Jamie Vardy double lifts Leicester and piles more misery on Norwich | premier league

Normal service has resumed. Jamie Vardy, without a goal since March 1, scored twice in eight minutes to put Leicester City back in the Premier League’s first half with their first win in eight games as loyal Norwich City fans celebrated their two-year relegation from the Premier League. elite with unflinching irony. .

At set triggers, Norwich fans launched into synchronized leaps and chants, even after James Maddison scored the 78th goal against them this season, the most they have conceded in a top-flight season. Their last four Premier League seasons have ended in relegation, but Dean Smith relishes the challenge ahead.

Maddison made the game safe 20 minutes from time by driving the ball home with a left foot from 12 yards out after Angus Gunn could only parry Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s ferocious cross from the inside channel left of the penalty area.

Leicester’s resources have been stretched to breaking point at times this season but, after the disappointment of losing in the Europa Conference League semi-final to Roma last week, it was a reminder that hunger still burns brightly in stomachs. de Vardy, Maddison and, even if his days seem numbered in Leicester, Youri Tielemans.

“I thought he was excellent tonight,” said Brendan Rodgers of the Arsenal-linked midfielder. “Speculation sheds light on him. For me he’s still the same guy, his professionalism is first class. That’s why I still play him.

Both managers are looking forward to the end of this season, for different reasons. “I applied to the Premier League to ask if we can play Wolves tomorrow and Tottenham on Friday,” joked Dean Smith. “It won’t be a big rebuild this summer. We have players more than capable of performing strongly in the league.

It may have been a dead rubber in neutral, but for Rodgers it was very serious. Eight games without a win would have been Leicester’s worst run since Claudio Ranieri was dismissed in February 2017 – Claude Puel left after seven – and he responded by selecting his strongest available XI, after Wesley Fofana dropped out late with a tight calf.

“We don’t want the season to end with a moan,” the Leicester manager said. “It was a bit flat over the weekend [in losing 2-1 at home against Everton] but we had a good conversation. We want to finish in the top 10. This summer we will look to improve the team, have a good pre-season and be ready to fly into next season.

James Maddison with Brendan Rodgers at the end of the game
James Maddison with Brendan Rodgers at the end of the game. Maddison scored Leicester’s third goal in their 3-0 win over Norwich. Photography: David Klein/Reuters

Vardy, Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Ademola Lookman and James Justin returned, but the team were too attack-oriented in the first half, sensitive to the counter-attack, and it took the introduction at half-time. time of Nampalys Mendy, a midfielder. happy to hold on, to restore the balance.

Gunn, who replaced Tim Krul in the Norwich goal, had twice saved Maddison and Vardy in stride, in the first dozen minutes, but Norwich had their chances.

Tony Springett, on his full debut, was in inconceivable space when he was found by Milot Rashica, but Kasper Schmeichel saved both his effort and that of Teemu Pukki, who hit the post in the first half when he was expelled by Springett.

“There was too much space in the game for me in the first half,” Rodgers said. “So we changed the structure of the midfield, and from the first ball roll, we were much better in the second half.”

Vardy made one of his trademark runs behind the left channel, from Barnes’ pass, before returning to his right foot. The shot was powerful but didn’t seem tied to the goal until it ricocheted off Grant Hanley’s block and went over Gunn for the veteran forward’s 13th goal of the season.

His 14th soon followed. Again Barnes was the provider as the winger collected Justin’s short pass before playing a perfectly timed ball for Vardy to run into Hanley’s back and unload a vigorous left foot into the near top corner.

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