Leicester defeat Watford and climb into top half

Leicester City 3:0 Watford

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A fairly comfortable 3-0 win at home to Watford on Saturday saw City moving up to 9th place in the Premier League…

Craig Shakespeare named an unchanged starting XI as City went in search of the points that would secure survival, and put them on course for a top half finish.
In a cagey start, City’s first chance came in the 7th minute when an Albrighton corner was cleared to Drinkwater on the edge of the area, but his shot went high and wide.
At the other end Cleverley had a shot on goal, but it sailed well wide of the target.
City came close in the 19th minute when Mariappa slid in to prevent a Mahrez cross from reaching Vardy and sent the ball against the right hand post.
The huge figure of Okaka was causing problems with his physical presence and he forced a good near post block from Schmeichel.
The City keeper was soon in action again as Watford carved out another chance, this time he got his fingertips to a well-struck Cleverley shot.
But it was City who took a 38th minute lead from an inventive corner kick routine.
Albrighton sent his flag kick short to Drinkwater who had some space in the area. He clipped a cross over which was only half cleared by the Watford defence and Ndidi lashed it into the net from ten yards.

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Four minutes later Mahrez almost doubled City’s lead when his shot deflected off Cleverley, but landed on top of the bar.
And City took their 1-0 lead in at the break.

City had a chance early in the second half when Okazaki sent Vardy in down the right inside channel, but his low shot was well saved by Gomes.
As Watford tried to find a way back into the game Okaka got his head to an Amrabat cross but Benalouane did just enough to put him off and send his effort over.
City doubled their lead in the 58th minute with an audacious effort from Mahrez.
Marriappa made a hash of a clearance on the left and Mahrez nipped ahead of him, bore down on goal and toe-poked the ball through Gomes’s legs at the near post.

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Craig Shakespeare made a couple of changes, bringing on Slimani for Okazai, and then King for Drinkwater, while the dropped Deeney came on for Watford.
In the 68th minute Vardy went clear for another chance, but Gomes denied him again.
Great work from Albrighton then sent Mahrez down the right and his cross picked out Slimani who fired his 20 yarder over the bar.
Watford were still desperately seeking a goal, but Cleverley’s dipping 25 yarder was tipped over at full stretch by Schmeichel.
Zuniga also launched a long range effort over the bar as Watford had a decent late spell, but City struck again in time added on.
As City attacked on the break, Vardy cut in from the left and picked out Albrighton’s late run perfectly, the winger lashed the ball in via the right hand post to cap a Man of the Match performance.

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Although Watford had created a few good chances, the scoreline reflected City’s dominance and clinical finishing and took them into ninth place.

Craig Shakespeare summed up: “It’s one we can look at now, the whole club, and be very pleased we have managed to secure Premier League survival. The result was always going to be important. There hasn’t been any points target and we just want to finish as high as possible.” 

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Gray 78), Drinkwater (King 67), Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Slimani 63), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Chilwell, Musa, Amartey, Zieler.
Watford: Gomes, Kabasele (Zuniga 72), Prodl, Mariappa, Amrabat, Cleverley, Doucoure, Capoue (Deeney 67), Janmaat, Okaka, Niang (Pereira 83). Subs Not Used: Success, Behrami, Pantilimon, Eleftheriou.
Referee: R East. Attendance: 31,628. 

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber 

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