Vardy piles on Newcastle’s misery in equalling top-flight record

Every camera lens, every column inch, every eye was on Jamie Vardy as he led the line for Leicester against Newcastle on Saturday and the England striker didn’t let the attention bother him.

The former non-league star equalled Ruud van Nisterlrooy’s Premier League record by scoring in his 10th top-flight game in a row in the north east and will have the chance to break the Dutchman’s piece of history against Manchester United next week.

For the Magpies, it was the second time the scoring record was reached in their stadium, with Van Nistelrooy setting the feat at St James’ Park in 2003/04. Their performance back then could not have been as bad as this one though.

Although the Geordie fans gave Vardy a deserving and respectful round of applause for his achievement when substituted in the second half, they reserved particular scorn for their own players and manager as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat.

The loss was their seventh in the league campaign and leaves them one slim point above the drop zone, with Ladbrokes rating the side as 8/5 fourth favourites to be relegated this term.

For Steve McClaren, his side’s continued ineptitude at the back and overall lackadaisical attitude is unacceptable and the former Middlesbrough boss only has Garry Monk ahead of him in the betting to be the next Premier League manager to leave.

Unless he can fix the Magpies’ shoddiness in defence, the 7/2 about him getting the chop next looks terrific value.

The ease and frequency with which Vardy was able to run in behind the Newcastle back four was alarming, while Leonardo Ulloa was able to stand in acres of space at the back post before nodding him the second goal on Saturday.

Only two teams concede more goals per game than Newcastle’s current mark of 1.92 and unless that can be remedied, it will be their lack of organisation in defence that will threaten their top-flight status the most.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.