second half as he and Cork inspired Burnley’s half-time turnaround against Watford.
It will be interesting to see who fills in at central midfield against Crystal Palace. The more attacking option Jeff Hendrick (£5.4m) may come back into the middle having largely played on the right this season, which might see Robbie Brady (£5.5m) return to the starting line-up.
“First half I thought they (Cork and Westwood) were a little bit off, second half they were very good, the stuff fans don’t always see, and managers, coaches and fellow players admire. I think the strength those two have is doing the hard yards, to make sure others combine to help us win the game. They played their part in that as well, but they will do the miles, all the ugly things it takes for us to win games because we haven’t always got the technical talent of other sides. We have to find a way of winning and do it as regularly as we can to get what we want.” – Sean Dyche
Finally, we should touch on Watford’s defence which, after some strong recent form, crumbled in Gameweek 14.
They came into this most recent round of action on the back of three clean sheets in five.
That looked like it might continue after 45 minutes of dominating the game but it was an old enemy that saw them lose control: set pieces.
Watford have typically struggled to defend dead-ball situations over the last two seasons and it was how Burnley took the lead, Tarkowski nodding down a corner at the back-post for Wood to hook into the top corner.
They were admittedly not helped in their cause by Craig Dawson (£4.8m) having to come off with a head injury, replaced by wing-back Adam Masina (£4.3m).
Daryl Janmaat (£4.4m) was also missing with a knee problem not mentioned in the pre-match press conference.
Watford XI (3-5-2): Foster; Cathcart, Dawson (Masina 45+1′), Mariappa; Holebas, Hughes (Sarr 67′), Capoue, Doucouré; A Gray (Deeney 56′), Deulofeu.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; C Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Bardsley; McNeil, Cork, Westwood, Hendrick; A Barnes, Wood (Rodriguez 75′).
Gameweek 13 – FPL Match Reports
- West Ham United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur
- Arsenal 2-2 Southampton
- AFC Bournemouth 1-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Leicester City
- Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
- Everton 0-2 Norwich City
- Watford 0-3 Burnley
- Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea
- Sheffield United 3-3 Manchester United
- Aston Villa 2-0 Newcastle United
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