Riyad Mahrez’s header opened the scoring in the 37th minute, his sixth goal of the campaign, but Malian defender Molla Wagué cancelled the arrears for the Hornets before the break.
Despite encouraging signs from the Foxes, an unfortunate own goal from Kasper Schmeichel, forced by tenacious play from Abdoulaye Doucouré, handed Marco Silva’s hosts a first win in seven.
After a 2-2 draw with Manchester United, Claude Puel made four changes with Aleksandar Dragović, Ben Chilwell, Andy King and Shinji Okazaki in for Danny Simpson, Christian Fuchs, Vicente Iborra and Demarai Gray.
A competitive early spell paid witness to three yellow cards in just 12 minutes, a caution for Harry Maguire among them, but the Foxes battled hard to break free of the midfield battleground.
However, Vardy was unable to pick his spot beyond Heurelho Gomes in the Watford net, sending a low effort agonisingly wide of the near post from the edge of the box.
Albrighton was also central to the move which led to Mahrez’s opener. He turned on the byline, crossed well and the Algerian arched his neck to nod it back across goal, into the corner.
Disappointed to lose, thought we had enough chances to get something out of the game. Thanks for your support 💙⚽️🦊 #lcfc— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) December 26, 2017
Just moments after Brazilian ace Richarlison fired wide, Silva’s men levelled the scores through former Foxes loanee Wagué, who bundled a corner past Schmeichel at the near post in the 45th minute.
Tom Cleverley, who also enjoyed a temporary stay on Filbert Way in 2009, very nearly added another for the hosts before the interval, but his free-kick whistled just wide. Richarlison was also denied by the post.
After 20 minutes of the second period, it was 2-1 when Cleverley’s free-kick evaded everybody in the Foxes box - everybody but Doucouré - during an unfortunate sequence of events.
Ndidi Reflects On Watford Result
Wilfred Ndidi spoke to LCFC TV at full-time in Hertfordshire on Boxing Day.
The Frenchman sent a shot back in the opposite direction, from a tight angle on the left. Despite his best efforts, there was little Schmeichel could do to stop it from ricocheting over the line.
Molla Wagué’s equaliser came at a point when City were largely in control of the clash and could have held a greater advantage than just a solitary goal.
It came at a frustrating time for the Foxes, just before half-time, and acted as a stimulus for the Hertfordshire outfit to go and secure all three points for the first time since November.
So often a source of creativity, Marc Albrighton was once again in the thick of everything for Leicester, both opening up Watford’s defence and putting in a shift for his team at the back.
It was his contribution which led to Riyad Mahrez’s header. Adorning a bandage for much of the clash after a collision of heads in the first half, his desire and work-rate should never be questioned.
Where does it leave us?
City remain in eighth position in the Premier League table, six points adrift of Burnley. A 10-point gap separates Claude Puel’s men from both the top four and the bottom three.
A trip to Liverpool on Saturday awaits the Foxes next (3pm kick-off) before the visit of Huddersfield Town to King Power Stadium on New Year’s Day.
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