BURNLEY, Dec 10 — Scott Arfield’s goal on the stroke of halftime was enough to give seventh placed Burnley a 1-0 win over eighth placed Watford in the Premier League yesterday.
Pre-match snow made for wintry conditions at Turf Moor for the clash of two of the surprise packages of the season so far and it was Scottish-born Canadian international Arfield, in for the injured Robbie Brady, who rose to the occasion.
Iceland winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s low cross was well collected by Arfield who beat Daryl Janmaat and delivered a slick finish to beat Huerelho Gomes in the 45th minute.
Watford had been down to ten men from the 39th minute after Marvin Zeegelaar was shown a straight red for a wild, feet raised, challenge on Steven Defour.
While Watford were unhappy with that decision, Burnley also protested referee Lee Probert about two efforts disallowed for offside in the second half.
Goal scorer Arfield, who joined Burnley after being released on a free transfer by Huddersfield Town in 2013, had been out of the side for much of the season but his performance was a sign of the greater strength in depth of Sean Dyche’s squad who now have 28 points — the same amount as Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
“It is a great finish from him, a really calm finish. I am pleased for him because its not easy when you aren’t playing regularly,” said Dyche.
“We have got true competition in all areas and I am really pleased with that,” he said.
Watford had started the brighter and should have taken the lead in the seventh minute, but Brazilian Richarlison was unable to finish a great cross from Andre Carillo, firing over the bar.
At the other end, Gomes was at full stretch to tip a Gudmundsson free-kick around the post and then deal with an ambitious chip from Chris Wood.
Watford’s Portuguese manager Marco Silva believed the red card was a harsh decision which had changed the game but praised the way his team pushed Burnley all the way even when down to 10 men.
“For me it is clear it is a harsh, harsh, harsh (decision). Not red card for me,” he said.
“We started strong but after came the decision. It has a big, big influence. It think it is not fair in that moment. Even after that we have some chances for 1-1. I didn’t see one minute in the second half with Burnley in control.
“I think the result is not fair, the decision of the referee as well,” added Silva. — Reuters