Heurelho Gomes 4
Had a reasonable start to the game, reacting well to stop a Marc Albrighton delivery from a free-kick almost sailing straight in. But, for the first time in his Watford career, we saw a glimpse of the Gomes who was ridiculed at Tottenham Hotspur. Somehow the goalkeeper allowed N’Golo Kante’s tame toe-poke to slip through his fingers for the opener. It was reminiscent of the mistake Massimo Taibi made in 1999 for Manchester United. Things went from bad to worse when he clumsily fouled Jamie Vardy for the penalty which doubled Leicester’s lead. Showed character to ignore the Leicester fans jeering at goal kicks to make a good save to prevent Riyad Mahrez from making it three straight after Troy Deeney’s goal. He went over to the away fans after the final whistle and applauded them more than any other player. His apologetic tweet spoke volumes.
Allan Nyom 6
The fact that Jeffrey Schlupp was substituted at half time was testament to Nyom’s defensive work in the first half as he gave the winger no joy. But the full-back did not manage to get forward as he did so often earlier in the season, and did nothing memorable. Nyom’s best moment was when Mahrez played in Albrighton in the second half, and the defender used his pace to run back and pressure Leicester’s No 11, forcing him to delay and eventually send a simple shot into Gomes’ hands.
Craig Cathcart 6
Considering they were dealing with the most in-form forward line in the Premier League, Watford’s central defenders did well to nullify most of Leicester’s attacking threat for large parts. The Foxes often looked to play the ball over the top, in order to exploit Vardy’s pace, but, on most occasions, Cathcart jumped and stretched his neck to head away the danger. A couple of his clearances were skewed in the air rather than up field, but in general, he did the dirty work necessary to keep Vardy and Co at bay.
Miguel Britos 7
Much like Cathcart, but slightly better. Britos showed that there is no need to be pretty when you are playing against a side which included two of the Premier League’s top three goal scorers. He always seemed to get a foot or head on every ball aimed at Leicester’s No 9, none more so than when a loose back pass almost fell into the path of Vardy. He timed his tackle to perfection. He also made a fantastic block with his foot when Vardy was put through on goal by Danny Drinkwater at 1-0.
Nathan Ake 6
The youngster continues to impress and must have covered more ground than any other player on the field. He had to deal with Albrighton in the first half and Mahrez in the second, which is no easy task. For the most part he prevented them from carving open the Watford defence. A couple of crunching tackles – particularly one on Mahrez – showed onlookers that despite his 20 years, he isn’t going to be pushed around.
Etienne Capoue 5
This was one of Capoue’s worst games in a Watford shirt, following so soon after his best. After a couple of good efforts at goal early on, the midfielder was invisible for the rest. He was out-played by Drinkwater and was the man to make way when Juan Carlos Paredes was brought on. It raised a few eyebrows but the Frenchman could have few complaints, particularly after he lost the ball three or four times in the space of a few second-half minutes.
Ben Watson 6
Just as peripheral as Capoue, but he spent much of the game watching the ball sail over his head. Carelessly gave possession away to Drinkwater who sent Vardy on the rampage and would have been grateful to Britos for a great block which prevented a certain goal. Helped prevent Gomes from getting a red by talking to the ref as he made up his mind over the penalty.
Ikechi Anya 5
He was a handy outlet, particularly in the first half. The Scotsman’s pace down the right allowed him to get forward and also track back to help Nyom, but was found wanting in the end-product department. Barely mustered a cross and was hesitant to take on his man. At one point it looked as though Anya might cut inside Christian Fuchs and create an opening, but he opted to turn around and pass back instead. Summed up his day.
Almen Abdi 6
Showed his class at times, and linked up with the forwards well from his position on the left of midfield, but was another who failed to have a big impact. When Odion Ighalo’s effort bounced off the post, Abdi reacted well and showed great technique to keep his rasping drive low and on target, forcing Kasper Schmeichel to make a save. Moved into the centre when Capoue came off but did not do enough to turn things around and wrestle the midfield ascendancy from Drinkwater and Kante.
Troy Deeney 7
Had a livelier second half than first. Watford fans taunted the home support with choruses of ‘Did you cry when Deeney scored?’ only for Leicester to take the lead and reply with “Deeney, what’s the score?” Showed Anthony Knockaert how to take a penalty by sending Schmeichel the wrong way from the spot, rolling the ball calmly into the net. He picked up the ball from the net, took it back to the centre circle and then worked tirelessly to chase down every lost cause to try to pull the scores level. Unfortunately for the Hornets, he was unable to grab a second, and his only other effort was saved comfortably by the Leicester keeper.
Odion Ighalo 6
Unusually, did not score but came very, very close in the first half. Receiving a strong pass in the air from Deeney in the box, the Nigerian controlled it perfectly and sent a dipping volley past Schmeichel, which struck the inside of the post. The game could have panned out very differently had that gone in. Showed glimpses of his close control and expert dribbling throughout the game, particularly when he played a one-two with Deeney in the second half just minutes before Leicester’s penalty. He would have been through on goal if Deeney had not been adjudged to have fouled a Leicester defender. Went down too easily as the game wore on.
Juan Carlos Paredes 6
Again, Paredes was pitched on the right of midfield, instead of in defence. He hugged the touchline and the advanced role allowed him to roam forward while still providing defensive cover for Nyom. One of his forays ended in him being fouled and Watford being awarded a penalty. A decent 20-minute cameo, highlighted by the way he cushioned a great ball from Alessandro Diamanti.
Alessandro Diamanti 6
He looked fitter than his previous outings, against Southampton and Swansea, but that wasn’t saying much. Showed a bit of skill and some intent to take on his man with couple of runs down the left. Picked out fellow sub Paredes with a pinpoint cross-field pass.