Jamie Vardy’s first-half penalty had put the Foxes ahead, with the forward converting from the spot for the second week running after being brought down by Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.
James Maddison‘s superb volley helped Leicester climb to seventh in the Premier League as they claimed a comfortable victory over Watford. Maddison then made the points secure, juggling Marc Albrighton’s searching pass on his foot and knee before dispatching a sumptuous effort past Foster.
The visitors’ day went from bad to worse in the second half as they missed a succession of chances before midfielder Etienne Capoue was dismissed for a two-footed tackle on Kelechi Iheanacho late on.
The result leaves Watford, who have won just twice in their past 10 fixtures, in 10th while Leicester leapfrogs Manchester United, who play Southampton at 17:30 GMT.
While Watford dominated possession with 62% it was the hosts who demonstrated the greater attacking thrust, largely thanks to the pace and movement of their front four.
While Nampalys Mendy and Wilfred Ndidi laid the platform in midfield, the quartet of Vardy, Maddison, Albrighton and Demarai Gray prospered on the counter-attack.
Vardy’s run off the shoulder of Watford defenders Craig Cathcart and Adrian Mariappa resulted in Foster clattering in to him for the Leicester penalty – the 13th former England forward has converted out of 15 attempts in the top flight.
And a sweeping riposte initiated by Maddison from a Watford attack then brought the second goal, with Vardy turning Mariappa and Albrighton picking out the midfielder, who had raced 50 yards to receive his pass.
Leicester continued in the same vein after the break. Content to soak up pressure, Ricardo Pereira’s surge forward from full-back then released Gray, who smashed his shot against the post.
Watford fail to fire
The Watford manager Javi Gracia had suggested his team needed to rediscover their cutting edge in the build-up to this game.
But having managed just one goal in their previous three matches, there were few signs his players are close to recovering their goal-scoring instincts at the King Power Stadium.
Instead, it was more of the same for the Hornets, who also have a question mark over their form on the road, with this defeat their 14th in their last 19 matches away from Vicarage Road.
Top scorer, Roberto Pereyra’s form is symptomatic of those troubles. Four of the five goals scored by the Argentine this season have been at home and he passed up a glorious chance to reduce the gap early in the second half.
But he was not the only one guilty of wasting opportunities. Isaac Success fired over when through on goal and substitute Andre Gray missed three excellent chances as Gracia’s team battled in vain to retrieve the two-goal deficit.
Man of the match – James Maddison (Leicester City)
It was perfect’ – what they said
Leicester manager Claude Puel speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “The win was important against a strong opponent with a direct style and we forced them to open their lines. It was difficult but we managed it well and made a fantastic counter-attack move with great goals and a good clean sheet.
“We need to have a different response against any opponent. We needed to be strong and deeper than the last game but we needed to have the game to play counter-attack to adapt to the opponents’ style.
“It was a fantastic goal. The two goals were from counter-attack simplicity and good runs into space with a good understanding between players. It was perfect.”
Watford manager Javi Gracia: “In the last games we are leaving with similar situations and we need to try and improve and finish better and then these games will maybe finish better for us. Today was a good performance in the beginning with more possession, 62%, but it wasn’t enough because we didn’t shoot on target. We are around the goal posts but didn’t finish and we need to improve in that situation.
“It is frustrating but now we cannot do anything – we need to focus on the next game against Man City and be ready. We try to be demanding and be ready.”
On refereeing decisions: “I prefer to keep my opinion [to myself] because in the last games we have been unlucky with these decisions. I could see better for the [Etienne] Capoue red card and it is important the other player, [Kelechi] Iheanacho said he didn’t touch him then maybe we can find a solution.”
Penalty-winner Vardy – the stats
- Leicester City have won all five of their home Premier League matches against Watford, scoring 10 goals and conceding just once.
- Watford have won just one of their past 12 away matches at the King Power Stadium against Leicester in all competitions (D2 L9), a 2-1 victory in April 2013 in the Championship.
- Since the start of the 2014-15 season, Jamie Vardy has won more penalties in the Premier League than any other player (14).
- All three of Vardy’s Premier League goals against Watford have been at the King Power Stadium.
- James Maddison has been directly involved in four goals in his six Premier League home games for Leicester this season, scoring three and assisting one.
- Watford’s Etienne Capoue was sent off in a league game in Europe’s top five divisions for the first time since May 2013 for Toulouse versus Sochaux.
Leicester travel to Fulham on Wednesday 5 December (19:45 GMT) for their next Premier League fixture while Watford host leaders Manchester City on Tuesday 4 December (20:000 GMT).
Source: BBC News