‘He is a world-class striker’: Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers hails Jamie Vardy’s ‘wonderful talent’ as Arsenal nemesis reveals cameo role was ‘always the plan’ ahead of late heroics
Brendan Rodgers hailed ‘world class’ Jamie Vardy as the Leicester striker came off the bench to haunt Arsenal once again.
The forward notched the winner at the Emirates to move the Foxes to within a point of the Premier League summit, though Leicester rode their luck after the Gunners saw Alexandre Lacazette’s header dubiously ruled out – much to manager Mikel Arteta’s annoyance.
Arsenal, who famously tried to sign Vardy in 2016, will be sick of the sight of the 33-year-old – who has now notched 11 times in 12 games against the Londoners.
Jamie Vardy tormented Arsenal again with the 80th-minute winner for Leicester against them
Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers was suitably impressed as his side rose to fourth in the table
‘In every game he looks like scoring, he is disappointed he didn’t score another one,’ said Rodgers.
‘He is a world class striker, an incredible talent.’
Vardy missed Leicester’s previous two fixtures ahead of last night’s triumph with a calf problem.
Rodgers insisted he didn’t want to take any risks with his talismanic attacker and Vardy concurred, saying: ‘Me and the manager spoke yesterday and that was always the plan because I’m coming back from a little niggle.
Vardy revealed that the plan had always been for him to enter the fray late after injury issues
‘You don’t want to be chucked straight in, it’s about feeling your way back into it. It was probably going to be the last 20 minutes or half-an-hour and that’s what has happened.
Luckily I came on and made an impact.’
But Leicester were indebted to a controversial decision to disallow Lacazette’s first-half goal, which would have put the Gunners 1-0 up.
It is understood the goal was ruled out for a foul by Granit Xhaka on Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel in the lead up to the goal.
The idea paid off as the striker scored for the 11th time in 12 appearances against the Gunners
But Arteta said: ‘We’ve not been given an explanation why. It is harsh because Granit is behind Schmeichel, he is not in front of him so the ball is away from him.
‘We can have our view but we have specialists, the referees, to make the decisions.
‘They made a call that it wasn’t allowed but it obviously had a massive impact on the game because there were two teams where the margins were minimal.’
Equally, however, Rodgers pointed to another perplexing decision by Craig Pawson not to hand Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin a second yellow card following a rash lunge on James Justin.
‘It was an interesting one, it’s a foul so you would have to ask the referee that one,’ added Rodgers.
Frustrated Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was not given a reason for a first-half goal being ruled out