Watford slip to bottom of Premier League after home defeat to Burnley


Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and James Tarkowski sent Watford bottom of the Premier League as Burnley bruised their way to a 3-0 victory at Vicarage Road.

Wood’s snap finish, Barnes’ penalty and Tarkowski’s late strike condemned struggling Watford to a club-record 11th straight home league match without a win.

Barnes’ penalty was awarded after a VAR check, with Jose Holebas judged to have brought the 30-year-old down in the area.

The former Brighton forward then put away the spot-kick he had won, securing a win to send Burnley sixth in the table – and Watford bottom.

Tarkowski’s late goal twisted the knife on Watford’s wounds, the Hornets’ chief tormentor ending an error-strewn, aggressive afternoon with the last laugh.

While Burnley were left to toast a fifth win for the term, Quique Sanchez Flores’ stunned Watford could only limp away, as Norwich’s win and Southampton’s draw sent them bottom.

Burnley’s delirious fans chanted “anti-football” to their hearts’ content as Sean Dyche’s men pulled off another smash-and-grab victory, leaving Watford floored both on the pitch and in the table.

Both sides spent the first quarter of this clash desperately trying to convince themselves they were up for the fight, amid a miserable afternoon of dank and drizzly skies.

Burnley came to frustrate and niggle, perfectly happy to circle in a holding pattern, for the first half at least.

Eventually Watford decided the greater quality on the ball was theirs, and chief among those probing raiders was Deulofeu.

As the skies darkened and Burnley’s mood followed suit thanks to a hefty error count, so Deulofeu sharpened up in contrast.

Only a goal remained elusive from a promising second-quarter showing, though his strongest chance ending in a tame low shot that Nick Pope handled easily.

Craig Dawson battled a dizzy spell before kick-off before being elbowed in the face and then suffering a nasty cut over his left eye in a clash of heads.

The defender was forced out of an increasingly physical half, in which Tarkowski twice found himself caught cold by Deulofeu.

The second time Tarkowski’s clumsy foul gifted the former Barcelona man a 25-yard free-kick, only for Pope to palm away his dipping effort.

Burnley duly escaped to the break locked in a stalemate as glorious to them as it was galling for their hosts – and after the restart the Clarets plundered a little-deserved lead.

Adrian Mariappa’s smart header denied Ben Mee a clear run to nod into the net, but from the resulting corner Burnley pounced.

Tarkowski climbed above Holebas to scramble a header back across goal and Wood hooked home a left-footed shot to sting the Hornets.

That chief pest Tarkowski then upended Etienne Capoue on the edge of the Burnley area, with a posse of Clarets players racing in to crowd referee Paul Tierney.

Ashley Westwood was booked for prolonged dissent, and then Capoue skied the free-kick.

As the former Spurs midfielder beat the turf to encapsulate the Watford frustration, Westwood harangued Tierney again.

This time his captain Mee even shoved him away from the official, and the midfielder escaped further sanction.

Cue a rendition of “no one likes us we don’t care” from the Burnley fans, revelling in their team’s wind-up merchant status.

Just when Watford thought they could scrambled an equaliser though, Burnley stole the game.

Jay Rodriguez hit the bar with a long-range chip as Watford wobbled again, then Barnes converted that VAR-awarded spot-kick, to kill the tie.

And when Tarkowski drilled home at the second attempt, Watford’s ignominious afternoon was complete.