Will Hughes scored his first goal for Watford since November – after Andre Gray (left) and Troy Deeney (right) had found the netAndre Gray struck on his return to Turf Moor 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 Burnley for Watford 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 first six minutes of the second half to secure victory – with captain Deeney hitting his first Watford goal since March by latching on to Abdoulaye Doucoure’s perfectly weighted pass.
Will Hughes fired a third for the Hornets when he collected Burnley defender Matt Lowton’s loose pass and drove the ball in from outside the area, well beyond the reach of goalkeeper Joe Hart.
With 20 minutes remaining, Sam Vokes almost scored with his very 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
Watford’s comfortable victory over Brighton temporarily hushed 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 that 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 Hart.
Deeney proved a constant nuisance for the Burnley back line 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 Spaniard Gracia.
More to follow.