With two assists, two penalties won and a goal in Leicester’s 5-3 home triumph against Manchester United, Jamie Vardy can claim to have made one of the better full Premier League debuts in the 22-year history of the Sky era.
The Red Devils’ defence may have more space behind it than the USS Enterprise these days, with new gaffer Louis van Gaal clearly needing time for his oft-repeated ‘philosophy’ to bed in, but nothing can be taken away from the Foxes winger’s performance.
Vardy was Man of the Match in every sense, with a by-line burst to land a cross on striker Leonardo Ulloa’s head keeping Leicester’s peckers up when 2-0 down, before the Yorkshireman’s flagrant foul on Rafael da Silva saw the Brazil full-back concede a soft penalty in retaliation.
Referee Mark Clattenburg comically compounded his original mistake in not pulling back Vardy for his NHL-esque body check on Da Silva by pointing to the spot, but even Van Gaal could not find cause for complaint in the context of the game as a whole.
Having become the first £1m non-league player, following a 2011/12 campaign in which the former Sheffield Wednesday youth’s 31 goals fired Fleetwood to the Conference Premier title, Vardy took some time to settle in the Championship, notching just four times in his first season under Nigel Pearson.
16 strikes in 37 fixtures last term served notice of the 27-year-old’s potential though, and in destroying the 13-time Premier League champions’ dodgy backline with a display of pace and precision reminiscent of former Wales flyer Craig Bellamy, Vardy finally announced himself on the big stage.
United, who are still odds-on at 7/10 to regain their top-four status this term after equally dreadful weekends for perceived rivals Liverpool and Spurs, are a long way from becoming a Premier League title force, despite their £200m worth of summer arrivals.
However, having led by two goals twice at the King Power Stadium, where Radamel Falcao impressed sporadically in patches on full debut, and with the Reds and Lilywhites looking even more clueless at present, Van Gaal’s men are uneasy-but-logical fourth-favourites in the top four betting at present.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £100 in free bets.