Go for a low-scoring game when Watford welcome high-flying Leicester City to Vicarage RoadPublished March 4, 2016
Tuesday night was one of disappointment and frustration for Leicester City, as they drew 2-2 at home to West Bromwich Albion and presented the chasing pack with an opportunity to close the gap at the top of the table.
Wednesday evening was an altogether different matter though, with Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester City all losing to ensure that, with 10 rounds of matches remaining, the Foxes retain a three-point lead over Tottenham in second spot.
Even so, there are signs that the pressure might just be starting to impact on Claudio Ranieri’s unlikely heroes, with Tuesday’s draw coming after a scrappy and unconvincing 1-0 win over Norwich City last Saturday, where only a late Leonardo Ulloa goal secured a somewhat fortuitous victory.
They haven’t made quite the headlines of Leicester, but this has been an excellent season for Watford too. They have little left to play for in the Premier League, with enough points on the board to already be realistically safe from the threat of relegation. The Hornets also have an FA Cup quarter-final to look forward to, so could be forgiven if their focus was shifted elsewhere.
Even so, they were unfortunate not to take at least a point from Wednesday’s trip to Old Trafford where they were only beaten by a late Juan Mata free-kick. The problem is that the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United means that they have now scored just five goals in nine Premier League matches in 2016. Odion Ighalo, so prolific in the first half of the season, has scored just one Premier League goal this year.
There is now a growing level of expectation on Leicester that they’ve not faced previously and a trip to Vicarage Road presents an awkward obstacle. The Foxes go into the game (5.30pm KO, Saturday) as favourites and will already know the outcome of the North London derby by the time they kick-off. Whatever they may say, the result there could impact how Leicester approach this game.
In 14 Premier League games at Vicarage Road to date, there have only been 24 goals scored. That’s the lowest at any top-flight stadium. Leicester have scored 27 on the road this season, which is the most of any team, but they might just find the Hornets a difficult nut to crack.