Watford 0:1 Leicester City
A sublime Mahrez moment saw City go five points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a 1-0 win at Vicarage Road…
Claudio Ranieri made one change to his side with Kanté returning from injury earlier than expected and King making way.
With Spurs and Arsenal drawing in the lunchtime kick-off, City had a chance to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack and they started the game with some intent.
From a quickly taken corner from the right, the ball made its way through to Fuchs on the edge of the area. The Austrian’s well-struck shot was saved by Gomes and Ake got to the rebound just before the onrushing Okazaki.
At the other end Ake rose above Morgan to get his head to a free-kick, but it brushed the top of the crossbar.
In a fast and furious midfield battle chances didn’t come too often. Vardy managed to break through down the left, but his early shot flew harmlessly across the face of goal.
Mahrez and Vardy combined well on the break in the 22nd minute, but Vardy sent his stabbed effort just wide of the right hand post.
The Hornets’ best move of the half came five minutes later but as the ball arrived in the area Amrabat had his shot blocked by Morgan and then Deeney’s follow-up deflected off Simpson and straight into Schmeichel’s grasp.
Morgan was involved in the final two chances of the half: heading a Simpson cross straight at Gomes; and then leaving a header back to Schmeichel a little short so the City keeper had to race out to beat Deeney to the ball.
The whistle ended a strange half that had seen a relentless battle for possession on a slippery surface, with neither keeper being over-employed.
Claudio Ranieri made two changes at the break, with Schlupp and King on for Albrighton and Okazaki.
Although Watford had the first chance of the half, when Saurez broke through the middle and fired off a shot that was deflected towards Scmeichel, it was City who broke the deadlock in the 56th minute.
It was another Mahrez moment to add to the collection.
A big, swinging cross from the left from Fuchs was headed clear only as far Mahrez, who took a touch to improve his angle before finding the top left hand corner with a sweet shot.
The away section went mad, as the players went over to celebrate with them.
With the Leicester fans roaring “We shall not be moved!”, Huth then forced a save from Gomes after getting his head t0 a Kanté cross from the right.
Vardy then broke down the left but his shot was blocked on the line with a cool backheel from Ake.
Amrabat nipped ahead of Fuchs in the area, but his shot on the turn went straight at Schmeichel, though City were looking more in control of the game in this half.
Mahrez ducked round three defenders before curling in a shot that was placed too close to Gomes; and then Huth sent a header from a Fuchs free kick narrowly wide.
Although they couldn’t find a second goal, City were comfortable as they saw the game out, the only anxious moment coming when Mahrez suddenly pulled up mid-run, but this turned out to be cramp, rather than a hamstring.
He was replaced by Amartey with five minutes to go, and the late substitute produced a fine square ball for Schlupp, who blasted his shot wide of the left hand post.
With seconds to go, a Watford free-kick brought back memories of the Emirates, but Watson sent it sailing out of play.
The final whistle ended the latest chapter of City incredible 2015-16 story, as they went five points clear with 9 games remaining.
If the press boys were getting carried away, asking Claidio Ranieri if he was looking forward to the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid coming to the KPS next season, our manager was keeping his feet on the ground: “Yes, why not? But I imagine Newcastle now.”
Whatever happens next weekend, City will still be top by the time they face Newcastle on Monday…
Watford: Gomes, Nyom (Anya 81), Britos, Suarez (Abdi 64), Prodl, Deeney, Amrabat, Ake, Watson, Ighalo, Capoue (Oulare 87). Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Behrami, Guedioura, Holebas.
Leicester: Schmeichel; Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs; Mahrez (Amartey 85), Drinkwater, Kanté, Albrighton (King 46); Okazaki (Schlupp 46), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Gray, Ulloa, Wasilewski, Schwarzer.
Referee: J Moss. Attendance: 20,884.
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