Watford 1-2 Leicester City: Three Talking Points

Leicester City continued their winning run with a hard fought victory over Watford at Vicarage Road. The visitors took an early lead with a perfect Patson Daka penalty and doubled their lead in the second half with a wonderful team goal scored by captain Ricardo Pereira. 

Emmanuel Dennis pulled a goal back for Watford following a rare Harry Winks error. Spurred on by that goal the Hornets pushed hard for an equalizer, but the Foxes defended resolutely to see out the game.

Here are three talking points from the game
Ben Nelson
Ben Nelson / Malcolm Couzens/GettyImages

Dennis Praet's return to the team

Following a lengthy absence due to a back injury, Praet has been enjoying a consistent run of games with the high-flying Foxes, starting three of the last four matches and making a halftime appearance against Stoke City.

With Leicester short of central midfielders, Praet seems to be the man trusted by Enzo Maresca over Yunus Akgun and Kasey McAteer. While he’s yet to replicate some of the magical displays he has shown in a Leicester shirt, he’s certainly had solid games, fulfilling his midfield duties competently.

Against Watford, he completed 30 of his 32 pass attempts with 94% accuracy, executed both of his attempted long balls successfully, won a penalty with a skillful move, and triumphed in 3 of his 4 duels. Despite his lack of game time in recent months, his solid displays are encouraging signs of his return to form.

We all know how good Praet can be when he’s inspired so fans will be eager for him to take this chance and solidify himself as a regular starter in this team.

Ben Nelson and Connor Coady

The match against Watford marked a significant moment for young defender Ben Nelson, who made his debut for the club he has represented since the age of nine. While he faced a tough challenge, the young center-back adapted well. He struggled slightly in his duels, winning just one of his six ground duels, but overall, he delivered a commendable debut performance.

However, Nelson's start in place of the injured Jannik Vestergaard raises questions about Connor Coady's role in the team. Despite being signed as the club's first-choice center-back, Coady has found himself on the bench, with Maresca favoring Wout Faes and Vestergaard. With Vestergaard sidelined due to injury, Coady would have hoped for a starting role, but instead, he remained on the bench as Nelson made his debut.

Considering the challenging away fixture against Watford, Maresca might have considered starting Coady and saving Nelson's debut for the upcoming match against bottom-placed Sheffield Wednesday at the King Power Stadium.

Maresca’s Gesture to Winks

Harry Winks made an uncharacteristic error which gifted Watford a goal and a potential way back into the game after being two goals down. Most managers would be furious with such a mistake but Maresca seemed to deal with it well, even going as far as to embrace the midfield maestro right after the full time whistle.

In the post match interview, Maresca played down Winks’ mistake, calling it a part of his ‘process’ where he encourages his players to attempt passes in risky areas and play from the back. There are bound to be a few mistakes but Maresca is fine with that given how the Foxes have adapted to his ideology, shown when Winks picked out Pereira from a tight area for the captain to combine with Abdul Fatawu to score a wonderful team goal.