Jamie Vardy joined the Premier League’s 100 club as Leicester bagged a much needed three points as they continue in their pursuit of Champions League football.
The Foxes came into the game without a win since the Premier League‘s restart, and have seen their once healthy advantage to fifth and sixth whittled down to just three points following a run of one league win in eight.
They came up against a Crystal Palace who had also had mixed results since the resumption of English football, beating Bournemouth in their opener, before being hammered 4-0 by Liverpool and following that up with a 1-0 loss to Burnley.
After a dominant, yet goalless first half, Leicester eventually took the lead four minutes after the restart, Kelechi Iheanacho turning home a Youri Tielemens cross, though Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal looked far from convincing as he attempted to deal with the cross from the left.
Then, having not scored since the restart and sitting on 99 Premier League goals, Jamie Vardy finally registered his 100th in top-flight English football. With Palace trying to play out from the back, Harvey Barnes took advantage of a Mamadou Sakho slip on the edge of the box in the 77th minute, before squaring the ball to the 33-year-old who coolly turned it home.
Having been forced to wait over three months for his 100th, his 101st came just 17 minutes later, the veteran scoring a typically Jamie Vardy goal, embarking on a one-man counter-attack before slotting past the helpless Guaita to make it three without reply deep into stoppage time.
Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, the former England international insisted it was all about getting the win for his side who had picked up just two points from a possible nine since the restart.
“It was about getting the win today and getting back to basics. We wanted to put a full 90 minutes in and control the game, and I thought we did that. I’m always frustrated if I miss a chance, you want to score as many as possible, but to get the two goals and the three points is all you can ask for.
“We know it’s down to us. We are in this position on merit and we have to keep going and look forward to the next game. We will get back into tomorrow, recover and make sure we are ready for Tuesday. If we play like that between now and the end of the season, we will pick up a quite a few points.”
27y 232d – Of the 29 players to have scored 100 Premier League goals, only Ian Wright (28 years 286 days) made his debut in the competition at an older age than Jamie Vardy (27 years 232 days). Autumn. pic.twitter.com/BF8LP1fr4M
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 4, 2020
However, the former non-league striker insisted his sole focus was on the teams next fixture against Arsenal on Tuesday night, rather than reflecting on his achievement of becoming the 29th player to score 100 Premier League goals: “I will wait until the end of the season when I can reflect on things, we have a game in three days.”
The result maintains Leicester’s three point advantage over Manchester United, who climbed to fourth with a 5-2 win over Bournemouth, while Chelsea and Wolves play later this evening.