Heurelho Gomes 7.5
The Brazilian has recovered brilliantly from his nightmare afternoon at the King Power in November and in the process of putting one firm hand on the club’s player of the year trophy, has barely made a mistake since. Yet the raw speed of Jamie Vardy once again affected his decision making in coming off his line and he was caught in no-man’s land early on as the England international sped onto a ball over the top. Gomes conceded a penalty from a similar position at Leicester. His shot-stopping was again of the highest order, not least in the first half when he dived to his left to prevent Christian Fuchs from finding the bottom corner and again in the second when he kept out a Robert Huth header.
Allan Nyom 6
Did well to get up after N’Golo Kante left his foot in early on. Ticking, Nyom got his revenge, but on Marc Albrighton, and was spoken to by the referee. Slipped over not once but twice in the same phase of play in front of the dugout and you wonder where exactly the ball is going to end up when he swings that less favoured left foot of his. It was from his stronger right foot, however, that Troy Deeney headed the chance of the match into the path of Odion Ighalo.
Sebastian Prodl 6.5
The Austrian told us last month he prefers to play against physical forwards like Diego Costa than fleet-footed ones like Vardy and it showed early on. Vardy left him for dead following early balls over the top and, again, down the inside left channel in the second half. He lost his bearings completely in one first-half phase but recovered well to put Vardy off at the vital moment in the six-yard box. The Austria coach Marcel Koller was in the Vicarage Road crowd as he prepares for Euro 2016 games against France, Albania and Romania. Prodl played better, much better, against Manchester United.
Nathan Ake 8.5
To switch, at the last minute, from left-back to centre-half and play with the assuredness, calmness and excellence he did bodes well for what will surely be a long career at the highest level. The 21-year-old looked the most composed member of the newly-formed back four and he took time out from minding the shop to leap prodigiously and head against the top of the crossbar. His positioning, when Vardy dangerously cut the ball back from the byline across the face just past the hour, was immaculate as he prevented Andy King from a simple tap in. He was so in the mood he tried his luck from long range and although the effort went high and wide, it was a sign of the confidence he was playing with. No wonder Chelsea want him back in the summer
Jose Holebas 6
Was preparing himself for an afternoon trying to keep warm on the bench until Britos pulled up lame. Within a minute of kick-off he was inside the box having a crack at goal after successive slick one-twos with Deeney and Etienne Capoue. He gave Mario Suarez a volley after he played him a hospital pass and took it out on Shinji Okazaki, slamming the clearance into him with such force it ricochet out for a Watford goal kick. He rose imperiously to head away an Albrighton cross at the back end of the first half before getting progressively worse in the second. His mis-directed header gave Riyad Mahrez the chance to crack in the winner and he gave the Algerian the chance to add a second by trying to be too clever in playing out of defence. Did well to win a goal kick after being boxed in the left-hand corner by Mahrez right in front of the away fans.
Ben Watson 6
Leicester have conceded ten goals from headers this season, including seven from corners. This was therefore the night for Watson to be pin-point accurate with his set-pieces. He failed to deliver, which was strange as Watford had been a constant threat from his inswinging corners at Old Trafford. He picked Deeney out from kick-off in a pre-planned move but he was off radar thereafter. He defended diligently, as always, particularly when he snuffed out Mahrez on the byline in the first half. He looked tired and in need of a few days off and even a rest.
Mario Suarez 7
It was slightly perplexing when his number was held up just past the hour mark as this was his best performance since he signed from Fiorentina. We’d have kept him on and hooked Watson. He took a while to get into the game but once he did, he played the ball forward, instead of sideways, at every opportunity and produced one thumping header from a Kasper Schmeichel clearance. His best moment was a surge past Danny Drinkwater, a fend off of Mahrez before testing Schmeichel with a deflected effort. With a defence-splitting pass from deep, the former Atletico Madrid man also forced Schmeichel to come racing off his line and head clear with Deeney lurking menacingly.
Etienne Capoue 6
Excellent at Old Trafford but average here. Roamed around on the left-flank with little purpose or conviction and it’s difficult to remember him contributing too much. He played one Hollywood pass, crossfield from left to right, to pick out Nyom on the opposite flank but did little to penetrate the Leicester defence. He was deeper than the overlapping Holebas at times and did the bare minimum. Made way for Obbi Oulare as Watford chased an equaliser.
Nordin Amrabat 7.5
This was partly why Watford broke their transfer record, for this type of all-action, effervescent display. He was full of running and a real nuisance throughout. Fuchs definitely knew he was in a game and had to be on his mettle. There is nothing subtle about the Moroccan and he will run through or over his marker rather than produce a piece of skill to leave them for dead and go round them. Stationed on the right instead of the left where he prefers, Amrabat was booked for trying too enthusiastically to win Watford a penalty and if the home side were going to score, it was going to come from something he did. He started the first-half move that led to a snapshot from Deeney and it often required two Leicester defenders to keep him quiet. Even then he managed to muscle and wriggle his way past Fuchs and Jeffrey Schlupp. Needs an end product.
Troy Deeney 6.5
This was one of those afternoons, or evenings, when Deeney looked like he wasn’t having much fun and like the weight of the world and the team was on his broad shoulders. He moaned too much and threw his hands up in frustration all too often. He met his physical match in the strapping Wes Morgan and you knew it wasn’t going to be his night when he fell under pressure from Kante in a dangerous area. Despite not scaling the dizzy heights he reached against United, he could have put Watford in front with a first-half chance and teed up Ighalo for the best chance of the match.
Odion Ighalo 6
Would there have been much to lose if Obbi Oulare had played from the start instead of him? Oulare would hardly have been blamed for another blank or if the team had lost by a bigger margin. Ighalo is out of sorts and spent far too much time petitioning to the referee about the muscular approach of Morgan and Huth. He brilliantly skipped inside Morgan down the left in the first half but apart from that, the Foxes’ commanding centre-halves had him on a tight leash. When Ighalo sees the late chance again, he will probably feel he had time to take the ball down and score or be braver under pressure from Huth.
Almen Abdi 6
His Watford career is fading fast and he’ll do well to make the cut next season. He was twice involved in a mix-up with Capoue, the first of which led to Kante sprinting clear on the counterattack, and snatched at a long-range effort near the end.
Summoned from the bench late on to provide some pace and width. Barely touched the ball.
If you are going to bring him in from the cold to be on the bench, why not go the whole hog and start him? His mere presence caused Claudio Ranieri to flap on the touchline and reorganise. Made a nuisance of himself for the two minutes he was on.
Quique Sanchez Flores 6
Could be accused of short changing the fans yesterday. With the points total required to stay up likely to be much less than 40, he would lose little in releasing the shackles earlier than expected. The restoration to the bench of Oulare and Adlene Guedioura took us completely by surprise. Ranieri, the man he replaced at Valencia, won the tactical battle with two astute half-time changes.