Goalscorer Jamie Vardy lauded Leicester’s “attacking talent” as his side moved back into third with victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Caglar Soyuncu
Leicester signed Caglar Soyuncu (second right) in a deal worth up to £19m in 2018

The 32-year-old sealed victory with an 80th-minute goal after Caglar Soyuncu had headed the Foxes into the lead with his first goal for the club.

Second-half substitute Demarai Gray provided the assist for Vardy, while both James Maddison and Youri Tielemans impressed again in midfield.

Vardy said: “The creativity and attacking talent we have is incredible. We have so many options and it can only benefit us.”

The Foxes are now level with Chelsea on 23 points, but with a better goal difference, and just two points behind second-placed Manchester City.

They have one more point than they did at this stage during their title-winning campaign in 2015-16.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said he did not want to put any pressure on his players.

“My senior players are first-class,” said the former Liverpool and Celtic boss. “The spirit is very good and they understand we are trying to create something here we can sustain.

“People asked about European football at the beginning of the season and I said, ‘listen, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves’ because there are some incredible teams in this league.”

Turkey centre-back Soyuncu, who joined from Freiburg in 2018, has been one of the shining stars for the Foxes this season and further endeared himself to their fans with a stooping header that broke the deadlock in the 57th minute.

Vardy, who scored a hat-trick in the 9-0 win at Southampton, then sealed the away win in the 88th minute with a first-time strike after a swift one-two with substitute Gray.

Full-back Ben Chilwell came close to adding a third in stoppage time but saw his angled strike come off the inside of the post.

Mid-table Palace, who came into the match with seven points from 12, failed to trouble Kasper Schmeichel aside from a Jeffrey Schlupp deflected strike that had to be tipped over the bar by the Dane.

The Eagles remain ninth with 15 points.

Ben Chilwell


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Maddison and Tielemans sparkle again

You cannot blame lifelong supporter Leigh Herbert for again backing Leicester to produce their second “miracle” in four years.

He believes they are a stronger unit than the one that stormed to the 2015-16 title and earned him £20,000 for his 5,000-1 bet.

The bookies agree with Leigh and gave him odds of 300-1 this time, although perhaps a better bet is to back them to finish in the top four.

This season those heavily used tactics that brought so much success five seasons ago are proving fruitful again.

In Maddison and Tielemans they have a duo in tune with Vardy’s intentions in the same way Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez were in the title-winning season.

Maddison found the former England striker for the first chance which Vicente Guaita did well to save before Tielemans threaded a brilliant ball into Vardy’s path, only for the Spanish keeper to anticipate the danger.

Midfielder Maddison had another outstanding game. He had a direct hand in seven of Leicester’s first eight shots in the match before delivering the corner for Soyuncu’s opener.

When called upon to defend, centre-backs Soyuncu and Jonny Evans, who made one notable block to deny Wilfried Zaha, coped comfortably.

Gray’s introduction in the 74th minute added more pace to the attack and he linked up with Vardy in the area for the second, which effectively ended the contest.

It is Arsenal at home next Saturday for Leicester, but thoughts might already be fixed on back-to-back fixtures with Manchester City and Liverpool in December.

Palace struggle in attack once more

As for Palace, they performed their own miracle under Roy Hodgson when he took over just over two years ago with the team in a desperate state.

Now the 72-year-old football sage is hoping for an extension to his contract, which few would argue he has not earned.

This season his side had only lost once at home prior to Sunday’s fixture and came into the match having come from 2-0 down to draw to 2-2 at Arsenal.

Crystal Palace 0-2 Leicester: Eagles not blessed with a plethora of goal scorers – Hodgson

But there was to be no fightback against the Foxes as once again Palace’s seemingly perennial problem in the final third reared its ugly head again.

Schmeichel only had to stretch once to ensure Schlupp’s shot did not embarrass him as the home attack struggled to make breakthroughs.

Palace have only scored 10 goals this season – the joint second worst total in the Premier League and the same number as Vardy.

Hodgson might be advised to ask for funds for a new striker during his contract negotiations.

Man of the match – James Maddison (Leicester)

James Maddison
James Maddison produced eight key passes in the match – six more than any other player – and the assist for the opener

Maddison equals Rooney feat – stats

  • This was Leicester’s 12th Premier League win under Brendan Rodgers – since his first game in charge, only Liverpool (19) and Man City (17) have won more than the Foxes.
  • Palace have lost back-to-back home Premier League games for the first time since March, when they lost to Brighton and Man Utd.
  • Vardy is the first player to score 10 Premier League goals this season – the last time he was the first player to reach 10 in a season was in 2015-16, when they went on to win the league.
  • Soyuncu became the second Turkish player to score in the Premier League for Leicester City, after Muzzy Izzet (33 goals between 1996 and 2004).
  • Three of the last four Premier League goals conceded by Palace have been via corners – before this, only three of the previous 36 goals they’d conceded had been from corners.
  • Maddison created eight chances for Leicester City today – the last Englishman with more in a Premier League game was Wayne Rooney in November 2013 against Cardiff City (nine).
  • Since Rodgers’ first league match in charge of Leicester on 3 March, Jamie Vardy has scored 19 Premier League goals – five more than any other player.

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November 2019