WATFORD, England (Reuters) – Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes scored two goals each as Leicester City thrashed relegated Watford 5-1 at Vicarage Road in the Premier League on Sunday, leaving the hosts without a home Premier League win this year.
Watford ended their run of 11 straight home defeats when they held Everton to a goalless draw on Wednesday but they were unable to go a step further as Leicester boosted their chances of a top-10 finish in style.
The result represented a poor send-off for outgoing manager Roy Hodgson, who will take charge of his final game when Watford travel to Chelsea next weekend.
“I don’t think any manager in the world could have saved us, Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster said. “It’s been a disappointing season, it’s been a bit of a disaster from start to finish.
“People definitely can’t be pinning blame on Roy Hodgson. He galvanised us a bit… got us working as a unit. The confidence has been so low. It doesn’t help when you’re getting battered and punished for mistakes.”
Watford led after six minutes through a half-volley from Joao Pedro after the away side failed to clear a corner, but James Maddison and Vardy scored in quick succession to turn the game in Leicester’s favour.
Midfielder Youri Tielemans capitalised on a defensive mix-up from Watford and squared the ball to Maddison, who steered it into an empty net to bring Leicester level with his 16th goal of the season across all competitions.
Maddison played a long ball forward and Foster raced off his line to punch it clear but Vardy headed it home to put Leicester ahead.
Barnes scored 30 seconds after the restart, volleying past Foster from substitute Marc Albrighton’s cross, and set up Vardy’s second with 20 minutes remaining for the striker to score his 14th league goal of the campaign.
With five minutes remaining, Leicester countered through Maddison and Barnes connected with the midfielder’s pass to coolly beat Foster as Watford slumped to their seventh defeat in eight league games.
“The attacking part of our game was outstanding,” Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers said. “We had that intensity… James Maddison’s quality was sensational – his passing, his delivery, work rate was very good.
“It was another unfortunate deflection from the corner which saw us concede… We’ll definitely be doing something (about that) come the summer.
“We’ve tried different structures throughout the season… Too many times, we’re not getting first contact. We’ll rectify that.”
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar)