Ranieri says Vardy is still the main top man for Leicester
First Wayne Rooney, then Sergio Aguero, now Jamie Vardy. This is becoming the season where the Premier League hitmen discover they are no longer immune from the perils of rotation.
After eight games without a goal, Vardy was taken out of the firing line by Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri and allowed a rest during this highly impressive victory.
His replacement, the excellent Shinji Okazaki, scored one and £16million summer signing Ahmed Musa replaced Marc Albrighton and struck his first goal for the club in a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Of Vardy, Ranieri said, “Always he is my man, our goalscorer. He knows when there are so many good players, a little rotation doesn’t matter.”
Okazaki was relentless, linking play between the midfield and forward Islam Slimani. Remarkably, it was only the third time he has played the full 90 minutes in the league since joining Leicester in July 2015.
Okazaki was one of the headline acts during Leicester’s title-winning campaign and although his role has been reduced this season, he enjoys hero status in his native Japan.
“I usually get mobbed, but it is good,” he said. “Leicester now are a big team in Japan and I am proud of that.”
In this game, Leicester took the lead through Musa’s powerful strike from the edge of the box before Okazaki put the finishing touch to a breathless move.
Christian Fuchs added gloss to the scoreline with one of the season’s most memorable strikes so far, cutting across the ball on the half-volley to rifle in his first goal for the club. The only blot was a late Yohan Cabaye consolation to reduce the arrears.
“When there is this kind of performance I think about last season,” Ranieri said.
Vardy was taken out of the firing line by Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri.