Burnley defeated relegation threatened Watford 1-0 on Thursday evening, courtesy of a fine header from Jay Rodriguez at Turf Moor.
The home side started brightly and had the better chances of the first half. Rodriguez saw a goal ruled out for offside inside 15 minutes, while his strike partner Matej Vydra struck the post soon after.
Watford were much improved after the break. Troy Deeney was at the centre of everything going forward and the Hornets captain came close to opening the scoring just after the hour mark, when his header was cleared off the line by Dwight McNeil.
Despite the visitors being in the ascendency, it would be Burnley who took the lead. McNeil fired in a dangerous cross that was neatly nodded home by the on-rushing Rodriguez, clinching Sean Dyche's side the three points.
Here's 90min's breakdown of the game.
Key Talking Point
Coming into this one, Burnley fans could have been forgiven for fearing that their side would be lacking motivation.
Their Premier League safety is already assured, there is considerable speculation over Sean Dyche's future and even rumours of discontent within the dressing room.
This makes the Clarets first half performance pretty extraordinary and is further evidence of Dyche's ability to get the best out of his meagre resources. His side started fantastically, full of vigour and vibrancy, and got the reward that their display warranted when Rodriguez guided McNeil's cross into the back of the net.
If Burnley lose Sean Dyche they will 100% get relegated next season. One of the most underrated managers in the league who deserves much better.— Rob Angel (@robangel13) June 25, 2020
Starting XI: Pope (6); Lowton (6), Tarkowski (7), Mee (7), Taylor (6); Brownhill (7), Cork (7), Westwood (7). McNeil (8*); Rodriguez (8), Vydra (6)
Substitutes: Pieters (6)
STAR MAN - Dwight McNeil
There's something refreshing about seeing an old fashioned winger like Dwight McNeil flourish in the Premier League.
Once again, he was the standout player for Burnley, driving his side forward and setting up their winning goal.
Most Premier League assists by English players in 2019/20:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 25, 2020
❍ Trent Alexander-Arnold (12)
❍ Harvey Barnes (6)
❍ Jack Grealish (6)
❍ Dwight McNeil (6)
❍ Marcus Rashford (6)
Another pinpoint delivery from the Burnley man. ? pic.twitter.com/7UsEPlS0Zb
Key Talking Point
Nigel Pearson will be concerned by his side's first half performance. The Hornets' complete lack of attacking threat - aside from a few tame headers from Craig Dawson - might have been excused if they had looked solid defensively.
However, a weakened Clarets side, missing their usual front two, managed to cut the visitors apart regularly and it took a combination of luck and last ditch tackles to ensure the scores stayed level.
A brief spell of offensive cohesion in the second period aside, this continued after the break. The deserved defeat does Watford no favours in their fight for survival, particularly with games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City to come.
On a must win game. we go and Watford it.— ϟϡ (@ThisNameIsGr8) June 25, 2020
Nice lads nice ?#WatfordFC
How did Watford batter Liverpool— Rhys (@RhysIW) June 25, 2020
Starting XI: Foster (5); Kiko (6), Kabasele (5), Dawson (6), Masina (6); Hughes (5), Capoue (5), Cleverley (4); Sarr (5, Deeney (7*), Welbeck (4)
Substitutes: Doucoure (6), Cathcart (6), Chalobah (6), Doucoure (6), Gray (6)
STAR MAN - Troy Deeney
Very slim pickings for Watford today, but Troy Deeney was probably the cream of a stale crop.
During the Hornets' brief ascendancy at the beginning of the second half, Deeney was instrumental, linking play superbly and very nearly grabbing a goal himself. If Watford are to stay up he will be key.
Should be 1-0 Watford, Dwight McNeil clears a Troy Deeney header off the line before Will Hughes blasts over. Watford in the second half have upped the tempo and look the more dangerous at Turf Moor #BURWAT.— Josh Bunting (@Buntingfootball) June 25, 2020