Hamza Choudhury, James Maddison and Ademola Lookman stood out as Leicester City cruised to a 4-1 win over Watford in the FA Cup third round.

Leicester City began the game strongly and went ahead in the seventh minute, as Youri Tielemans converted from the spot after Francisco Sierralta had pulled Jannik Vestergaard inside the box. After that, the Foxes were in total control and were two to the good in the 25th minute, as James Maddison scored from close range after being released by Ademola Lookman.

Moments later, Watford managed to pull a goal back through Joao Pedro, who dinked the ball over Danny Ward to make it 2-1. Leicester had nearly total control over the proceedings for much of the rest of the game. And after almostย restoring their two-goal cushion moments into the second half, Harvey Barnes scored Leicester’s third after being set up by Ademola Lookman.

Marc Albrighton rounded off the win in the 85th minute with a superb finish, as Leicester City began the defence of their FA Cup crown with a thumping win over Watford. The Foxes will find who they will be facing in the fourth round in Sunday’s draw. The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Brendan Rodgers’s men.

Danny Ward: 6/10

Ward did not have much to do in the game and will be disappointed that he could not keep a clean sheet. However, he could not have done much to deny Joao Pedro for the Watford goal.

Marc Albrighton: 7/10

With Kasper Schmeichel rested, Albrighton donned the captain’s armband for Leicester and led by example on Saturday. The experienced wide-man was a constant outlet down the right flank, outplaying teammate Ayoze Perez who operated on the same flank. He capped off a solid performance with a smart goal.

Hamza Choudhury: 8/10

One of few players reprising makeshift roles, Choudhury was immense despite playing out of position. Apart from a couple of positional issues, the youngster showed no signs of getting caught out and read the game brilliantly throughout. The 24-year-old won each of the duels he contested while also making a couple of big blocks.

Jannik Vestergaard: 6/10

Making a rare start for Leicester, Vestergaard endured a game of hits and misses. The Dane won the penalty that Youri Tielemans converted, but he was pulled out of position too easily in the build-up to the Watford goal. However, he made one big block in the second half to keep Leicester comfortably in front.

Vontae Daley-Campbell: 5/10

Starting as the left-back, Daley-Campbell was never really comfortable in the game and struggled against the tricky Joao Pedro. While he did complete three tackles and two interceptions, he made no impact whatsoever in the final third. It was hardly surprising that he was hooked off at half-time by Rodgers.

Youri Tielemans: 7/10

Tielemans started this season’s FA Cup campaign just as he had ended it in 2020/21 – by breaking the deadlock. And the Belgian international was in total control in the game, completing all but six of his attempted passes despite the fast-paced nature of the match. Some of his tackles were critical, and he won six duels in the game.

Lewis Brunt: 7/10

Making his first-team debut for Leicester, Brunt looked ready for the challenge and was not overwhelmed by the occasion. The 21-year-old showed maturity beyond his years to keep the Foxes in controlย of the proceedings while using long balls to open up play nicely. The youngster won nine duels and completed five clearances and four tackles.

Ayoze Perez: 5/10

Rodgers surprisingly chose to deploy Perez on the right flank and Ademola Lookman to spearhead the Leicester attack. And while the decision partly paid off, Perez was a passenger for much of his outing, and he was largely anonymous out wide. He needs to find a way to get into the game even when playing in an unfavourable position.

James Maddison: 8/10

Much to Rodgers’s relief, Maddison was passed fit to take on Watford. And the English international provided a reminder as to why he is such a crucial player for Leicester. The star playmaker pulled the strings brilliantly while playing a game-high four key passes. The cherry on top was his goal in the first half, with the finish being delightful.

Harvey Barnes: 6.5/10

Back in the starting lineup, Barnes was typically boisterous in the final third, although there were also a few wasteful touches. The Englishman was not at his creative best but showed superb movement before latching on to Lookman’s pass to score Leicester’s third of the game.

Ademola Lookman: 8/10

Installed as the central striker in the absence of Jamie Vardy, Patson Daka and Kelechi Iheanacho, Lookman did not look overawed by playing in an unfamiliar position. The 24-year-old linked up brilliantly with those behind him, and his passes to set up the goals by Maddison and Barnes were delightful. On another day, he could have also celebrated scoring a goal.

SUBSTITUTES

Wanya Marcal-Madivadua: 7/10

Marcal-Madivadua replaced Daley-Campbell at half-time and made a major impression. The 19-year-old completed each of his attempted passes and even mustered a shot. A step in the right direction for the youngster.

Kasey McAteer: N/A

Making his maiden FA Cup appearance, McAteer did not get too involved in the final 15 minutes of the game.

Will Alves: N/A

A late introduction, Alves made his first-team debut with a cameo in the dying embers of the game.

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