Can Leicester's Jamie Vardy win the Golden Boot?
Jamie Vardy is currently on 99 Premier League goals ahead of their trip to Watford | Photo: Getty / Visionhaus

Leicester City’s return to Premier League action is edging ever closer and Jamie Vardy will continue his pursuit to claim a maiden Golden Boot award.

Looking ahead to the Foxes’ run-in and their final nine league matches, Vardy is on course to finish with his highest goal feat yet but still has work to do in order to achieve that, starting against Nigel Pearson's Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday. 

Vardy is currently top of the scoring charts with 19 – two ahead of Arsenal’s Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and the chasing pack with less than a third of the season to go, but can the City hitman do it for the first time?

Impressive Premier League record

Following a breakthrough spell in the Premier League in 2014/15, Vardy began Leicester’s title-winning campaign in excellent form which helped them to a first top-flight title. During that season, the former Stocksbridge Park Steels forward broke Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record by scoring in 11 successive league matches between August and November 2015. However, he missed out on the Golden Boot despite bagging 24 goals – one less than Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane.

Vardy came fourth two seasons later with an impressive 20 in 37 league games, but inevitably finished a dozen behind Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah. He creeped into the top five again during the 18/19 campaign with another superb total of 18 – only four goals behind the three who led the pack.

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Best season yet?

At 32, many wondered whether Vardy could replicate his form moving into 19/20, but after failing to net in his first two matches, he returned to his best goalscoring form at the end of August. A terrific finish in front of the Kop at Bramall Lane helped the Foxes to a win versus Sheffield United, before he notched a brace in victory over Bournemouth.

Another double followed in a rout over Newcastle United at King Power Stadium and he netted against Burnley to take his tally up to six for the season. While the Foxes were flying high at the top end of the table, Vardy was too, and what followed at St Mary’s against Southampton was nothing short of unbelievable. The forward scored three of Leicester’s nine goals on a wet Friday night on the south coast – his first hat-trick since the 4-2 win over Manchester City in 2016.

He continued his rich vein of form into November by bagging in each of their three games that month, which earned him the division’s Player of the Month award – the fourth of his career. Goals against Everton, Watford and Aston Villa at the beginning of the following month meant Vardy had scored in eight consecutive league matches. But drawing a blank at home to Norwich City ensured that he wasn’t to beat the record set by himself.

After scoring against Man City just before Christmas, Vardy went on a nine-game barren spell in front of goal. During that time, he was carrying an injury which ruled him out of crucial fixtures against Norwich and the FA Cup clash at home to Birmingham City.

Return to form

However, he returned to the scoresheet in the Foxes’ last game before the league was halted due to the coronavirus. Vardy came on as a substitute and grabbed a double to ensure Leicester beat Villa 4-0, which saw the frontman hit 99 Premier League goals in the process and a 19th for the current campaign.

With nine matches to go in England’s top tier, Vardy, along with many others will be vying to win an illustrious award which only some of the top strikers have won in the previous 28 years. His record against some of the sides that the Foxes have to play also favours the ex-Fleetwood man.

Leicester’s first two matches back are against Watford and Brighton & Hove Albion respectively, and Vardy has scored in each of his last four matches against the Hornets and the Seagulls dating back to January 2018. 

After the FA Cup quarter-final tie versus Chelsea, Leicester play Everton - a team who Vardy has scored six goals against since City's promotion to the top division, the third most he has scored against a single club in the Premier League. 

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Stunning Gunners count

Top of that list is Arsenal. Vardy has netted a magnificent nine career goals in nine matches versus the Gunners and the Foxes have to make the trip to the Emirates Stadium in July, which could be vital to both teams' European aspirations. 

The City no.9 also has a good record against Spurs and Bournemouth, scoring five past each of those club's in previous top-flight seasons, and Leicester have to travel to those two before the end of the campaign.

If he replicates his previous form from the first-half of the season and previous performances against sides the Foxes still have to play which will be crucial, it is very likely that Vardy can become the first Leicester player to win the Premier League’s Golden Boot since its reformation in 1992.