Party without Vardy thanks to this 28/1 scorecast
Leicester v Swansea, Sunday 4.15pm, Sky Sports 1
Jamie Vardy’s ‘minor disagreement’ with referee Jonathon Moss means that he’ll be missing for Leicester’s clash with Swansea at the King Power Stadium, but no Vardy certainly doesn’t mean no party for punters.
While Vardy’s record of 22 goals in 34 starts has hogged the headlines, strike partner Shinji Okazaki is no weak link, and the Japanese forward is well worth a punt on Sunday – despite scoring just five times in 32 appearances this season.
Between them Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have scored 64 per cent of Leicester’s goals this season, but Okazaki has popped up at crucial times, scoring key goals in narrow wins over Everton, Newcastle and West Ham. Discounting his five strikes would leave Leicester seven points worse off – and two points off Tottenham Hotspur in the race for the title.
Swansea’s form is the main reason for tipping up a comfortable Foxes victory. With four games remaining, the Welsh side are 10 points clear of relegation and 11 points off a top eight finish. The flip-flops are packed, the passport is up to date, and with nothing really to aim for it’s no surprise if Swansea eased up a touch.
If you want to see a fine example of what happens when a team with very little to play for faces a team with absolutely everything to play for, take a little gander at Swansea’s last match with Newcastle. The Magpies had lost 11 of their 15 league games going into Saturday’s clash, but Rafa Benitez’s men romped to a crucial 3-0 victory, and restricted Swansea to just one shot on target – despite Francesco Guildolin’s men having 65 per cent of the ball.
In 2016 Swansea have kept just three clean sheets in 16 matches, and they’ve conceded two or more goals in 38 per cent of those games. In complete contrast Leicester have the meanest defence in 2016, and it took a dubious penalty from Andy Carroll last weekend to bring Kasper Schmiechel’s clean sheet run of 574 minutes to an end.
The Foxes are favourites to win and put another hand on the Premier League trophy, while they are a tempting shot to win to nil. However in Vardy’s absence we still need an excuse to party – and the cherry on top of a weekend in the sunshine could be a 28/1 scorecast on Okazaki to score first in a 2-0 win for Claudio Ranieri’s men.
Leicester have bounced back from adversity before – they’re last-gasp loss to Arsenal at the Emirates was followed up by six wins and two draws – and Leonardo Ulloa’s 95th minute penalty to rescue a point against West Ham shows they have bottle in abundance.
A win at home to a Swansea side with nothing to play for will, at worst, put them five points ahead with three games to go. Wrapped up?