This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Top of the table, but does he deserve to be there?
That’s the situation Jamie Vardy finds himself in right now as Leicester continue their fine start to the season. In fact, his position at the top of the table has got former Premier League forward Darren Bent well on board the Vardy hype train.
Speaking on talkSPORT Drive on Monday, Bent said that Vardy is performing at such a high level that he should be considered up there as one of the most impressive forwards in the division.
“Right now, he’s probably the best striker in the Premier League.” 🥇
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) November 4, 2019
This is what happens when you sing about Jamie Vardy’s wife…
On a technical level, Bent has a point. As top scorer in the league, it’s easy to point to that and go ‘most goals, best player’, but being the greatest marksman in the league goes far beyond that.
Vardy has got to the top of the goal-scoring charts by scoring against teams that you wouldn’t consider the biggest of opponents, like the hat trick against Southampton, or goals against Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United.
In their games against traditional ‘top six’ sides, Chelsea, Manchester United, Spurs and Liverpool he has failed to score so far this season.
This isn’t to say that Vardy is a ‘flat-track bully’, someone who only scores against the weaker sides, indeed far from it. He’s shown in the past that he’s more than capable of causing a stir against the bigger teams in the division, netting 23 in 43 against the top six as of February 2018.
However, we’re not talking about the past, we’re talking about the present and this season in particular.
That is what should be setting Vardy apart from the rest of the strikers in the division, his record against the perceived best the league has to offer, and so far he’s failed to deliver in those games.
The 32-year-old has plenty of time to make up for it though, so he’ll have the chance to prove that people like Bent are right, but if he can’t, then he might force people to re-evaluate just how useful he is.