Leicester are one point clear of third-bottom Southampton, while the defending champions Chelsea have been knocked off the top of the table by Manchester City’s 5-1 thumping of Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.
Watford remain the only side in the Premier League with a losing record in their first 13 matches, but it is way too early to be making predictions about their finishing position. Leicester’s 2-0 win at Vicarage Road on the first day of the season has stood the test of time. Ranieri’s Leicester were the most unexpected team to take the title two years ago and they again proved to be impenetrable at home.
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Jamie Vardy was starting for the first time this season – five days after celebrating his birthday – and had hardly been involved in the match in the first half, although Leicester were content to set up camp in Watford’s half and see what they could muster. They didn’t have to wait too long to score.
Leicester’s wall of defence contained many of the players who were at fault for their opening goal on the same ground last season, when they let Odion Ighalo nod a cross into the net for the opener. M’Baye Niang and Vardy led the attack and were supported well by Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy. Leicester had done a good job of not giving Watford confidence, which proved their undoing as Ayew’s pass across goal for Bolasie to slot beyond Ron-Robert Zieler with almost the last touch of the half highlighted the chance Watford felt was there for the taking.
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Ranieri made three changes at the break and surprisingly gave Vardy and James Maddison a chance, while Gabriel Jesus was kept quiet, although he did have a good attempt. It was Vardy who gave Leicester the lead on 58 minutes. Watford rushed out to mark Demarai Gray’s left-wing cross but only managed to reach the cross, and Vardy used his height to chest the ball down before volleying past Ben Foster.
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Ranieri rolled the dice with the second goal, sending on Vicente Iborra for Gray. Iborra played a ball down the right channel for James Maddison, who helped the ball on before shooting into the bottom corner.
Villa have drawn two of their past three games, including a 0-0 stalemate at Chelsea, and their last victory was at home to Leicester. Paul Clement’s team currently lie in 16th place.
Watford stayed one point behind their opponents in 17th position.