Our Fan at the Game, Scott Davies gives you the view from the fans in the stands, its not BBC, its our Fan Report !!!
Watford were the visitors to the King Power in the Remembrance Day Fixture which is always a spectacle. The now widely popular tradition was started by Leicester 12 years ago, who have raised more than £150,000 for the Royal British Legion since its inception.
Whenever you mention Watford to me and I am sure many other City fans will be the same, I am taken back in time to that fateful day on 12th May 2013. It is etched into my memory. The Knockaert miss from the spot followed by the commentator shouting ‘Deneeeeeeeeeey!’ Even though the Foxes have since put those demons to bed, it is engraved in me along with relegation to League 1 and the 1993 play off heartache against Swindon.
Speculation linked Deeney with a move to City when we were promoted last year, but he stayed at Watford and was pivotal in their promotion last season and despite only one goal in the league before this game, he has been getting much praise from the pundits in what has been a steady start for the Hornets. Not only do Watford have decent firepower in Deeney, Ighalo, Abdi and Anya, they have also only conceded 10 goals so far this campaign, however 9 of those have come in the second half.
Team news brought no real surprises for City. Fuchs regaining his place over Ulloa, but once again, Kramaric was omitted from the match day squad.
The match ball was delivered by an RAF Helicopter and was followed by an impeccably observed minutes silence with the poignant ‘Last Post’ playing to a backdrop of a sea of white with a single red poppy formed from the clap banners that the club continue to provide.
Both teams started well in what was an evenly matched first half. Watford had the first real attempt on 10 minutes with a speculative Etienne Capoue shot from distance which Schmeichel saved comfortably. On 20, Watford came very close to opening the score after Ighalo unleashed a shot that struck the post and cannoned back out to Abdi. Schmeichel was quick to get back to his feet to save the follow up, punching the ball out for a corner.
In a half of few clear chances, Marc Albrighton did excellently to set himself up on 27 with a clever piece of skill to take out two defenders, however he couldn’t quite connect with his shot and Gomes held on diving to his left.Vardy had a shot saved on 38 after Kante set him up, but again Gomes saved with ease.
Ranieri had seen that the formation and shape wasn’t quite working with Vardy somewhat isolated and Mahrez not really having a specific role, so he brought on Okazaki for Schlupp at half time and switched Mahrez out right. Once again it was a great piece of tactical awareness from the Tinkerman, as suddenly we seemed much stronger in the middle and Mahrez featured more in his natural position.
Mahrez soon carved out an opportunity for Albrighton, however he again failed to really work the keeper and his shot went straight at Gomes in the centre of the goal.
With both teams looking fairly comfortable, someone behind me said ‘this has nil nil written all over it’. They were probably right, however as a ball fell to Kante, he did well to get himself into a shooting position, but delivered a somewhat weak shot towards goal. What happened next pretty much stunned everyone. Gomes failed to collect the ball and it trickled under him and into the bottom corner which blew the game wide open as it meant Watford now had to push for a goal.
Every catch Gomes made thereafter was greeted with ironic cheers from the City faithful. The Watford onslaught didn’t come though and City were cruising with Drinkwater once again pulling the strings in the middle. Vardy had a shot blocked on 61 after a superb break from the leagues top scorer and Morgan missed the resulting corner with a header well high and wide. However 2 minutes later, Gomes day got worse.
Kante delivered a peach of a ball towards the right channel which Vardy thrives on. His first touch was world class and he drove into the box with Gomes rushing out, clattering Vardy in the process. As Vardy was going away from goal, Gomes only received a yellow card, which was probably a fair decision from the Ref.
Mahrez looked set to take the spot kick, but the ball was handed to Vardy who duly smashed the ball home from 12 yards into the roof of the net becoming the only player to score in 9 straight games in the same season in the Premier League. Just 1 off equalling the overall record of 10 consecutive games.
Watford barely threatened, but in true City style, we had to make it uncomfortable for ourselves. The normally reliable Kante dithered on the ball facing towards his own goal and lost possession to Watford substitute Paredes who had only come on minutes before. Kante clumsily upended him for a clear penalty, which Deeney put away to make it 2-1 with 15 to play.
Mahrez had a brilliant shot saved in the 77th after some tricky footwork allowed himself to carve his way into the 18 yard box and unleash a curling shot, which Gomes did well to parry away, redeeming himself for his earlier mistake.
Deeney had a shot in the 82nd which Schmeichel gathered, but after that, there was little threat from the Hornets. Dyer and King came on in the closing stages for Albrighton and Mahrez and City saw the game out to reach 25 points after just 12 games.
Realistically, 12 more points should put us safe, but Ranieri wants 40. Anything after that is a bonus. Not too many people getting carried away with this superb start as we know how easy these things can change.
Once again we go into the international break in a healthy position and we have every chance of going to Tyneside on the 21st and taking all three points, which, depending on results could well put us back top of the Premier League!
OUR Man of the Match – N’Golo Kante …. do YOU agree ?