Jamie Vardy

Leicester City 1-2 Chelsea: Blues hang on to win

Leave a comment
  • Morata opens scoring
  • Kante scores vs. old mates
  • Vardy draws, converts PK

Alvaro Morata and N'Golo Kante staked Chelsea to a two-goal lead, and the Blues held on tight for a 2-1 win over Leicester City at King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Chelsea goes third with the win, nabbing nine points since an Opening Day loss to Burnley.

Jamie Vardy won and scored a penalty kick for Leicester, which sits 17th with three points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Riyad Mahrez played Jamie Vardy through to trouble Thibaut Courtois with a 25th minute shot that dragged wide of the diving keeper and the far post.

Alvaro Morata had a 34th minute chance blocked by a sliding Wes Morgan as Chelsea bid to take an away lead.

N’Golo Kante has sprung a few counters at the King Power Stadium, but it was his Chelsea giveaway sprung a three-man counter for Leicester. Riyad Mahrez slid the ball to Islam Slimani, but Thibaut Courtois made a terrific stop.

Morata scored moments later, rising over Morgan to meet Cesar Azpilicuta’s cross with a header beyond the reach of Kasper Schmeichel.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Schmeichel will have wanted to do better with Kante’s goal, hit low and across goal from 25 yards.

Thibaut Courtois’ sliding clearing attempt cleaned out Vardy, who converted a penalty kick chance to bring the Foxes back within one.

Harry Maguire was fortunate not to concede what might’ve been a knockout blow PK with an 82nd minute handball.

Willian had a late shot smothered by Schmeichel, as Leicester remained alive into four minutes of stoppage time.

Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City: Super subs complete wild Gunners comeback

1 Comment
  • Lacazette scores 1st PL goal 2 minutes in
  • Leicester hit twice against the run of play
  • Welbeck equalizes on stroke of HT
  • Subs Ramsey, Giroud complete comeback

The Premier League opened in wild fashion at The Emirates as the Arsenal defense crumbled time and time again, but were rescued by substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud, who each scored in the final six minutes to bring the Gunners from 3-2 down to a 4-3 win.

Arsenal started brilliantly and struck just two minutes in as the Gunners pinged the ball around the box perfectly. Hector Bellerin controlled a switch and cut the ball to Mohamed Elneny outside the top of the box. The Egyptian flicked the ball over the defense perfectly to the head of Lacazette waiting at the back post, and he poked a stunningly accurate header just between Kasper Schmeichel and the post.

[ MORE: Arsenal shows fighting spirit | 3 Things Learned ]

It wouldn’t last long. Just two minutes later, Leicester City hit back. The Foxes played a short corner eventually whipped in by Marc Albrighton to the far post, where new boy Harry Maguire headed it back in front of net for Shinji Okazaki who put his head to the ball from point-blank range for the equalizer.

The Gunners reclaimed control of the match after conceding, and bullied Leicester City off the ball whenever they stole possession. Arsenal nearly went back in front after some beautiful one-touch passing built up to a sliding Danny Welbeck shot, but his goalbound effort was blocked by Harry Maguire.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Despite that, Leicester City took their few chances and went shockingly in front against the run of play. Granit Xhaka gave the ball away poorly in the Arsenal half, and Albrighton was there to deliver another fabulous cross. It fell right at the feet of a streaking Jamie Vardy who bagged the easiest of tap-in goals.

Arsenal started to fall apart after conceding the lead, giving the ball away constantly and looking sliced open at the back. Okazaki came close to a second goal, heading yet another fabulous Albrighton cross just wide right.

The Gunners did get back level just before the break in first-half stoppage time with what looked like a prayer. A scuffed shot by a wheeling Lacazette clipped a defender and fell right into the path of Sead Kolasinac, who was free on goal with Welbeck, and he fed the England international who tapped in.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

After the break, the Gunners defense fell asleep again as Vardy snuck in front of Xhaka and headed in off a corner before the hour mark to put Leicester City up 3-2.

After going behind a second time, Arsenal again pushed forward and put Leicester on the back foot. They came agonizingly close as Schmeichel saved well on a deep effort from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Schmeichel was required again four minutes later as he smothered a shot from Bellerin. Arsene Wenger brought on Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud, and moved a host of players into unnatural positions in a desperate attempt to put on pressure.

That apparently did the trick, as Arsenal would complete the wild comeback. First, it was Ramsey in the 84th minute to finish from a tight angle after an expert side-footed assist from Xhaka. Then, just two minutes later, the hero Giroud headed off the underside of the crossbar just over the line for the win.

Jamie Vardy hails Leicester’s success; leaves future wide open

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jamie Vardy insists the party is still going strong at Leicester City.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

One year on from winning the Premier League title, the Foxes are battling to finish in eighth place when they host Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power Stadium on Thursday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Despite Claudio Ranieri being fired midseason with Leicester embroiled in a relegation battle, Vardy reflected on the season heading into the final two games and deems it a success.

“Obviously we won the league but we set ourselves realistic targets. I think if you would have asked anyone this season that we would finish midtable and get to a Champions League quarterfinal, they would have snapped your hands off. It depends and outgoing and incomings during the summer and once all that is sorted there will be targets set and it’s up to the 11 players who are put on the pitch to get the points.”

Vardy certainly had a slow start to the season, like most of his teammates, but the pacey striker has scored 10 goals and added three assists in his last 16 games in all competitions. Before that he had just three goals (all in a 4-2 victory over Manchester City) in 26 appearances for Leicester.

Asked about the future of many of Leicester’s players — Vardy has been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid, among others — the England international left things wide-open.

“It’s football. Anything can happen,” Vardy said. “That will be up for the club and the individuals themselves if offers are put in for them or if they wanted to go. If you look around at the lads, the vast majority defo still want to be here and progress how we want to.”

With Kasper Schmeichel, Vardy and Riyad Mahrez lined with moves away from the King Power Stadium this summer, now may be the best time for them to move on. Apart from N'Golo Kante, they all hung around to follow on from the title dream in 2015-16 and they took Leicester on a fairytale run to the last eight of the Champions League.

It would be a shame to see this team broken up this summer, but they may receive offers too good to turn down for Vardy, Mahrez and Schmeichel.

Craig Shakespeare is likely to be given a new contract once this season is over and his first priority should be keeping those three players at Leicester.

Report: Vardy, Sanchez lined up by Atletico Madrid

Getty Images
Leave a comment

When you think about it, these two players are perfect for Atletico Madrid.

Absolutely, positively, perfect.

[ MORE: United’s top transfer target? ]

A report from Miguel Delaney in The Independent states that both Jamie Vardy and Alexis Sanchez are high on the list of striking options for Diego Simeone this summer.

Of course, these moves are dependent on two very important factors: a) Simeone still being in charge next season and b) Atletico get an 18-month transfer ban lifted by FIFA. A decision on the latter is expected in June (Atleti have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport) after Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid were both sanctioned by soccer’s governing body due to breaking rules regarding signing U-18 players.

And, the other big factor around all of this is Antoine Griezmann potentially leaving Atletico this summer with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea constantly linked with a move to sign the Frenchman. Griezmann scored in Atleti’s 2-1 win on Wednesday night in their UCL semifinal second leg but his side crashed out to Real Madrid 4-2 on aggregate and reports suggest he could move on for a fee of around $100 million.

Sticking with Vardy and Sanchez, both would likely snap up a move to La Liga and be part of a team which always seems to overachieve and goes deep in the UEFA Champions League. With Leicester not in the UCL next season, plus Arsenal struggling massively to make the top four, it would be tough to turn down guaranteed Champions League action for both.

It would sort of be a two-for-one deal as Griezmann would leave and both Vardy and Sanchez could come in, and of course it was Arsene Wenger‘s plan to pair Vardy and Sanchez together at Arsenal this season but Vardy rejected the move to remain at Leicester.

With their pacey, hard-working style of play under Simeone, both Vardy and Sanchez would surely be at home at Atletico and the former is said to have impressed Simeone during their UCL quarterfinal win over Leicester and there are surely few people at the club who would stand in his way if a move was arranged.

When it comes to Sanchez, we know that his future is uncertain with just one year remaining on his contract and even though Arsenal would sell him reluctantly this summer, they’d be much happier to sell him to La Liga rather than a PL rival. The Chilean forward became the first Arsenal player since Robin Van Persie to score 20 PL goals with his fine strike at Southampton on Wednesday but his future remains uncertain at the Emirates Stadium.

As Atletico prepare for life at their new 70,000 home at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium next season, they could well have some new strikers to smooth over any big-name sales this summer as goalkeeper Jan Oblak is also rumored to be interesting Manchester United and many others.

Signing both Vardy and Sanchez would be a stretch but not out of the realms of possibility, especially if Griezmann moves on.

West Brom 0-1 Leicester City: Vardy keeps Baggies stumbling

Leave a comment
  • Vardy nabs game’s lone goal
  • Leicester hits 40 points
  • Baggies have 4 points since Feb.

The reigning champions are within striking distance of the top half after beating moribund West Brom 1-0 on Saturday at the Hawthorns.

Leicester City hit the 40-point mark behind Jamie Vardy‘s goal, his 12th of the PL season, while West Brom has six losses in eight matches in another post-safety swoon.

The Foxes are four points back of eighth place West Brom.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Leicester worked its way into a power position during the first five minutes, and Wilfried Ndidi saw his shot deflected out for a sixth minute corner.

West Brom found its footing after the quarter hour mark, when Chris Brunt‘s header back across goal forced Kasper Schmeichel into a quick reaction, one-arm save.

Vardy punished Pulis’ plans when Leicester took advantage of a poor back pass from Allan Nyom. Shinji Okazaki sent Vardy on goal, and the striker hit to the near post to beat a splayed Ben Foster. 1-0.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Salomon Rondon hit a low shot that Schmeichel collected early in the second half as the Baggies aimed to recover.