As if their historic 2015-16 Premier League title win was not enough, Leicester once again defied the odds to lift the FA Cup in the 2020-21 season, with Youri Tielemans’s thunderbolt of an effort sinking Chelsea in front of a depleted Wembley crowd.
The images of Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha joining the celebrations on the field warmed the hearts of football fans across the globe in what was a fitting tribute to his late father, but the quest for back-to-back FA Cup titles begins now.
Aiming to follow in the footsteps of Arsenal’s 2014 and 2015 winners, Leicester are well-placed to kick off their FA Cup journey on the right foot, as Brendan Rodgers’s COVID-hit squad came up trumps against a near full-strength Liverpool in their final game of 2021 thanks to Ademola Lookman’s strike.
The Foxes were due to open 2022 with a fixture against Norwich City before the game was called off due to the Canaries’ coronavirus cluster, and that encounter would have certainly helped them build on their measly tally of two wins from their last seven in all competitions.
However, Leicester are enjoying a four-game winning run at home across all tournaments – averaging three goals per game in that hot streak – but they will be wary of another early exit following Newport County’s famous third-round win in 2018-19.
Claudio Ranieri’s stint at Chelsea did not yield an FA Cup victory, and given the form his Watford side are currently in, it will be a tall order for the Hornets to produce the shock of all shocks in the 2021-22 edition.
Watford memorably made it all the way to the final in the 2018-19 season before being comfortably swept aside by Manchester City, and since then they have suffered back-to-back third-round exits to Tranmere Rovers and Manchester United.
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December was a truly forgettable month for Watford, who lost all five of their Premier League games in that month to drop ever closer to danger, and Ranieri may prioritise the relegation scrap over a highly unlikely shot at silverware.
Watford travel to an injury-hit Leicester having lost their last three away games and are hardly in the healthiest shape themselves, but stranger things have happened in this competition notorious for giant killings season after season.
Leicester put four past Watford in a 4-2 victory when the sides met in the Premier League back in November, and while the Hornets tend to fare well in this fixture at Vicarage Road, they have lost their last six games versus the FA Cup holders at the King Power