Tag Archives: watford

Leicester feel Hornets sting

Watford 2:1 Leicester City


City’s poor run continued at Vicarage Road, where Watford were 2-0 up by the 12th minute on Saturday afternoon…

Claudio Ranieri brought Vardy, Amartey and Albrighton back into a starting line-up that looked like last season’s title winners, minus Schmeichel and Kante.
But the team sheet was where the similarity ended,  as City found themselves a goal down after 32 seconds. Pereyra crossed from the left, Deeney nodded on with a delicate header into the path of Capoue, who sent his first time effort into the turf and up beyond Zieler’s reach.
If this stunned the Champions, worse was to come in the 12th minute when the hosts went further ahead. Pereyra cut in from the left, stepped round Drinkwater and curled a sublime shot into the top right hand corner.


This stung City into a reaction and they were awarded a penalty after a quarter of an hour.
Britos bundled Vardy over with a clumsy challenge and Mahrez halved the deficit from 12 yards.
The rest of the half was a complete scrap, with neither side able to string three passes together and some niggly challenges. Chances were few and far between, with a Huth header over the bar being City’s closest effort.
City still trailed at the break, but had been the better side in the later stages of the half.


The second half was equally scrappy, as City pursued an equaliser and Watford, on the back of a 6-1 defeat at Anfield, were grimly determined to hang on to the win.
Pereyra had the goal at his mercy with a close range header, but sent it too close to Zieler who pulled off a good save to keep City in the game.
As the clock ticked down, City attacked down the flanks through Mahrez and then Gray, but they lacked the aerial presence in the middle and several crosses were headed clear or easily caught by Gomes.
Schlupp was also brought on and delivered two decent cut-backs from the left, but fellow-sub Musa failed to take advantage when well placed.
Referee Neil Swarbrick didn’t help City’s cause. A free-kick was awarded against Huth for getting his head to a cross, and Vardy was also penalised after a race to a loose ball ended with a 50-50 challenge  between him and Gomes.


Several shots from the edge of the area were blocked by a yellow wall and there were loud appeals for handball from the away section on three occasions, though all of them were for hard shots from close-range.
Watford survived a frantic late spell, though Gomes didn’t have a shot to save, and City paid for their slow start with another defeat.

Claudio Ranieri remained positive: “Watford scored two fantastic goals and then we did a very fantastic reaction, Gomes didn’t make any saves but I think until the end we had a chance to score a goal because the team was alive. But against us today there was a big wall to stop all our shots at goal. We lost the match but the spirit is high. I’m proud of them.”

Despite the Premier League struggles, City could qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday night, and Ranieri needs to keep the mood buoyant.

Watford: Gomes, Britos, Kaboul, Prodl, Amrabat (Guedioura 86), Deeney (Okaka 90), Behrami, Zuniga, Janmaat, Capoue, Pereyra. Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Mariappa, Sinclair, Watson, Ighalo. 
Leicester: Zieler, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs (Schlupp 68), Drinkwater, Amartey, Mahrez, Albrighton (Musa 78), Okazaki (Gray 68), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Hamer, Hernández, Wasilewski, King. 
Referee: N Swarbrick. Attendance: 20,640. 
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 


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Leicester go five points clear with win at Watford

Watford 0:1 Leicester City

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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.

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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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Vardy on Cloud Nine as Leicester draw level with leaders.

Leicester City 2:1 Watford

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A 2-1 victory over Watford in the Remembrance Day fixture at the KPS saw Jamie Vardy make history, becoming the only Englishman ever to score in nine consecutive Premier League games.

In what is now a well-established tradition the match ball was delivered by helicopter from RAF Shawbury, while the usual ‘clappers’ doubled up as fantastic crowd mosaic poppy held aloft during the ‘Last post’.

Claudio Ranieri made one change to his side with Fuchs regaining his starting place and Ulloa returning to the bench.

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In a cagey start to the game there were few chances. Capoue forced a save from Schmeichel, while at the other end Gomes got down well to a well-struck Albrighton effort.
The first real chance fell to the Hornets in the 20th minute. Ighalo fired a fine effort against the right hand post, and then Abdi latched on to the rebound but Schmeichel had recovered well to save.
Watford had City pretty much worked out for the rest of the half, without venturing too far forward themselves. Gomes dealt comfortably with shots from Albrighton and Vardy and the sides went in goalless at the break.

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Ranieri made a change at half-time, bringing on Okazaki for Schlupp and it soon paid dividends with City taking a 52nd minute lead. Kanté’s neat side-step took him into the penalty area, but he was faced with too many defenders for anything to be on. He resorted to a toe-poke with no pace on it and watched on as Gomes somehow allowed though his grasp for the ball to trundle slowly over the line for the Frenchman’s first goal for City.
Although Nyon sent a shot narrowly over Schmeichel’s bar City were soon on the attack again. Vardy had a fierce effort blocked and then Morgan headed over from a corner.
There was a nervous moment when Vardy went down injured, but he recovered to take his place in history.
Running onto a ball from Morgan he was sent cartwheeling by a clumsy Gomes challenge just inside the area.
As Vardy hadn’t been running directly at goal the Brazilian keeper escaped with a yellow card. Although regular penalty taker Mahrez picked the ball up he soon handed it over to Vardy, who made no mistake crashing the ball past Gomes for his ninth goal in consecutive games and 12th of the season.

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Any thoughts of a relaxing final 15 minutes were dispelled when Kanté brought Paredes down in the area and Deeney slotted the penalty kick home. But the Hornets never managed to apply any concerted pressure and a Schmeichel save from Deeney was the nearest they got. At the other end Mahrez forced a good save from Gomes before being given a fine standing ovation as he made way for Dyer late on, possibly for his standing aside at the penalty as much as his performance.

Claudio Ranieri commented: “They are all real friends, everybody understands the project. It is a very strong group, a friendly group and there is a good spirit in the group. When we get the penalty Riyad Mahrez gives Jamie the ball and says, ‘come on, score’. It was a lovely moment. Jamie wanted to score. It is so good for him to be scoring goals. Van Nistelrooy was a truly fantastic striker and Jamie has everything to reach that quality.”

On Saturday evening City were level on points with Manchester City and Arsenal at the top of the table.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Drinkwater (King 90), Kanté, Schlupp (Okazaki 46), Albrighton, Mahrez (Dyer 84), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Ulloa, Benalouane, Schwarzer, Inler.
Watford: Gomes, Nyon (Diamanti 76), Britos, Deeney, Cathcart, Aké, Anya, Abdi, Watson, Ighalo, Capoue (Paredes 70). Subs Not Used: Prödl, Behrami, Guedioura, Holebas, Arlauskis.

Referee: R East. Attendance: 32,029.

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Leicester winning run ends, but a point is rescued

Leicester City 2:2 Watford

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City’s winning run came to an end at a wind-battered KPS on Saturday afternoon, but there was still an air of triumph due to Drinkwater’s injury time equaliser after Watford had led 2-0…

An unchanged City side attacked from the start, as usual, but in difficult conditions the league leaders found themselves a goal down by the 9th minute.
It was a strange goal to concede with Deeney launching a ball forward and  Forestieri timing his run perfectly to nip behind the City defence to divert the ball past Schmeichel with a diving header, while every blue shirt looked towards the linesman in vain.
City continued to press forward. Wasilewski went close; as did Vardy with a back-heel and James with a corner that was caught in the swirling wind.

Leicester City v Watford, Sky Bet Chmpionship, 8 February 2014

But despite City’s dominance the Hornet’s stung again four minutes before the break when a low long-range shot from Murray sneaked in at Schmeichel’s right hand post.
City reduced the size of their task two minutes later when a slick move saw De Laet square a ball to James who finished well past Almunuia.

A frustrating second half followed as City struggled to create much on a pitch swirling with crisp packets and carrier bags, faced with the yellow wall doggedly defending their lead.
Watford were also dangerous on the break and Forestieri could have sealed matters with a shot before deciding on a pass to Deeney which went astray.

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A good run and cross from the left from Dyer teed up Nugent close in, but he skewed his effort wide of the post.
Soon after this Pearson reshuffled his pack with Phillips and Mahrez replacing Vardy and Dyer.
Phillips almost got on to the score sheet, lurking at the far post as he had at Bournemouth, but Almunia managed to parry his shot over.
Wood replaced Wasilewski as City desperately threw everything forward, but 90 minutes came and went without them finding the net.

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The five minutes of time added on were almost up when the ball sat up nicely on the edge of the area for Drinkwater to fire the perfect half volley beyond the reach of Almunia and into the net.
There was a huge roar around the KPS to greet this late, late equaliser.
Although City’s winning run had come to an end, this battling side had scraped a point, and proved that they never give up.

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Wasilewski (Wood 84), Konchesky, Dyer (Mahrez 77), Drinkwater, James, Knockaert, Vardy (Phillips 74), Nugent. Subs Not Used: Hammond, King, Schlupp, Logan.
Watford: Almunia, Angella, Ekstrand, Battocchio (Merkel 90), Deeney, Forestieri (Hall 84), Murray, Faraoni (Pudil 71), Anya, Cassetti, Tozser. Subs Not Used: Bellerin, Doyley, Ranegie, Bond.

Referee: Martin Atkinson. Attendance: 23,635.

All photos: Simon Kimber

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Leicester Draw Hornets Sting

Watford 0:3 Leicester City

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City exorcised the ghosts of last May’s play-off semi final with a superb 3-0 win at Vicarage Road on Saturday…

Nigel Pearson handed starting places to Wood and Schlupp, with Vardy and Konchesky both suffering hamstring strains.

After a lively opening exchange City enjoyed a huge slice of luck in the 10 minute that gifted them the lead. An Anya backpass shouldn’t have given Hornets keeper Almunia any problems but he slightly miscued his clearance, striking the onrushing Wood in the face. The ball rebounded instantly into the net for an unlikely opener.
There were few chances in a tight encounter for a while, although Dyer and Wood both had the ball in the net only to be denied by the linesman’s flag for offside.
Schmeichel then produced a smart double save from McGugan, and Wasilewski nodded a Knockaert corner narrowly over, before City went in at the break with a narrow lead.
Nine minutes into the second half it was City who got the all-important second goal. Great work from Schlupp down the left saw him beat two players before teeing up Knockaert for an emphatic strike past Almunia. His celebrations in front of the City fans could hardly have been in greater contrast to the scenes following his penalty miss,  and they earned him a booking.
The lively Forestieri seemed to be Watford’s best chance of a route back into the game, but a series of chances for the Italian saw a block by Wasilewski; an off target effort, and a great save from Schmeichel.
In the 65th minute Pearson shored things up a little bringing James on for Wood and leaving Nugent on his own up front.
But Watford weren’t troubling City greatly and off-target efforts from Anya and Deeney was the best they could manage before City wrapped up the game in the  87th minute.
Substitute Taylor-Fletcher sent Dyer in with a neat through ball and although the winger’s shot hit Almunia it looped up and into the net to send the visiting fans into further celebrations.

The three points briefly saw City level on points with leaders Burnley, as this season continues to progress in a highly satisfactory way.

Watford: Almunia, Doyley (Cassetti 61), Angella, Ekstrand, Anya, McGugan, McEachran, Murray (Fabbrini 46), Pudil (Faraoni 72), Deeney, Forestieri. Subs Not Used: Bond, Iriney, Battocchio, Acuna.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Moore, Wasilewski, Morgan, Schlupp, Knockaert (Hammond 75), Drinkwater, King, Dyer, Nugent (Taylor-Fletcher 82), Wood (James 66). Subs Not Used: Hopper, Bakayogo, Miquel, Logan.

Referee: Roger East. Attendance: 16,011.

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Leicester Miss Out in Dramatic Finale

Watford 3:1 Leicester City

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City missed out on a Wembley Play-Off final in the most agonising way possible at Vicarage Road when Troy Deeney smashed home the decisive goal for Watford, seconds after Anothony Knockeart’s penalty miss in the 7th minute of injury time…

Nigel Pearson fielded an unchanged side again and City pressed forward right from the kick off gaining three corners in quick succession.  Knockaert’s flag-kick found De Laet at the near post but his was blocked by Deeney.
But Watford looked dangerous going forward and a ball over the defence from Deeney set Vydra up but he snatched and missed the target as he had done in the first leg.
The lively Deeney then tested Schmeichel with a shot from the edge of the area.
This good spell for the Hornets was capped with a 15th minute opener, Vydra making no mistake this time with a stunning volley to square the tie.  However City responded well to this set back and hit back with an equaliser just four minutes later.
James’ corner found Nugent at the far post and he sent a header beyond Almunia’s reach to restore City’s lead in the tie.
Deeney then forced another save from Schmeichel while Knockeart fired an effort over the bar.
City had preserved their advantage up to the three-quarter mark, and were 45 minutes from Wembley.

Early in the second half Knockaert sent a free kick narrowly over the bar and then a Nugent header went straight to Almunia.
On the hour both sides made a chance with swapping Kane for Wood and Zola introducing Forestieri for Doyley with more accent on attack.
It soon paid off for the home side when Vydra exchanged passes with Deeney before sending a precise low shot past Schmeichel to level the tie.
Pearson then brought Drinkwater on for Dyer.
The game entered a nervy last twenty minutes… Battocchio was denied by Schmeichel while Nugent and Kane both wasted well placed free-kicks sending them sailing over the crossbar.
As the 90 minutes came up Watford began to turn on the pressure, but this was broken up somewhat by a lengthy spell of treatment and it was City who were presented with a girt-wrapped ticket to Wembley with 97 minutes on the clock.
Knockaert surged into the penalty area on the right and went down under a challenge from Chalobah. It may have been a little harsh, but after a couple of seconds thought Michael Oliver pointed to the spot.

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Knockeart’s spot kick was saved by Almunia, who also managed to block the Frenchman’s follow up effort.
To add insult to injury Watford then charged upfield, Forestieri floated a cross over from the right, Hogg nodded it back and smashed it into the net, sending Watford to Wembley seconds after the ball had been on their penalty spot.

It was a dramatic and devastating end to a season, but in truth on the day and over the campaign as a whole, Nigel Pearson’s man had fallen short.

Watford: Almunia, Deeney, Doyley (Forestieri 65), Briggs, Vydra, Anya, Abdi, Cassetti, Battocchio (Hogg 79), Chalobah, Ekstrand. Unused Subs: Bond, Eustace, Hall, Pudil, Geijo.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, King, Dyer (Drinkwater 67), Keane, James, Schlupp, Knockaert, Nugent, Wood (Kane 61). Unused Subs: Logan, Konchesky, Marshall, Vardy, Moore.

Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 16,142.

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Nugent’s late strike edges City Ahead

Leicester City 1:0 Watford

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An 81st minute goal from David Nugent gave Leicester a slender lead to take to Watford in their play-off semi-final…

Nigel Pearson fielded an unchanged side for this vital first leg, watched by the largest crowd of the season who turned up the volume to a level we haven’t heard for a few seasons.
And City responded early on, dominating possession for the first 20 minutes. Nugent’s back-heel was saved by Almunia as City went close to taking an early lead. Almunia was then equal to a De Laet header from a James’ corner as City relentlessly pressed forward at pace.
Watford’s first chance came on 18 minutes when a Schlupp error let Anya in on goal.  But Schmeichel blocked his shot and then saved again from Abdi. This incident seemed to turn the tide with City losing their early momentum and Watford being given time to establish their passing game.
Chances were rarer and Nugent fired one off target after being set up by the lively Dyer.
Anya and Chalobah, both went close for the Hornets before the last chance of the half fell to Knockeart who did well to battle his way past Ekstrand from the goaline.
City continued in an attacking vein after the break though too often passes were going astray and good work was undone.
Schlupp opened up a decent bit of space for himself but fired well over, before Abdi went close with a free-kick as the game swung from end to end.
The best chance of the game then fell for Vydra, but he snatched his shot with only Schmeichel to beat, for a huge let off for City.
Nigel Pearson brought Kane on for Wood just after the hour.
Watford were enjoying a decent spell now and Vydra forced a fine save from Schmeichel before Geijo sent his header over when it looked easier to score.
Just when it looked as though City had run out of steam they took a precious lead in the 81st minute. Knockaert’s free kick from the left saw a stampede of defenders and attackers towards goal and Nugent got there first to nod home his first goal since January and raise the stadium roof.
Straight from the restart City went agonisingly close to a second when Knockaert, was denied by a fine save from Almunia.
City were all over Watford, as they had been at the start of the game, but could not extend their advantage going into the second leg.

However, they have a vital lead to take to Vicarage Road on Sunday…

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, King, Dyer, Keane, James, Schlupp, Knockaert (Drinkwater 90), Nugent, Wood (Kane 63). Unused Subs: Konchesky, Marshall, Vardy, Logan, Moore.
: Almunia, Hogg, Doyley (Hall 86), Pudil (Briggs 73), Vydra (Forestieri 90), Anya, Abdi, Cassetti, Geijo, Chalobah, Ekstrand. Unused Subs: Eustace, Yeates, Briggs, Bond, Battocchio.

 Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire). Attendance: 29,560.

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