Saturday February 4th 15.00 GMT
Featuring high on the sexiest football match of the weekend, the Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Inter should be a belter. This one, though, we’re not altogether sure of. However, it has piqued our interest for a number of reasons, not least of which is the price for the team with the worst away record in the division (that would be Burnley) but we’ll get to that later.
An unexpected lift
We must first of all doff our cap to Watford. They have been struggling in recent months and few, if any, saw their midweek victory away to Arsenal coming. The three points for a victory are always welcome no matter what the team but in the case of the Hornets, it lifted them closer to the teams in mid-table as well as further from those stuck in the mire of the relegation battle. The winter transfer window saw them make a tidy profit on Odion Ighalo as the Nigerian winged his way to China whilst acquiring the services of the very promising of M’Baye Niang from AC Milan in his stead. That could be a good bit of business come the season’s end.
Good winter work
Speaking of smart acquisitions, Burnley can lay claim to a couple of those in the shapes of Ashley Westwood from Aston Villa as well as club record signing, Robbie Brady from Norwich. The latter of the two is an extremely gifted footballer and set-piece specialist who can play a variety of positions. In addition, he has known and played with new club mate, Jeff Hendrick, since they were school boys in Ireland and for the national team too and Burnley will hope that that dynamic allows him to settle in quickly.
Home is where the heart is, not so much the other way
This is Burnley’s second stint in the BPL having come up for the first time two years ago. They were promptly relegated but played it safe and didn’t bankrupt themselves in the process of trying to stay up. Now, with more experience and resources, they are making concerted efforts to consolidate their position in the league. This is best exemplified by their home record this season, which is the third best in the league with 13 games played and 28 points accrued. However, and here’s the rub, their points tally for the season thus far is 29. Now, maths has never been our strong point but we’re pretty sure that indicates that they have managed to pick up just one point away from home. That is, a solitary draw. Hmm.
And yet, and yet
At this point, many of you will be surely thinking – Just stop there, so! Money in the bank to back Watford – and we’d have a hard time arguing against that proposition given the evidence we’ve just laid before you. And yet we can’t help but feel that Burnley are building a nice head of steam at the moment. Their last 10 games across all competitions reads W6 D1 L3. Their last away game was a 2-1 loss to Arsenal and the Gunners needed a 98th minute penalty to win. The away loss before that was a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City and before that a 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotpsur. Not exactly spankings, we think you’ll agree.
Watford will certainly be buoyed by their shock win over Arsenal. They look to have reverted to a four man defence which has shaken up some of their previously stodgy play and in Niang they have a young and gifted player who is eager to make his mark in the league. However, Burnley can’t go on dropping points away from home forever and we reckon that this could be the match where they finally get a win on the road. So we’ll stick our head above the parapet and say that the price of 3/1 from BetFred for a Burnley win will do for us.