Watford 1-1 Leicester
- Goals: Craig Dawson (£4.8m) | Ben Chilwell (£5.5m)
- Assists: Christian Kabasele (£4.3m) | Demarai Gray (£5.0m)
- Bonus Points: Chilwell x3, Adam Masina (£4.3m) x2, Dawson x1
Fantasy managers got a first look at the post-lockdown credentials of Ismaïla Sarr (£6.4m), Harvey Barnes (£6.2m) and Jamie Vardy (£9.7m) in a 1-1 draw at Watford on Saturday lunch-time.
It took a long time for the deadlock to be broken at Vicarage Road and the biggest immediate takeaway from a dull encounter was arguably little more than a Leicester clean sheet wipeout.
It looked as though the Foxes had banked three points and a shut-out, only for an improbable Craig Dawson (£4.8m) bicycle kick to rescue a point for Watford.
Brendan Rodgers’ side had taken the lead on 89 minutes when Ben Chilwell (£5.5m) fired a stunning effort past Ben Foster (£4.9m), a shot which cannoned off the nexus of crossbar and post before hitting the net.
The left-back had been found in space by substitute Demarai Gray (£5.0m), who was heavily involved in Leicester’s attacking play following his 65th-minute introduction for the ineffective Barnes.
The away side’s glee did not last long, however, as the concession of a corner in the 94th minute led to Dawson’s remarkable effort.
Christian Kabasele (£4.3m) was the first to get a touch on a bouncing ball in the area, which sent it towards his centre-half partner.
Dawson’s acrobatic shot was too powerful for Kasper Schmeichel (£5.4m), who got a hand to the ball but could only push it onto the post before it crossed the line.
Leicester were the dominant team for most of the first half, with Vardy heavily involved.
The striker’s first opportunity came when Chilwell broke into the box to deliver a near-post ball but Dawson did just enough to prevent an opening goal.
Vardy then capitalised on a Kabasele mistake to open up space for himself before firing past Foster’s right-hand post from 25 yards.
The striker also laid on a couple of shooting opportunities for his team-mates but Leicester failed to find their range in the opening half.
Indeed it was Watford who had the best chance in the first 45 minutes, with the Foxes almost undone by their commitment to playing the ball out from the back.
A poor Caglar Söyüncü (£4.9m) pass was miscontrolled by Wilfred Ndidi (£5.0m), with Troy Deeney (£6.2m) pouncing to find Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.6m) in the box. The midfielder, operating in the nuumber 10 role, fired his shot straight at Schmeichel.
Moments before, on 33 minutes, Doucoure did well to turn inside the box after being found by Adam Masina (£4.3m) but volleyed well over.
Amid some interest for the run-in, Sarr was heavily involved in Watford’s best attacking moments in the first half, crossing several times without finding a team-mate – though part of that was down to his fellow attackers not getting into goalscoring positions quickly enough.
Immediately before the half-time whistle, Sarr did produce a great cross to the back post but Roberto Pereyra (£5.6m) ended up in a tangle with team-mate Kabasele which ended up in the ball rolling wide.
Sarr then almost opened the scoring from the restart after being set through by a defence-splitting pass from Etienne Capoue (£4.8m). With Chilwell on his tail, Sarr got a shot off inside the box but Schmeichel spread himself well to keep the score at 0-0.
Deeney headed wide two minutes later, from a Kiko Femenia (£4.2m) cross, as home side Watford applied some early second-half pressure.
Before being taken off, Barnes almost found Vardy in acres of space but Foster appeared way outside his area to clear ahead of the striker.
Söyüncü was the next player to squander a decent opportunity, nodding wide from a wicked James Maddison (£7.5m) dead-ball delivery on 60 minutes.
The lively Gray put a shot over the crossbar before the 70-minute mark at the end of a passage of play which began with Vardy dragging the Watford defence out of position. However, the necessary support to capitalise on open space in front of Foster did not arrive in time.
Marc Albrighton (£5.1m) then came within inches of putting Leicester ahead, crashing a first-time effort off the crossbar after being found inside the box by Gray.
The active substitute laid on a shot for Maddison as the Foxes recycled possession, with Foster tipping the midfielder’s effort around his post.
As Watford tried to break the deadlock themselves, Sarr appeared to pull up as he attempted to once again race past the Leicester defence. Nothing official has been reported but it will be something to keep an eye out for ahead of the 17:00 (BST) deadline on Tuesday for Gameweek 31.
With a goal-less draw on the cards, Chilwell popped up to earn three bonus points with his sweet strike before Dawson wheeled off in a late celebration after his bicycle kick.
Watford full-backs Femenia and Masina were both substituted before Leicester scored, with the latter adding two bonus points to his clean sheet.
“It is different but there is still an edge in the game. I am pleased for the players who showed good fitness levels. In the second half we looked like the team who would win it. We get a brilliant goal and are unfortunate for the corner, Craig Dawson makes a good finish but it hits the defender’s toe and loops up. We have to accept that and move on. Ben Foster has made some good saves and our intensity was building. The creativity was there. It was always going to be difficult but I’m proud of the team’s fitness. It is just unfortunate in the end. I thought Demarai Gray was outstanding when he came on. Strategically you are always looking to when you can bring the fitness into the team. We changed things but I felt for the players to concede so late through some bad luck. But it is OK. Hopefully, it will be a good point for us at the end of the season. When you have Ben Chilwell’s quality, it is worthy of winning the game. It is important that full-backs can contribute like that.” – Brendan Rodgers
Meanwhile, Nigel Pearson reflected on a hard-earned point for his relegation scrappers.
“It is a really strange day. We all hope we can perform how we want to but there are unknowns. For the players who thrive on atmosphere and emotional attachment it will be difficult to get used to. But I am happy with the spirit. They are a possession-based side but we have created good chances. To get something out of it is a testimony to the spirit of the players. Let’s hope it doesn’t stay like this for too long. It is not something we’d thrive on. We need to negotiate this period of time and as a football club we need to what we can to retain our status. We are pleased with how our players have coped and get something out of the game. They know they have shown good characteristics. I know our fan watching this on TV will have enjoyed the goal. In their absence we have still shown the capacity to bounce back when things have gone against us. We want them back here when it is safe, Our responsibility in the meantime is that when they come back here next it is for Premier League football. Let him [Dawson] have his moment. He has been patient. Before lockdown he lost his place through a slight injury. It is never easy to have players who are really keen to get back in. I am glad we voted for the substitute change. We needed to make changes. It is a really good point against a good team. We have proved to ourselves we can compete.” – Nigel Pearson
Watford XI (4-2-3-1): Foster; Masina (Holebas 87′), Dawson, Kabasele, Femenia (Mariappa 76′); Hughes, Capoue (Chalobah 76′); Pereyra (Welbeck 68′), Doucoure (Cleverley 76′), Sarr; Deeney.
Leicester City XI (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Chilwell, Söyüncü, Evans, Justin; Ndidi; Barnes (Gray 64′), Maddison, Tielemans (Choudhry 75′), Albrighton (Iheanacho 82′); Vardy.
Double Gameweek 30+ FPL Lessons Learned
- Aston Villa 0-0 Sheffield United
- Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal
- Norwich City 0-3 Southampton
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United
- Watford 1-1 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 Arsenal
- West Ham United 0-2 Wolves
- Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace
- Newcastle United 3-0 Sheffield United
- Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea
- Everton 0-0 Liverpool
- Manchester City 5-0 Burnley
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