Watford 2:1 Leicester City
Brendan Rodgers got off to a losing start at Vicarage Road on Sunday, with City conceding a late goal in a 2-1 defeat…
Rodgers made the change that many thought was more suited to the players, with Morgan in for Gray and a three man defence.
But it wasn’t an immediate success as the home side went for City from the start.
Morgan went over as he attempted to clear a free-kick but Mariappa’s shot from close in was blocked by Schmeichel and then Morgan threw himself in front of Deulofeu’s follow up shot.
Watford went ahead in the 5th minute from another free kick, a devilish delivery from Deulofeu saw Deeney, from an offside position, apply a slight touch to send the ball past Schmeichel.
City took a while to recover from this early blow and didn’t show anything up front until Barnes got in down the left, but his cutback was snuffed out by Watford’s defence.
In the 14th minute a free-kick from Maddison was flighted towards the run of Vardy, but Foster was alert to the danger and they crashed into each other, both requiring a spell of treatment.
City now had most of the possession, with Watford happy to sit on their lead.
Ricardo cut in and delivered a ball to Chilwell but his low shot was turned wide by Barnes.
The game settled into something of a stalemate and chances were rare. Deulofeu fired in a shot that didn’t test Schmeichel, before there were penalty appeals for a ball that hit Mariappa on the arm from behind.
Mariappa then nodded away a corner which Tielemans met on the volley. It may have been an attempted shot but turned into a perfect ball out to Maddison, but his cross was cleared by the busy Mariappa.
It had been a disappointing half that hadn’t seen Foster forced into any meaningful action.
The second half carried on in the same vein, with City retaining possession, but unable to penetrate a well-drilled Watford defence. Barnes had a shot blocked and Ndidi then sent a low long-range effort straight at Foster.
Chilwell then swung a cross over that Maguire hoofed into the stand.
A Watford break then saw Deeney and Schmeichel involved in a race. The City keeper got there first, but Deeney earned a yellow card for catching him on the foot.
Rodgers made his first change in the 66th minuite bringing Gray on for Barnes and City began to look more of a threat.
Maddison, looking improved from recent performances, set up Gray for a shot that was blocked, and then Ndidi sent a cross onto the bar.
City then levelled int he 75th minute. As City broke forward Tielemans threaded a perfect ball through to Vardy who outpaced Mariappa before steering a clever shot past Foster.
City looked the more likely winners at this stage, but then Rodgers was forced into a couple of changes, with Vardy going off injured, replaced by Iheanacho, and Tielemans, still not up to 90 minutes of Premier League football, making way for Mendy.
With five minues remaining Gray sent a ball forward, Iheanacho’s first touch was poor, but he got a lucky bounce. With Maddison breaking to his left the right ball would have sent him through, but Iheanacho couldn’t deliver it.
Morgan then sent a header wide after good work from Evans, and it looked as though the points would be shared.
But poor game management cost City a point in the second minute of time-added-on.
Schmeichel delivered a clearance straight to the head of Docoure, who nodded it forward Deeney, who produced a fine hooked pass to Gray, and his run between Morgan and Maguire was capped with a cool finish past Schmeichel.
Watford resisted a late series of City corners to claim the three points and Brendan Rodgers had plenty of food for thought.
“I have a fantastic group of players who are very keen and have a great spirit and they really want to learn. I said to them despite the result they have had a really good week of training and they have taken on board what items we spoke about. We know we need to improve and there are lots of areas we need to get better in, but there is plenty of potential there. This is the second youngest team in the Premier League and there is growth there and we have another weeks work then and then look forward to our first home game.”
Watford: Foster, Janmaat, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas, Doucouré, Capoue,
Hughes (Cleverley 90), Pereyra, Deulofeu (Gray 69), Deeney.
Substitutes: Gomes, Success, Masina, Quina, Kabasele.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Evans, Morgan, Maguire, Ricardo, Tielemans (Mendy 82), Ndidi, Chilwell, Maddison, Barnes (Gray 66), Vardy (Iheanacho 83).
Substitutes: Söyüncü, Ward, Fuchs, Ghezzal.
Referee: Jonathan Moss. Attendance: 20,062.
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