Bottom of the table Watford have relieved their manager of his duties ahead of their visit to the King Power and will be led by u23 manager Hayden Mullins. Here are some areas the game could be decided.
1. Hayden who?
There’s a good chance you have heard of the Hornets’ interim manager Hayden Mullins; he played over 150 times in the Premier League and more than 600 in english football. What none of us really know is what he’s like as a manger.
The former Crystal Palace and West Ham United defender has been with their development squad for three years, but has yet to take charge of a first team match at any level. We don’t know what style or system he might prefer, although he hasn't had much time to implement changes anyway.
Would love to see my ex team mate Hayden Mullins given the Watford gig at least til the end of the season. Been earning his stripes at youth level and if he’s half as calm as a Manager as he was a player, he might just do a decent job. Go on Cas’!— Daniel Gabbidon (@Gabbidon35) December 3, 2019
Watford have favoured a back five system in recent weeks, which did seem to give us problems against Everton. Still, you wouldn’t be surprised to see big changes to a side that lost to Southampton regardless of manager, so there’s really not a lot to go on.
This is really just a way of saying I have no way to predict what they’ll look like or which 11 will be sent out. Take the following with some pinches of salt.
2. Follow the threat
Watford have only scored 9 goals so far, comfortably the worst return in the league, so there’s not a lot of threat going around. Almost all of what danger there is will come from Gerard Deulofeu.
The former Barcelona youth player leads the team in xG, xA, goals and assists (although it is just two of each). If the Foxes are to get back to keeping clean sheets, it’s pretty clear who they’ll need to watch most closely.
Remember when Gerard Deulofeu was Barcelona’s next big thing?— Goal (@goal) November 12, 2019
If only he did stuff like this more often pic.twitter.com/3hZUnkCuQX
The Spaniard has been used on the right, left and through the centre this season. Combined with the possible changes from a new manager, he could pop up anywhere across the pitch.
Fortunately, the Foxes have players all across the pitch who can deal with his ability. Still, the threat from those around him is so low at the moment that it would’t hurt to shuffle some extra attention his way, as soon as we know where that is.
3. Maddison and Tielemans vs 10 men behind the ball
The Hornets have paired their inept attack with one of the worst defences in the league. If you can’t hold onto a lead against Southampton, you shouldn’t expect to have many in the first place.
As bad as they’ve been, they are surely going to give defending a real try. They’re glued to the bottom of the table, with a former defender now in charge, away from home against 2nd place. If it’s only 10 men behind the ball, we’re getting away with something.
Again with Vardy, showing similar qualities with negative movement in the blind spot of the defender.— Matt Gordon (@mattyflash23) December 2, 2019
A common theme through individuals, with Tielemans and Maddison experts in this movement in tighter areas of the field too. #LCFC pic.twitter.com/MKVupfpuTj
As ever, that’s going to leave Leicester City reliant on the talents of James Maddison and Youri Tielemans. Sometimes breaking down a packed defence requires a moment of magic, and both are capable of providing that.
In fact, we haven’t really struggled with that all season. Newcastle and Southampton set out that way and both went pretty well. Spreading the talent around certainly helps with that and the Foxes will be confident in finding a way through eventually.