Steven Defour proves to be the difference as Burnley outclass Watford

Burnley eased to a 2-0 home win over Watford thanks to headed goals from Jeff Hendrick and Michael Keane, with the Clarets fully deserving their second victory of the Premier League season.

Set pieces proved the Hornets' undoing as Steven Defour's classy delivery was the difference between the sides, with Sean Dyche's decision to stick with 4-5-1 justified in style by his team's superb defensive shape.


Burnley were rarely troubled at the back and while they didn't create a lot of clear chances, once Keane scored the second goal, the result was never in doubt.

Defour continues to shine in midfield, fellow signing Jeff Hendrick excelled alongside him and a third summer arrival, Johann Gudmundsson, gave his best performance for the club. Perhaps most importantly, the 4-5-1 looked very effective with Sam Vokes as the focal point rather than the suspended Andre Gray, with the midfield providing more support.


It would be quibbling to say the final scoreline should have been more comfortable, but the Clarets perhaps could have added to their tally, especially when Hendrick was unmarked in the area and George Boyd chose to shoot instead of playing a square ball for a simple finish.

But the Clarets were almost faultless as they extended their unbeaten run at Turf Moor to three matches -- it would be nine points from nine were it not for Robert Snodgrass' injury-time free kick for Hull City.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- It was a bold call to stick with 4-5-1 after Burnley's poor showing in a 3-0 loss at Leicester, but his team's performance justified Dyche's decision.

While a lot of fans called for Patrick Bamford to start in Gray's absence, the on-loan striker was an unused substitute and the Clarets did not need him. Crucially, Burnley's wide men were able to get further up the pitch, while Hendrick thrived in the most advanced role of the central trio, whereas Defour played in that position last week.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Tom Heaton, 7 -- The England man had little to do due to the strong protection afforded by his defence, but one good save from Troy Deeney early in the second half was vital as Burnley immediately scored at the other end, while his long kicks to Vokes were very accurate.

DF Matt Lowton, 7 -- Much better than his poor showing at Leicester, but as he did last weekend, switched off just before the break when he was booked for fouling Jose Holebas and was perhaps fortunate that his team this time defended the resulting set piece well.

DF Michael Keane, 8 -- His first goal of the season was very well taken and his distribution from the back was vital as the Clarets kept the ball better than they have in any other game this season.

DF Ben Mee, 8 -- Mee and Keane were both excellent in restricting Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo to few clear sights of goal as the pair recorded their second clean sheet in four home games this season.

DF Stephen Ward, 8 -- Seemed to thrive with Boyd in front of him as the pair forged a very effective partnership down the Clarets' left flank, resulting in opposite number Roberto Pereyra having very little influence on the game.

MF Johann Gudmundsson, 8 -- Having previously looked out of his depth in the Premier League, this was much better from the Iceland international, who provided both the immense work rate demanded by Dyche and a string of very dangerous crosses into the box with his left foot.

MF Dean Marney, 8 -- Marney did the dirty work in a sitting role in front of the back four that enabled Hendrick and Defour to shine, but his contribution to the opener, when he chased down an apparent lost cause to win the corner Hendrick scored from, cannot be underestimated.

MF Steven Defour, 9 -- A pair of assists from terrific crosses underlined his importance to the team, while his work rate and harrying of Watford's flustered midfield was second to none. Only one of Burnley's five goals this season have been scored without the Belgian's direct involvement.

MF Jeff Hendrick, 8 -- Given freedom to attack and regularly got on the end of Vokes headers to start Burnley attacks, while his first goal for the club was superbly taken to get Burnley into a lead they were never going to surrender.

MF George Boyd, 7 -- Should have set up Hendrick for a third late on, while a few key defensive contributions were poor, but Boyd's boundless running and pressing was crucial to the victory.

FW Sam Vokes, 8 -- The Wales international won virtually everything in the air and provided the platform for the Clarets' fine performance with a commanding display of target man play, even though he didn't get any shots on target himself.


MF Scott Arfield, N/R -- A big drop on Defour's class and struggled to settle into the game, asking too much of tired teammates with a few passes.

MF Michael Kightly, N/R -- Given 90 seconds off the bench for his first appearance of the season and understandably didn't touch the ball during his brief cameo.