Jamie Vardy’s Having a Party: Six Years on From His Scoring Run
Sunday marks six years since Jamie Vardy broke the Premier League record for scoring in consecutive appearances. The Leicester City striker scored the opening goal in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United to net for a 11th successive top-flight match – a record that still stands today. We look back at the data surrounding his feat.
The Great Escape
Rewind to the evening of April 4, 2015, and you find Leicester City rock bottom of the Premier League table, four points from safety and with just eight games left to avoid being relegated back to the Championship after just one season in the promised land.
However, The Foxes had just recorded a 2-1 victory over West Ham United earlier that day thanks to a late strike from Andy King – a result that would spark a run of seven victories in nine Premier League games for Nigel Pearson’s men (D1 L1). That run would close out the season for the Foxes and maintain their Premier League status with a 14th place finish.
Leicester spent 140 days at the foot of the Premier League table in 2014-15, the most ever in a single season by a team that has avoided relegation in the history of the competition. Jamie Vardy also only scored five goals in 34 league appearances that season, so when Leicester were labelled a 5000-1 shot for the title ahead of the 2015-16 campaign, even that may have been slightly generous.
A WKD Run
Jamie Vardy would go on to score the opening goal of the 2015-16 Premier League season for the Foxes with an 11th-minute strike against Sunderland. Leicester and their striker laid down a marker for what was to come.
After two goalless outings for the forward against West Ham and Spurs, an 86th-minute equaliser from the penalty spot at the tail end of August started a phenomenal scoring run that few expected from Vardy.
Between August 29 and November 28, 2015, Vardy scored in 11 successive matches for Leicester City, with 13 goals netted across those appearances in total.
Braces against Arsenal and Southampton as well as a customary away goal at the Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion all came during the run. It was fitting that he broke the record in the 11th game with a strike from his only shot of the match against Manchester United, meaning he overtook former Red Devil striker Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of 10 games between March and August 2003.
Leicester lost just one of those 11 games that the England striker scored in, recording a total of 22 points (W6 D4) with Vardy’s goals accounting for 14 of those alone.
Overall, across the 2015-16 Premier League season, Vardy’s goals were worth more points to his team than any other player (23), with teammate Riyad Mahrez (20) ranking second in that respect.
Harry Kane may have pipped Vardy to the Premier League Golden Boot that season, yet his 25 goals were worth just eight points to Spurs.
Fox in the Box
Excluding penalties, Vardy recorded 46 shots that accumulated an expected goals (xG) figure across his breath-taking run of 7.1. The average xG value of Vardy’s efforts was 0.15, meaning you would expect roughly 15% of those shots to have found the back of the net given the quality of the chances.
Unsurprisingly the Englishman exceeded this figure, appropriately for such a special run, with the striker converting 22% of his shots.
Three of the Leicester striker’s 13 goals in the run came from the spot with Vardy winning all three of the penalties himself. Vardy was fouled for seven penalties overall in the 2015-16 season – at least four more than any other player, dispatching five from the spot in total.
All 13 of Vardy’s goals during this run came from inside the penalty area, a trend that has long continued in the strikers’ career. Of the 31 members of the Premier League 100-goal club, only Dwight Yorke (98% – 121/123) has matched his proportion of goals from inside the 18-yard box (98% – 122/125).
Vardy is rightly regarded as one of the best strikers currently operating in the Premier League, mainly down to his pace with and without the ball.
Four of Vardy’s 13 goals in his 11-game stretch came from the striker utilising this trait and finding the net following a carry of 5+ metres with the ball (vs. Stoke, the first goal vs. Arsenal, vs. Crystal Palace & vs. West Brom).
Overall, in the 2015-16 campaign, Vardy scored nine goals following a ball carry – the most in the Premier League and second only to Gonzalo Higuaín across the big five European leagues.
Three’s a Charm
The best goalscoring run in the Premier League Vardy could boast before his record-breaking run was just two in a row, a goal in the final game of the 2014-15 season and the opening game of the 2015-16 campaign.
However, since then, goalscoring streaks have become a staple of Vardy’s Premier League career since hitting the 11-game mark.
Vardy has recorded 12 different runs of scoring in 3+ consecutive Premier League games since the start of the 2015-16 season (including the record 11), with Harry Kane (10) the only player within touching distance of that total.
The only player that has threatened to dethrone Vardy from his record is the Sheffield-born striker himself, scoring in eight straight games between October and December 2019.
No other player has scored in more than seven consecutive English top-flight games since Vardy broke the record (Aguero & Lukaku) whilst Daniel Sturridge is the only other player alongside the current and former record holder to score in eight straight appearances in Premier League history.
Jamie Vardy’s 11-game scoring run was ultimately a subplot in the miraculous story of Leicester City in the 2015-16 Premier League season, but it deservedly holds its own place in the competition’s history, and if anyone can rewrite it then you wouldn’t put it past it being him once again.
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