Jamie Vardy: Leicester's big name for big games is at it again

Jamie Vardy
It was at this point that Arsenal fans feared the worst...

It's safe to say it would have been £20m well spent.

Four years after Arsenal tried to bring Jamie Vardy to the club, he came off the bench to score against them yet again and ruin the home debut of the Gunners' new £45m midfielder. Not quite the Partey boy they were hoping to hit the headlines.

Only Wayne Rooney has scored more Premier League goals against Arsenal than Leicester's now 34-year-old talisman. How long can he keep going?

Big games, big names

Vardy now has 109 Premier League goals, moving ahead of Peter Crouch and drawing level with Ryan Giggs. Not bad company for a man who only made his Football League debut at the age of 25.

He won the Golden Boot last season as the Premier League's top scorer with 23 goals, and averages a goal every 64 minutes this season.

Remarkably, his six goals this term have come from only nine shots - fewer than either Brighton's Yves Bissouma or West Ham's Tomas Soucek has attempted.

He is also whatever the opposite of a flat-track bully is. He loves a goal against the big teams. And West Brom.

Vardy's favourite Premier League opponents
Manchester City138
West Brom96

"That is why he is a big player, he makes the big contributions in the big games," said manager Brendan Rodgers.

"That shows you the level he is at and he is a world class player. I am lucky to have him here."

Since Rodgers took charge of the Foxes in February 2019 Vardy has scored 39 goals in 51 Premier League appearances. Everyone else at the club has managed 57 between them.

Tim Cahill questions why VAR did not reverse Alexandre Lacazette's disallowed goal

"The moment Vardy comes on from the bench the tempo is different, the body language is different," BBC Radio 5 Live summariser Matthew Upson said.

"It was a tactical masterclass from Rodgers. You can criticise how toothless Arsenal looked even when they were in control, but was that a plan to lure Arsenal out with Vardy on the bench? It paid off."

No Partey just yet

Thomas Partey and Jamie Vardy
One of these men has more Premier League goals than Didier Drogba, Matthew Le Tissier and Paul Scholes

Thomas Partey's home league debut was rather crashed by Vardy, but the former Atletico Madrid man was not alone in failing to shine in a flat Arsenal performance.

His pass completion rate in the opposition's half of 86% was the best of those in a red shirt, and one pass in particular to send Hector Bellerin through on goal was a beauty, but overall Arsenal were far too steady and slow in possession to find a gap in Leicester's well-drilled side.

"It's hard to judge Thomas Partey off this game," Upson said.

"In his area of the pitch there hasn't been a lot happen. There was no real counter-attacking or having to defend passages of play or being camped on the edge of the box.

"It's been tactical and about shifting position for Partey which he has done well but he hasn't been put to the test yet."

Manager Brendan Rodgers praises impact of Leicester substitute Cengiz Under

Money well spent

It was Leicester's new face, defender Wesley Fofana, who caught the eye before Vardy's introduction.

The 19-year-old was excellent in the midweek Europa League win over Zorya Luhansk and impressed again, playing his part as Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a fruitless and futile evening in front of goal.

Wesley Fofana
Money well spent for Leicester?

He scored 7.97 in the BBC Sport player rater - the highest of any player to start the match.

"You can see why so much money was spent on Fofana," Upson added.

"What is to come? That is the scary thing. He reads the game so well for a teenager.

"I can understand why Brendan Rodgers is saying he is going to be a big player for the club. He really is going to be very, very good."

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