The striker is close to driving Leicester back to the Champions League and leads Aubameyang in the golden boot standings

 Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring the equaliser in Leicester’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

It was the kind of prediction you could not help suspecting might come back to haunt Ashley Cole. Assessing Arsenal’s chances of keeping Jamie Vardy quiet with a backline consisting of David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac, the former England defender seemed confident enough.

“They’re well equipped to deal with Vardy,” Cole told Sky before the match. “He won’t cause them any trouble.” But on a night when Leicester desperately needed their leading man to write another chapter in his remarkable story, the Premier League’s leading goalscorer was always destined to have the last laugh.

It has been four years since the striker who was playing for Halifax Town in the Northern Premier League as recently as 2011 decided to turn down the opportunity to join Arsenal in the aftermath of Leicester’s fairytale title. Having gone as far as visiting the club’s London Colney training ground and meeting Arsène Wenger after the Frenchman had triggered his release clause, Vardy famously had a late change of heart and stayed put.

Given the relative fortunes of both clubs since, he has no reason to regret that decision. While Arsenal have failed to reach the Champions League since the 2016-17 season when his goals guided Leicester to the quarter-finals of the competition, the 33-year-old has continued to flourish and had taken his Premier League tally to an impressive 101 in 205 appearances after the double against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

“I would like to see where Leicester were today without Vardy in the last three years,” Mikel Arteta said before their encounter at the Emirates Stadium.

Having missed out on the Golden Boot to Harry Kane in 2016, the showdown with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the perfect opportunity for Vardy to consolidate his two-goal lead over his closest challenger this season. Continue reading

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