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Vardy creates history in Leicester’s draw with Manchester United

Photo courtesy: Sky Sports
Photo courtesy: Sky Sports

Jamie Vardy’s dream run continues. The Leicester City forward, who only five years ago was playing non-League football, has now etched his name in the Premier League record books, scoring in 11 successive games.

Vardy’s performance ensured Leicester City continued their stellar start to the 2015-16 season; they held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium and remain at the top of the table, sharing the spot with Manchester City.

Any striker would have felt immense pressure if he were on the verge of breaking a decade-long Premier League record, but the 28-year-old striker showed great composure as he clinically sliced the ball past David De Gea, following an excellent through ball from Christian Fuchs in the 24th minute.

And it was ironic that Vardy would score his record-breaking goal in this particular match. The previous record-holder: Ruud Van Nistelrooy, of Manchester United.

Both teams knew the importance of this game – a win would take either side to the top with clear daylight between them and the following pack. And as is usually the case in such high-profile games, the initial exchanges were cagey at best. Leicester’s attacking verve was blunted by United’s possession football.

United set up with three at the back, presumably to counter Vardy’s trademark runs down the channels on either wing. Paddy McNair, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind making up United’s defence. And it worked, too. Vardy was given absolutely no space on the pitch.

The Red Devils enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening stages of the game, but they were unable to do much as Leicester, too, defended deep, making very few mistakes at the back.

United did manage to put some decent balls into the box but Louis van Gaal’s attackers, especially Anthony Martial, failed to take advantage.

The Red Devils had a half chance in the 22nd minute of the game when Martial, after playing a lovely one-two with Ashley Young, whipped the ball towards Bastain Schweinsteiger Martial at the near post. The German managed to connect with the Frenchman’s chip but his shot, which lacked venom, was easily blocked by Wes Morgan.

United’s wastefulness was punished two minutes later. A blistering counter-attack started by a canny Kasper Schmeichel in the Leicester goal set up the opener. The keeper collected the United corner, rolled the ball to Fuchs, who in turn pinged a long-range pass beyond a retreating Matteo Darmian for the enterprising Vardy to collect and score from the right edge of United custodian David de Gea’s box.

After the goal, the game seemed to open up as United tried to respond immediately. Wayne Rooney did pretty well to drive the ball to the edge of the box, but he was dispossessed by the Foxes’ defence.

At the other end, Shinji Okazaki found himself in a very good position to receive Danny Drinkwater’s cross, but the Japanese international failed to make decent contact and the ball rolled harmlessly for a goal kick.

Soon after, De Gea, under pressure from Vardy and Okazaki, nearly gifted the ball to the record-breaker with a misplaced pass. But Blind spared De Gea the blushes as he snuffed out the danger before the striker could take advantage.

Just after the half hour mark, the Foxes got another good chance to double their advantage when Mahrez muscled his way into the box after exchanging some excellent one-touch passes with Vardy. The Algerian international fired a well struck low shot towards goal but De Gea did well to save the strike with his leg.

Despite Leicester City’s continued attacks, it was Manchester United who found the equaliser just before half time through Schweinsteiger.

The German, after managing to outmuscle his marker Okazaki, connected with Blind’s swerving corner to crash a powerful header past a helpless Schmeichel from six yards.

After the break, the Foxes could have regained the lead when Michael Carrick’s mis-headed pass freed Albrighton down the left flank. Vardy was unmarked in the middle of the box but Albrighton was a little heavy with his cross, which was eventually cleared by Young.

The Red Devils also came close to taking the lead in the 49th minute when Young floated a perfect cross towards Schweinsteiger. The German again managed to connect with a powerful header, but this time his effort was straight at Schmeichel, who was able to parry.

United looked much more dangerous in the second half as they restricted Leicester inside their own defensive third. However, they failed to penetrate the Foxes’ organised defence.

The hosts got a rare chance in the 66th minute when a fantastic counter attack resulted in Mahrez breaking from the right. The Algerian cut in and sent a low ball towards the box, which Leonardo Ulloa (who replaced Okazaki at the hour mark) managed to collect. The Argentine rounded Chris Smalling, but his effort on goal was weak and straight at De Gea.

With six minutes remaining on the clock, Memphis Depay, who came in as a substitute for Rooney in the 68th minute, had a golden opportunity to snatch the winner after he found in self in a very good position inside the box following an excellent pass from Matteo Darmian. However, the former PSV man could not keep his cool as he slashed the ball way over the crossbar.

Despite United valiant efforts towards the end, the game finally ended with the two sides sharing a point each.
This result means that United’s rivals Manchester City are now a point clear at the top of the table following their convincing 3-1 over Southampton. Leicester have the same points tally as City, but are behind on goal difference.

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