Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy scored twice on Sunday to hand 10-man Arsenal their third consecutive Premier League defeat. His impressive brace has earned him the top spot in Maryam Naz’s Offside Rule Player of the Week.
1) A man for a big occasion
The 32-year-old has been a thorn in the side of the so-called ‘big six’, racking up 30 goals against them in his time in the Premier League.
Yet the stats show that Vardy’s performances peak against North London sides, and that showed in his brace on Sunday.
With six goals already netted against Unai Emery’s men in six previous fixtures, the Englishman further exposed Arsenal’s defensive woes with his opening goal.
Neither Sokratis Papastathopoulos nor Laurent Koscielny were unable to deal with a long ball from Kasper Schmeichel in the build-up to Vardy’s first. Their lack of communication and cohesion meant that he was able to profit with a headed goal after his initial shot was saved.
Ricardo Pereira then glided past Koscielny to set up Vardy for a tap-in, with what proved the final kick of the game.
2) The ‘Brendan Rodgers’ effect
The Foxes forward has been at his most prolific under Rodgers, having scored more Premier League goals than any other player since the Irishman arrived at the King Power Stadium.
Given that the former Liverpool coach played in a more counterattacking style than his opposite number on Sunday, there was little doubt that Vardy would add to his personal tally.
Indeed, his brace against Arsenal takes his record to 18 goals to the season – pretty impressive considering that the likes of Mohammed Salah (21) and Sergio Aguero (20) are only three goals ahead.
3) Defensive verve
Vardy’s work outside of the Leicester attack has always been a prominent feature of his style of play. Yet, under Rodgers, this too has come to fruition.
Against Emery’s side on Sunday, the English international was seen defending well at free-kicks and pressing high up the pitch when Arsenal’s defence tried to maintain possession.
His pace wasn’t just helpful on the counter, but also a means to prevent the likes of Alex Iwobi and co from gaining ground in the pockets of spaces in between the Leicester midfield.
4) Honorary mentions
While Vardy may have impressed us the most this week, our Player of the Week article would go amiss without mentioning Andy Roberton’s contributions.
The Scotsman racked up his 11th assist of the season for Liverpool in their win against Huddersfield on Friday night – the highest amount to be achieved by a defender, and the joint-most amount in Premier League history.
You can follow Maryam on Twitter @MNaz98