Premier League

Watford-Burnley Preview

Claudio Ranieri says Watford cannot afford to lose against Burnley in Tuesday's Premier League relegation six-pointer at Turf Moor.

The Hornets snapped a six-game losing streak last time out with a late 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers Newcastle United.

That draw leaves Watford one point above the relegation zone, but they have played more games than each of the three sides in the bottom three.

Indeed, next opponents Burnley are three points behind Watford with two games in hand, putting added significance on their midweek showdown.

"We knew it was a big week for us," Ranieri said. "We have played Newcastle, now our focus is on Burnley, who are one of the best teams to put the ball into the opposition box.

"We have to play our football against Burnley. We want another great match. We know we are in a relegation battle. We must be ready.

"It's a crucial for us and them, and it's important we don't lose. It is not a final but it is very important to come out of Burnley with the right result."

Burnley have played just three league matches since December 4, and only one so far this calendar year, due to games being called off either by themselves or their opponents.

The Clarets, who sold striker Chris Wood to Newcastle last week, hope to have players back from coronavirus and injuries in time for the contest.

But Sean Dyche's side are winless in their last six midweek top-flight matches (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), including three defeats in their last four games on a Tuesday.

Burnley - Jay Rodriguez

Maxwel Cornet is at the Africa Cup of Nations and Wood is no longer at the club, meaning Burnley are without players responsible for nine of their 16 league goals this term.

That puts extra pressure on the likes of Matej Vydra and Rodriguez, with the latter yet to score in 13 top-flight matches this season - a run he could do with ending here.

Watford - Ben Foster

The Hornets have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 29 Premier League games - only three sides have ever had longer runs without a shutout in the competition.

Foster has been reinstated as first choice by Ranieri and, put simply, should he shut out Burnley then Watford will come away from Turf Moor with at least a point.

- Burnley have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three league games against Watford (W2 D1), as many as they had managed in their previous 20 against the Hornets.

- Watford have won just one of their last 12 away league games against Burnley (D4 L7), winning 3-1 in the Premier League in August 2018.

- The Clarets have won just one of their last seven Premier League home games against promoted clubs (D4 L2), though that victory did come in their last such game against Brentford in October.

- This is the first time Burnley are playing a Premier League match having started the day bottom of the table since November 2020, a goalless draw at Brighton and Hove Albion. It is their first such match after New Year in the competition since May 2015, a 1-0 victory at Hull City.

- Dyche's side are averaging just 39.6-per-cent possession, and 323 passes per game in the Premier League this season - both are their lowest averages across a single campaign in the competition.

Updated January 17, 2022