They have had their titanic battles in the Championship over recent years, but now Leicester City and Watford meet in the Premier League with both sides ecstatic with the start they have made to the season.
There was clearly luck involved for Leicester regarding a couple of penalty shouts at West Bromwich Albion last weekend, but on the balance of play they certainly deserved to come out on top. Ahead of that game against their Midlands rivals, there were questions posed over whether the top-flight’s current most dynamic duo could get the better of the side which had kept more clean sheets than any other this term. And the answer was an emphatic ‘yes’.
Jamie Vardy joined Daniel Sturridge and Ruud van Nistelrooy as the only players to have scored in eight successive Premier League matches, and as he ran through for his goal at the Hawthorns, the finish was never in doubt. Riyad Mahrez cannot be forgotten as he helped himself to a stylish brace to take his tally to an impressive seven. The visit of Watford will provide a similar test, as they have conceded fewer goals than any other team outside the top six.
With Leicester riding so high in third place there is bound to be a great confidence about them here, but Watford are a side also in high spirits after convincingly winning their last two games. The authority with which they brushed aside a West Ham United team which had conquered the very best on their travels this season was eyecatching, and certainly suggests that the Hornets have enough about them to remain in the Premier League this season.
Manager Quique Flores continues to impress with his consumate defensive organisation, and under the Spaniard the strike partnership between Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo continues to thrive, with the latter grabbing both against the outplayed Hammers. Another player who is showing promise is Nathan Ake. The Chelsea loanee is looking to kick-start his career and has clearly shown signs of what he capable of over the past two weeks, so he will be one to watch here.
Matt James is the only player out for Leicester, with Vardy having shaken off a minor Achilles problem over the course of the week.
Watford will again be without playmaker Jose Manuel Jurado and defender Joel Ekstrand, but are likely to name the same starting XI which beat West Ham.
Last Meeting (Premier League): Leicester moved up to fifth place in the Premier League with a narrow win from a dominant performance against Watford at Filbert Street in August 1999. Midfielder Muzzy Izzet made the telling contribution, scrambling the ball home from close range from Steve Guppy’s cross-shoton the stroke of half-time.
Played for both – Jordan Stewart: The left-back started his career at Leicester and made 110 appearances, 38 of which coming in the Premier League, where his only goal came at Manchester City in 2003. He joined Watford in the summer of 2005 and helped them to the top-flight in his first season. Following promotion, he appeared in 31 games in the 2006-07 season without scoring.