Leicester have had their fun this season but here, against Watford at Vicarage Road, they were forced to dig deep. For a long time, it looked as though the Hornets may steal a point away from the league leaders but these types of games often require the special talents of one player and, for Claudio Ranieri, that player was once again Riyad Mahrez. 

The Algerian has performed better this season than in this game but it was his composure and eye for goal that delivered three precious points for the Foxes and stretched their lead at the top of the table to five points. 

A lot of people can look at hashtags with scorn but #FearlessFoxes pretty much encapsulates the spirit and endeavour of Claudio Ranieri's men this season​ and they looked to negotiate another stern assessment of their title credentials with a fast start. 

Vardy nearly found himself on the scoresheet after just three minutes and it was Leicester through and through. Fuchs played a straightforward ball over the top, for the striker to chase and he got there ahead of Gomes. He zoomed past the keeper but his shot from a tight angle was cleared by Ake. 

Watford v Leicester City - Premier League

Watford had their moments though, notably when Ake hit the bar with a looping header after impressively out-leaping Morgan.

But it was the away side who looked more likely to breaking the deadlock and Vardy was left cursing himself when he spurned an excellent chance after 23 minutes. It was Vardy who started a promising move, robbing Prodl of possession and slipping in Mahrez. The Algerian, strangely quiet throughout the first 45 minutes, beared down on goal before selflessly squaring it to Vardy. A certain goal, it seemed, but Prodl had recovered well and it was his last-ditch challenge that forced Vardy into firing wide. 

Although the Deeney-Ighalo connect hadn't quite clicked for Quique Flores' Hornets, they would pop up sporadically to scare Leicester. Their best chance fell to Deeney after a cross from the right met his run perfectly, only for him to drive his shot straight at Schmeichel. 

Vicarage Road gasped, Deeney grimaced, Ranieri blew his cheeks on the touchline. It was a fascinating clash of styles; Leicester's relentless quest for supremacy pitted against the admirable stubbornness of the men in yellow. 

Watford v Leicester City - Premier League

He may not have been at his brilliant best but Mahrez showed the hallmark of a great player in grabbing the all-important breakthrough. It was the product of patient build-up play, too, with the Foxes keeping the ball expertly before releasing Fuchs down the left. His deep cross was only half cleared and Mahrez, showing impressive composure on the edge of the area, curled a beautiful shot past Gomes and into the top corner. 

The pace was relentless. Leicester were hungry for more. Firstly, Gomes made a smart save to deny a close-range header from Huth before Ake made a vital intervention two yards from goal to stop Vardy's pass reaching King, who would have had the easiest of tap-ins. 

Perhaps the electrifying football on show from Leicester was owed partially to the introduction of Schlupp, who had replaced the ineffective Albrighton and made a genuine impression. Indeed, it was the Ghanian winger who almost engineered a second for his team, fizzing a glorious low cross which should have been met by either Vardy or Mahrez at the far post. 

Leicester rode their luck at times. Deeney set up Ighalo for a header less than six-yards out but Watford's top-scorer betrayed his finishing abilities with a weak header, which didn't trouble Schmeichel. 

Leicester emerged with the win, realising now, surely at this stage, that the title is theirs to lose. All Ranieri needs is for a positive medical assessment of the match winner Mahrez, after he was substituted five minutes after pulling up with what looked like a hamstring injury. 

Watford v Leicester City - Premier League