What a difference a year makes for star Leicester striker

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At this exact stage last season, Jamie Vardy was preparing for a home league game against Crystal Palace having netted in each of his previous six outings.

The striker would score the only goal of the game against the Eagles on his way to setting a new Premier League record for scoring in consecutive matches. It was one of many fairytale stories as Leicester wrapped up an unfathomable league title.

12 months on Palace are once again the visitors to the King Power Stadium. The difference? Vardy hasn’t scored in four straight top-flight assignments and is goalless in nine outings for club and country.

The Foxes are mirroring the striker’s woes. Relegation is a closer threat than the defence of their league crown at the moment, with Claudio Ranieri’s men two points ahead of 18th-placed Stoke and 11 away from the league’s summit.

If they are to leapfrog up the table, then they’ll need their star striker to rediscover his fire, because an in-form Vardy tends to mean an in-form Leicester.

During Leicester’s first season back in the top-flight, when Nigel Pearson spent much of the campaign managing what appeared to be relegation certainties, Vardy went 23 games without hitting the back of the net.

When the surge towards survival started in the final nine games of the season, the former non-league man scored three times.

Leicester are an even-money shot to better the Eagles, while Vardy is 8/5 to score at anytime. Combining those two outcomes provides odds of 11/4 and for both the player and the Foxes’ sake, it’s a bet that needs to come in.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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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.