Record chas­ing Vardy in spot­light against United

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LE­ICES­TER: All eyes will be on Le­ices­ter striker Jamie Vardy to­day when he tries to be­come the first player to score in 11 con­sec­u­tive Premier League games in a top-of-the-ta­ble show­down with Manch­ester United. Vardy equalled the record held since 2003 by for­mer Manch­ester United striker Ruud van Nis­tel­rooy when he took his scor­ing streak into dou­ble fig­ures with one of Le­ices­ter’s goals in their 3-0 win at New­cas­tle last Satur­day. Fit­tingly, Eng­land in­ter­na­tional Vardy, 28, who joined Le­ices­ter from Fleet­wood Town in 2012, will set the new mark if he scores against United when his league lead­ers host sec­ond-placed United at the King Power Sta­dium.

While Vardy can’t stop scor­ing, with 13 goals in the league so far this sea­son, United are strug­gling to find the net. Their 19 goals in 13 league games is the low­est to­tal in the top seven and their strug­gles in front of goal are threat­en­ing to un­der­mine their hopes of win­ning a first tro­phy since 2013. United’s fail­ure to score against Cham­pi­onship side Mid­dles­brough saw Louis van Gaal’s side go out of the League Cup on penal­ties last month and, po­ten­tially more se­ri­ously, an­other blank on Wed­nes­day against PSV Eind­hoven could prove costly to their Cham­pi­ons League prospects.

Vic­tory over the Dutch cham­pi­ons would have taken United into the last 16, but fol­low­ing a 0-0 draw, their fourth such re­sult in seven matches, they must now win their fi­nal Group B game away to Wolfs­burg to guar­an­tee go­ing through. “Of course I am wor­ried,” ad­mit­ted van Gaal about United’s lack of po­tency in front of goal. United cap­tain Wayne Rooney, the club’s lead­ing scorer with six goals, of which only two have come in the Premier League, is equally con­cerned and he added: “I think we need to score more goals as a team.”

Lack of po­tency United could not point to in­juries as an ex­cuse for their lat­est low-key per­for­mance in mid­week as Rooney, An­thony Mar­tial and Marouane Fel­laini all re­turned from miss­ing last week­end’s 2-1 Premier League win at Wat­ford which took them up to sec­ond place. Van Gaal’s per­ceived style of play, lack­ing tempo and a cre­ative edge, has come in for crit­i­cism from supporters and pun­dits.

But a vic­tory at Le­ices­ter, who have lost just once at home this sea­son, would ease some of the tension by tak­ing United above Clau­dio Ranieri’s side to the top of the league. United winger Ash­ley Young is con­fi­dent of a pos­i­tive re­sult to ease the dis­ap­point­ment of fail­ing to ad­vance in Europe. “Le­ices­ter are the lead­ers, so this is a top-of-the-ta­ble clash. We’ll be look­ing to keep up the good form we’ve shown in the league over the last few weeks, and hope­fully get the three points,” Young said. “We’ve just got to pick our­selves up now and go again at the week­end.” Vardy was Le­ices­ter’s only in­jury con­cern but he has shaken off a per­sis­tent hip prob­lem and is ex­pected to start against United as he looks to break the record.—AFP

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