Leicester’s Vardy looks to extend scoring record at Swansea
LONDON (AP) — Record already in hand, Leicester striker Jamie Vardy is ready to make the most of every chance he gets in his pursuit of more goals.
Vardy can extend his scoring streak to 12 straight English Premier League games on Saturday when Leicester plays at Swansea.
“You have to realize that there are not a lot of chances coming your way,” Vardy said. “Once you get them, you need to be taking them. Otherwise, you’re going to get punished yourselves.”
With his goal in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United last weekend, Vardy eclipsed the Premier League record previously held by Ruud van Nistelrooy, who scored in 10 straight games in 2003.
Another goal by Vardy this weekend would equal the all-time record for goals in consecutive matches in the English topflight, set by Jimmy Dunne in 1931-32 for Sheffield United. Stan Mortensen scored in 15 consecutive games for Blackpool in 1950-51 but missed matches because of injury.
Leicester is in surprising second place in the Premier League after 14 games, trailing Manchester City on goal difference and leading United by one point. Leicester escaped relegation only last season by winning nine of its last 11 games.
Much of this season’s success can be credited to Vardy, who signed for Leicester in 2012 from non-league soccer.
“He’s very, very smart,” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said, “very clever, and very cool.”
City, which beat Hull 4-1 in the League Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, faces Stoke on Saturday with playmaker David Silva back. Silva played for 80 minutes against Hull.
“The most important thing was to qualify,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said, “but it was important for him to have 80 minutes after a long injury.”
Also, United will host West Ham, and Arsenal will welcome Sunderland. Also, it’s: Chelsea vs. Bournemouth; West Bromwich Albion vs. Tottenham; Watford vs. Norwich; and Southampton vs. Aston Villa. On Sunday, Liverpool will visit Newcastle, while Everton will host Crystal Palace on Monday.
Here are some things to know about this weekend’s matches:
INJURY-HIT ARSENAL: With Santi Cazorla, Laurent Koscielny and Alexis Sanchez all getting injured in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Norwich last week, the team is hurting.
Sanchez has scored six in the Premier League and nine overall, and it’s unclear how long he will be out.
“He says it is a kick on his hamstring,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “I fear the reality is worse than that.”
REJUVENATED SUNDERLAND: Those Arsenal injuries, combined with a rejuvenated Sunderland squad under recently hired manager Sam Allardyce, should be a boost for the Black Cats.
“We will go into the big games as the underdogs and tell the lads to enjoy themselves because nobody expects you to get a result,” Allardyce said. “Hopefully we can shock one or two because the lads have enough confidence in their ability to play any team at any time.”
SAKHO’S FITNESS: West Ham, still missing the injured Dimitri Payet and Enner Valencia, also will be without Diafra Sakho against United at Old Trafford after the Senegal striker was ruled out with a thigh injury for up to two months by coach Slaven Bilic on Thursday.
Sakho was hurt in a 1-1 draw with West Brom last week.
“It will be four to eight weeks, maybe more,” Bilic said. “He has a bit of history with his thigh. ... Three injuries to our key players, especially in the offensive side of our game, it’s a blow.”