epl Game Preview - Watford v Burnley

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Watford-Burnley Preview

Coming out of the coronavirus lockdown, Burnley find themselves with issues both on and off the pitch.

Following an overly disappointing and unintentionally disgraceful return to play, Burnley look to turn the page when they host Watford on Thursday night.

Essentially before their Monday match at Manchester City started, it seemed Burnley were in for a long evening. In a massive display of insensitivity amidst the current climate of protesting racial and social injustice around the world, a plane flew over the Etihad with a banner reading "White Lives Matter Burnley."

It's uncertain how much the visual rattled the mid-table-dwelling Clarets (11-6-13) during a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of City. Amidst the contest, the Burnley Football Club sent out an official release condemning the act, which reportedly came from a team supporter who said he would not apologize for the message.

Burnley captain Ben Mee panned the messaged following the game with a passionate declaration of condemnation for the act.

"I'm ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to put that around the stadium," Mee said via NBC Sports in the United States.

Mee continued: "It's not what we are about at all and has missed the whole point of what we've achieved and what we're trying to do (through backing the Black Lives Matter movement)."

Whilst the club is taking measures to ensure that anybody associated with the act or any further of the kind will receive a life-time ban from the club, back on the pitch, manager Sean Dyche must find a way to re-focus his side on bouncing back from that disaster of the day.

"It's just a reminder of what you need in this league, and a harsh reminder," Dyche told Burnley's official website.

The Clarets must attempt to rebound without the likes of injured stars Chris Wood (11 league goals) and Ashley Barnes (six goals) for this upcoming contest.

Being home could provide some solace for the Clarets, who are amidst an 0-2-1 stretch there after losing for the first time over eight overall league contests Monday. They've conceded just one goal over their last three games at Turf Moor.

In the reverse fixture with Watford in late November, Burnley displayed some of that stingy defense whilst Wood, Barnes and James Tarkowski each scored during a 3-0 victory.

Watford (6-10-14), who are trying to keep themselves out of the drop zone, returned to action with a 1-1 draw against Leicester City on Saturday in a dramatic finish at Vicarage Road. After falling behind in the 90th minute, the Hornets' Craig Dawson saved the day with an answer three minutes into stoppage time to claim the single point.

"It was tough, but we knew we needed some points and we did it, so it was a good start, a good performance and now we're ready for the next one," defender Adam Masina told Watford's official website.

Though the Hornets managed to grab a valuable point, they have just one victory over the last eight Premier League games. However, that win came against runaway league leaders Liverpool at home on Feb. 29.

Updated June 23, 2020

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