Leicester City 2 Watford 0: Vardy & Mahrez decisive as Puel's men go seventh
Leicester City's star men Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez made the difference as Claude Puel's men comfortably beat Watford 2-0 at the King Power Stadium, moving them up to seventh in the Premier League.
The Foxes looked significantly the more threatening in attack and, although they wasted several chances, victory never looked in doubt as Vardy's first-half penalty was added to late on by the lively Mahrez.
Watford's recent run of just one win – against Leicester on Boxing Day – in 10 league matches rarely looked like being improved upon, as their opponents dominated the first period.
Leicester were deserving of the lead when Vardy found the net from the spot in the 39th minute, after winning his 13th penalty since the start of the 2014-15 season, more than any other player.
13 - Since the start of 2014-15, Jamie Vardy has won more penalties in the Premier League than any other player (13). Nuisance.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 20, 2018
Puel's side remained in the ascendancy upon the restart and continued to craft opportunities, but Watford managed to survive several scares.
Andre Gray made an impression late on after coming on as a substitute, before Mahrez's fine solo goal made sure of three points for Leicester as they moved above Burnley on goal difference.
There was every indication early on that Watford's defenders were going to be in for a long day, as Leicester started the contest in a voracious mood.
Vardy was the first to go close in the sixth minute, catching Watford short at the back and forcing Orestis Karnezis into a save with a rasping 20-yard drive, before Shinji Okazaki sent the rebound over with a diving header.
Karnezis had to be alert again a few moments later, crucially tipping Wilfred Ndidi's header around the post.
Watford did improve slightly and Andre Carrillo gave Kasper Schmeichel something to do with 20 minutes played, drilling a low strike at the Dane from distance.
But Leicester soon took control again and deservedly went ahead six minutes before the break.
Vardy darted into the area and was tripped by former Leicester team-mate Molla Wague, with the England international coolly dispatching the resulting spot-kick into the bottom-right corner.
Watford showed few signs of encouragement after the break and nearly found themselves two behind in the 51st minute, but Okazaki's left-footed effort was easily gobbled up by Karnezis following Vardy's cut-back.
They had another escape just before the hour mark, as Marvin Zeegelaar cleared at the vital moment after Ben Chilwell's low delivery across the face of goal looked set to find Vardy.
The visitors were afforded a rare chance 23 minutes from the end, but Gray saw his effort kept out by Schmeichel after the ball dropped kindly in the area.
Gray saw another opportunity go to waste soon after, racing into the left side of the area and seeing his effort brilliantly saved by Schmeichel when one-on-one.
And Leicester took full advantage of that let-off to wrap things up in stoppage time – Mahrez skipping past Christian Kabasele and slotting into the right side of the net.
Full-time: Leicester City - Watford
— Leicester City (@LCFC) January 20, 2018