CLAUDE PUEL got an early Christmas gift as his Michelin star men gave Watford a STUFFING.
In a week when Leicester’s boss compared himself to an under-pressure cook facing the packed festive fixture list, his team served up the perfect starter.
Getty – Contributor10 New England star Ben Chilwell helps another Three Lions hopeful James Maddison celebrate after he made it 2-0 aftr 23 minutes
Head chef Jamie Vardy, recovered from injury, was back to his best as he scored and started the move that led to James Maddison hitting a goal of the season contender.
This was a Leicester team back to their counter-attacking best of the title-winning season two years ago.
Their pace was electric at times — and Watford certainly couldn’t keep up.
Javi Gracia’s team travelled up the M1 looking to recover from last week’s hammering from Liverpool and rediscover their blistering form from the start of the season.
Reuters10 Jamie Vardy tucks away his penalty opener for Leicester against Watford
Reuters10 James Maddison sees his fierce effort double the lead for the Foxes
Instead, Gracia saw their winless run stretch to four games and end with midfielder Etienne Capoue being shown a straight red card for a two-footed challenge on Kelechi Iheanacho.
The day had begun with unity, though.
It was another emotional afternoon at the King Power in what was the third home game since the Foxes’ beloved chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha tragically died in a helicopter crash.
Prior to kick-off, Watford fans unfurled a banner in tribute to the late Thai owner as his son and vice-chairman Aiyawatt watched on, moved by the gesture.
But his team did them proud.
AFP or licensors10 Ref Graham Scott sends off Watford's French midfielder Etienne Capoue in the final minutes
Reuters10 Watford's Isaac Success assesses Kelechi Iheanacho after the Foxes striker fell victim to a red-card lunge from Etienne Capoue
Despite their EFL Cup victory over Southampton on Tuesday going to penalties, Leicester looked the fresher team.
Puel’s men were quickest to every ball, closing down in numbers and breaking at pace.
Watford, with Isaac Success replacing Troy Deeney in the starting line-up, posed a threat on the counter-attack in the opening phases.
But the Foxes soon took control, and their breakthrough came just 11 minutes in when the increasingly impressive Ben Chilwell played in Vardy.
Ben Foster hesitated in coming off his line and was punished as Leicester’s leading man beat the Hornets keeper to the ball and was clattered by him.
Reuters10 Jamie Vardy is brought down for the early penalty that he himself converted
Reuters10 Watford keeper Ben Foster quizzes ref Graham Scott after conceding the spot-kick