Jamie Vardy breaks record as Leicester draw with Manchester United

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy broke the Premier League record by scoring for the 11th successive game in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United

Jamie Vardy remains in dreamland but Leicester City were unable to match his bravado or capitalise on his opening goal by returning to the top of the Premier League table. If there was any disappointment at having to share the points with Manchester United and the lead with Manchester City it was mitigated by a new scoring record and the fact that the visitors were also prevented from going top.

Leicester beat United in one of the more famous results from last season but the stakes are higher for both sides now. While the result might not have been the most notable aspect of this game at least Leicester showed their current position is not a false one. On the only other occasion they have faced opponents from the Champions League bracket this season, Arsenal gave them a 5-2 hiding and their only defeat to date. There was no suggestion of that here; the two sides were as evenly matched as the score suggests.

“Little by little,” Claudio Ranieri said with a smile. “I told the players to win and try and help Jamie break the record. I am really pleased he has done, we can all be very proud about it and I hope he carries on, but the real target this season is 40 points and now we have 11 to go. That is our project, and we are getting there.”

Manchester United reverted to the three-centre-back system they started out with under Louis van Gaal for their visit to the erstwhile league leaders, partly out of respect for Vardy’s hot streak but also because Marcos Rojo had to pull out injured. Predictably all the attention was on Vardy in the opening stages, the striker having to cope with the novel pressure of a huge weight of expectation, yet it was Riyad Mahrez who caused the United defence most problems. Ashley Young was deservedly cautioned for pulling back the Algerian when beaten early in the game, and Daley Blind was lucky not to join him in the book for a blatant block on the same Leicester player a few minutes later.

Louis van Gaal on United’s title hopes: we must play better to win league. (Photo: Getty)

The significance of Young’s booking was seen when Vardy sent an already loud stadium into full party mode midway through the first half. The wing back knew he had to either check Vardy’s run or stay with him, and in the event he could do neither. He was clearly tempted to tug the striker’s shirt but thought better of it, undoubtedly due to his earlier yellow card, and Vardy was free to steal in behind Matteo Darmian and provide the finish Christian Fuchs’ glorious pass deserved. It was the sort of goal you could see happening almost in advance, once the move started, and the greatest compliment one could pay the scorer was that as soon as he read Fuchs’ intentions and began his run there was never any doubt how he would finish it.

A new Premier League record deserves enormous credit, even if Jimmy Dunne’s all-time top-flight feat is still another goal and game away, yet Mahrez was unwilling to be upstaged. As Leicester began to show their attacking class in a period of pressure before the interval he first brought a save from David de Gea with a shot from a narrow angle, then delighted the home fans with another piece of skill on the edge of the area to create another opening.

United weathered that storm, though were not really producing much in reply. Again there was too much space between midfield and attack, with the inclusion of Juan Mata not significantly raising the levels of creativity after the sterile display against PSV in midweek, though right on the stroke of the interval the visitors managed to draw level from a set piece. Bastian Schweinsteiger had narrowly failed to meet an Anthony Martial cross in front of goal a few minutes earlier, but when Blind sent over a corner from the right in virtually the last act of the first half the German met it solidly even with Shinji Okazaki hanging off his back. Kasper Schmeichel had no chance with the firmest of headers from the six-yard line.

While parity slightly flattered United at the break they almost took the lead at the start of the second half from an almost identical set piece. This time Blind dummied a free-kick on the right to let Young send over a cross. Schweinsteiger was the target and once again he made a powerful connection, only for Schmeichel to react quickly and beat away his header. After an hour the game was finely poised. Leicester had lost their initial attacking urgency and United’s slow build-ups were gradually moving them further up the pitch. With most of the contest now taking place in the Leicester half the home side were going to need a breakaway goal to regain the lead, and it should have arrived when Mahrez launched a quick counter from his own half, got goal-side of Blind and laid the ball off to his left to allow Leonardo Ulloa a clear shooting opportunity. The newly arrived substitute’s shot was on target but lacked conviction, De Gea saved with his feet and United breathed again. The rest of the game in brief: Wayne Rooney was substituted early, Vardy missed a 90th-minute chance to either score or set up a winner. A draw was a fair result.

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Paul Wilson at King Power Stadium

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