A stunning goal from Riyad Mahrez was the difference as Leicester City went five points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Watford on Saturday.
With Tottenham and Arsenal having shared the spoils in the north London derby earlier in the day, Claudio Ranieri’s surprise leaders visited Vicarage Road with the chance to establish a commanding advantage at the summit.
Leicester struggled to break down a Watford side who have also impressed for much of the campaign in a low-key first half.
But the deadlock was finally broken in style in the 56th minute when Mahrez netted his 15th league goal and his 11th away from home.
Leicester had numerous chances to put the game beyond doubt but were not made to pay for their profligacy as Watford struggled to create much in the final third.
Indeed, Leicester had little trouble in seeing the game out – the only worry coming in the form of a hamstring injury to Mahrez, who was substituted late on.
Leicester went close to opening the scoring in the fourth minute, with Heurelho Gomes only able to parry Christian Fuchs’ low drive before Nathan Ake produced an excellent tackle to prevent Shinji Okazaki from turning in the follow up.
Ake headed Ben Watson’s free-kick against the top of the crossbar at the other end seven minutes later but it was Leicester who continued to have the better of the play.
And the visitors spurned a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring in the 23rd minute as Jamie Vardy played in Mahrez down the left-hand side, but the Premier League’s top scorer could only fire wide from the Algeria international’s return pass.
Mario Suarez saw a long-range effort deflected into the arms of Kasper Schmeichel as Watford started the second half brightly.
But they fell behind courtesy of a piece of magic from Mahrez, who curled a superb left-footed strike beyond Gomes from just inside the area after Watford had failed to fully clear Fuchs’ left-wing cross.
Robert Huth then had a close-range header beaten away by Gomes as Leicester sought to kill the game off, before Wes Morgan turned Vardy’s dangerous low ball over.
Gomes was called into action again to keep out a less venomous effort from the excellent Mahrez.
Huth then headed a Fuchs free-kick wide in the 71st minute, while Watford’s best chance to level fell to leading scorer Odion Ighalo.
The striker could only nod straight at Schmeichel, though, as Leicester held firm on what could prove to be a pivotal day in their quest for a momentous title win.
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