Through the first four months of the Premier League season, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy was scoring goals like people eat orange Tic Tacs and gummy bears.
He had sixteen goals in sixteen matches and was cruising to the Golden Boot. His xG was 10.53 and the difference between expected and actual goals was -5.47.
During the same time period, Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus had five goals and an xG of 7.08 (a +2.08 difference). These numbers suggested that Vardy was lighting up the score sheet with clinical strikes mixed with maybe a little luck and that Jesus was struggling with his finishing.
Vardy was essentially carrying the Foxes. The next highest goal scorer during the early half of the season for the club was James Maddison with five. Meanwhile, Jesus was tied for third in goalscoring in his club with Raheem Sterling (8) and Sergio Aguero (9) ahead of him. In other words, Leicester’s success hinged on Vardy’s.
Jamie Vardy hit the post in the seventh minute in Saturday’s match. Gabriel Jesus knocked the ball in the net and won the match for City.
The 33-year-old English center forward for the Foxes has gone goalless in seven straight matches. He has scored one goal since December 9th. He was rested in one match and out injured in another match during Leicester’s last eleven.
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His xG during this period is 2.86, suggesting that he is not converting his chances. The Foxes leading goalscorers in the last 10 matches are Ayoze Perez and Harvey Barnes with three goals each. As the leading goalscorer, by far, his drought has been a large factor in his team’s downward spiral.
Jesus, on the other hand, has scored five goals in his last ten appearances. His teammate, Aguero, has scored seven in his last nine matches coming as close as one shy of Vardy in the league lead. Ironically, his xG over this latest period is 7.04, still indicating that he is struggling with his clinical finishing. In Pep’s squad, his team’s tactics and other teammates lead to more goal chances and, if things are on track, more goals.
These situations that Vardy and Jesus find themselves in are staggering. Jesus’s total xG of every possession the player is involved in per 90 minutes (xGChain90) and total xG of every possession the player is involved in without key passes and shots per 90 minutes (xGBuildUp90) is 1.28 and 0.33, respectively.
For Vardy, the numbers are 0.56 and 0.06, respectively. These numbers are more a reflection that Vardy’s team is significantly weaker around him than Jesus’.