Leicester City-Aston Villa Preview
Four seasons later, Jamie Vardy has revived the party.
Looking to run his goal-scoring streak to eight matches, Vardy leads Leicester City in search of their eighth consecutive league victory on the trot Sunday when they face Aston Villa in a showdown of Midlands sides.
Vardy set the Premier League record during Leicester City's fairy-tale run to the 2016 Premier League title, scoring a goal in 11 consecutive matches and finishing one shy of the English football top-flight record set by Sheffield United's Jimmy Dunne in 1931-32.
The former England international currently leads the race for the Golden Boot with 14 goals and notched his second match-winner of the term Wednesday when his penalty in the 55th minute set the Foxes (11-2-2) on their way to a 2-0 victory over Watford.
"When he's fit, he plays," Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers told the club's official website about Vardy. "He's a remarkable goal-scorer, and his thought is the next game. But, as you can see, he's such a threat.
"All my teams have that striker, fast and dynamic. I came here and I had one of the best strikers in Europe. You can see his energy and his speed, and then it was about fitting him into the style. He's been very impressive."
Vardy has nine goals during his blinding stretch and 23 in 26 matches in all competitions since Rodgers took over in March.
On Friday, the Foxes rewarded Rodgers for his impressive turnaround, giving him a new 5 ½-year contract through June 2025. The former Liverpool and Celtic boss has won 18 of 28 matches (18-5-5) across all competitions, and Leicester City are 10-2-1 at King Power Stadium.
"The support I have had from the Chairman, Khun Top; from the Chief Executive, Susan Whelan; from the Director of Football, Jon Rudkin; and from everyone at the Club has been amazing," said Rodgers, whose name was among those considered for the current opening at Arsenal. "I've inherited an outstanding team of staff that are dedicated to progress and improvement and we have a group of players that are a joy to work with every day.
"And to the Club's supporters, I can only say thank you for welcoming me and my staff into your Club and for putting your faith in our work. We'll continue to work together to bring success to Leicester City for many years to come."
Leicester's current seven-game win streak in league play equals a club standard set from Dec. 21, 1963 to Feb. 22, 1964 in the First Division. The only downside is the Foxes have gained just two points on table-toppers Liverpool during their run and trail Rodgers' former club by eight points.
Aston Villa (4-3-8) is treading water just above the drop line, entering this match in 16th place on 15 points and trailing Bournemouth on goal difference. The Villans have lost four of their last six league matches after a 2-1 setback at Chelsea on Wednesday.
Trezeguet gave Dean Smith's club a lifeline with a 41st-minute equaliser, but former on-loan striker Tammy Abraham consigned Villa to defeat, scoring in the 24th minute and setting up Mason Mount's go-ahead strike three minutes after the restart.
"They started each half a lot better than we did. We grew into each half, the first 20 minutes of each half they put us under a lot of pressure," Smith told the Birmingham Mail. "I'm disappointed with the manner of the goals, two crosses. We spoke about stopping crosses. We didn't do well enough in doing that.
"We want to be a passing-and-moving team but we gave the ball away too cheaply and didn't do that. It was a patchy game for us. There were periods when we were good and periods where we were under pressure."
The good news for Smith is winger Anwar El Ghazi should be available for this match after sitting out Thursday due to an ankle injury that forced him off in the first half of Villa's 2-2 draw at Old Trafford versus Manchester United last Sunday. It will be a selection dilemma of sorts for Smith considering he uses Trezeguet as a like-for-like swap for El Ghazi, and the former played well in the three halves when pressed into service.
Villa have claimed 11 points from their last six home matches, with the lone defeat coming to Liverpool.
Though not a Midlands derby, the matchup has been fairly even in the Premier League era as Leicester City have seven wins to Villa's five while the sides have split the points on nine occasions across all competitions. They last met in the top flight during Leicester's title-winning campaign, with the Foxes winning 3-2 at home and drawing 1-1 at Villa Park.
Leicester City are winless in their last four visits (0-1-3) since a 2-0 win in the 2001-02 season.
Updated December 6, 2019