Why Jamie Vardy is the Premier League's ultimate talisman
It's Jamie Vardy's party and we're all just living in it, here is why he deserves to go down in footballing folklore.
Talisman (noun): an object thought to have magic powers or bring good luck.
Given the rise of Jamie Vardy, from eighth-tier Stocksbridge Park Steels little over 10 years ago to one of the Premier League’s best strikers today, that definition could also apply to him.
He made the step up from Stocksbridge to Leicester within two years, but it’s since becoming a Premier League player in 2014/15 that he has cemented his place in striker folklore.
🦊 He's scored 105 league goals for Leicester, won them the Premier League title and nabbed himself a Golden Boot.— betway (@betway) September 25, 2020
🙌 What is it that makes Jamie Vardy the ultimate talisman? Click here to find out 👇 pic.twitter.com/z1npHBD7EI
Vardy has scored 105 league goals, won one Premier League title and one Golden Boot, and it’s fair to say that Leicester would be unrecognisable without him.
He’s certainly had some party.
Here is why that means he now deserves to be considered the Premier League’s ultimate talisman…
Is there a footballer more built for the big occasions than this man? In short, no.
Even at 33, he tears about the pitch with the enthusiasm of a Duracell Bunny, he is never short on confidence and, crucially, he is a wind-up merchant of box-office proportions.
But none of these make Vardy a big-game player in isolation, he also delivers on the big stage more than anyone else.
Since making his Premier League debut in 2014/15, Vardy has scored 34 goals against the Big Six – that’s more than any other player.
To add a bit of context, Sergio Aguero has netted 30 in the same timeframe, while Harry Kane is 10 behind on 24.
There is some method to this.
Much of Leicester’s joy against the bigger teams in the Premier League has come from absorbing pressure for long periods and hitting them on the break. See their title-winning campaign in 2015/16.
Vardy’s explosive pace and willingness to hang on the shoulder of the last man has meant he has been able to take advantage of this tactic for as long as he has been in the top tier.
He delivers when it matters.
After a quick glance at the goalscoring statistics since the 2014/15 season, it should be obvious who the top dog is at Leicester.
Even if it isn’t, Vardy can help you out with one of his trademark celebrations: wheeling away while pointing at his own chest and shouting ‘it’s me!’
Don’t you forget it.
Since coming back up to the Premier League, Leicester have scored 343 goals. Of those, Vardy has contributed 105.
That’s 31 per cent of their total of Premier League goals since his debut season at this level – a higher proportion than any other active player.
In comparison, Mohamed Salah is second on that list with his 76 league goals making up 29 per cent of Liverpool’s 264 since 2017/18.
Kane, meanwhile, has scored 26 per cent of Tottenham’s goals since making his debut and is third.
Not bad company to keep.
To further underline his importance to Leicester, over the last five seasons his goals have individually earned the Foxes 70 points.
Without him, there would have been no Premier League title in 2015/16 – Leicester would have lost out on 23 points and finished eighth.
It’s his party and we’re all just living in it.
Scored at the Etihad? Yep. Old Trafford? Tick. What about Anfield? Completed it, mate.
These are just a handful of the grounds that Vardy has managed to plunder goals at during his time in the Premier League.
Far from being fazed by hostile atmospheres, long coach trips across the country or unfamiliar surroundings, the 33-year-old instead seems to feed off them.
It’s not news that Vardy is a goalscorer, but his home/away divide is quite something.
Of the 105 goals Vardy has netted in the Premier League, 54 have come at the King Power Stadium and 51 on the road – that’s a 51/49 per cent split.
To put that into context, just 42 per cent of Aguero’s 128 goals were scored on the road in the same timeframe, while 40 per cent of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Arsenal goals have been away from the Emirates.
Such is Vardy’s remarkable record of scoring all over the place that there are currently just four Premier League stadiums he is yet to find the net in.
Those are the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Craven Cottage, in which he has only ever played one Premier League game, Elland Road, where he has never been at this level, and Molineux.
You would bank on that list getting smaller by the end of the campaign. He’s Jamie Vardy, he scores where he wants.
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