Is Jamie Vardy “world class”? Leicester striker returns to sink favourite opponent
Brendan Rodgers has hailed Jamie Vardy as “world-class” after he scored the only goal of the game during Leicester City’s 1-0 away win at Arsenal on Sunday.
Having missed the Foxes’ last two games with a calf problem, Vardy returned to action from the bench at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday evening, firing home an 80th-minute winner to move Leicester onto 12 points from their opening six games.
The effort was Vardy’s 11th goal in 12 outings against the Gunners — who reportedly tried to sign the 33-year-old in 2016 — with no side suffering more at the former England international’s hands.
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In fact, only Wayne Rooney (12) has scored more Premier League goals against Arsenal than Vardy, who is now the highest-scoring away player at the Emirates Stadium with five goals.
Vardy is now on six goals in five appearances since the start of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign. Speaking after the match, Rodgers said he feels fortunate to be coaching such a talent.
“Our plan was always to bring Jamie into the game and he can stretch it,” said Rodgers. “That is why he is a big player. He makes the big contributions in the big games. That shows you the level he is at, and he is a world-class player. I am lucky to have him here.
“We deserved it. We played against a really good side who have players who can run in behind. To keep a clean sheet and play with quality and calmness was good. The boys were outstanding.”
Vardy himself stressed the importance of Sunday’s result after Leicester had lost back-to-back Premier League games to West Ham and Aston Villa.
“We weathered the storm and we started getting into it,” he said. “We played well and came away with a win. It is big for us but it is just the next game. We had a couple of bad results and we just wanted to put it right.”
Despite heading into his mid-30s, Vardy’s output in front of goal – and electric pace – are both reminiscent of a 25-year-old. As such, he is the only Leicester player to score more than one Premier League goal this season, while he is responsible for 46% of their strikes in the competition so far.
With just six points separating leaders Everton from 15th-placed Manchester United, it’s anyone’s guess who will secure top-four and top-six finishes come the end of the season.
But with their “world-class” goalscorer in this sort of form, Rodgers’ Leicester City must be considered one of the strongest contenders.