Leicester makes another title bid with 8th straight EPL win

Sports

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy smiles after scoring his side’s fourth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Leicester City at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

LONDON (AP) — A club-record eighth successive Premier League victory for Leicester. An eighth straight game scoring for Jamie Vardy.

Leicester has rolled the clock back four years with another title challenge that gathered more momentum with Vardy netting twice in a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday.

The problem for Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is that Liverpool is eight points in front. There is still more than half the season remaining and a meeting between the top two on Dec. 26.

“I don’t think anyone expects us to be near the top,” Rodgers said. “After Manchester United won at Manchester City on Saturday, the caption came up about how far City are away from Liverpool (14 points). We respect that, we get on with our work and keep developing as a team.”

Rodgers knows all about title challenges, winning the Scottish top flight twice with Celtic after falling just short of City in the 2014 title race while managing Liverpool.

He watched from afar as Claudio Ranieri defied 5,000-1 odds to win the Premier League for Leicester in 2016.

“We have finished ninth in the last two seasons but today we looked like a top team,” Rodgers said. “It was a real historic day, to surpass the club record of straight wins in the top flight was fantastic for us.”

Vardy opened the scoring in the 20th minute and Kelechi Iheanacho doubled the lead four minutes before halftime.

Jack Grealish pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time but Jonny Evans’ header after the break restored Leicester’s two-goal advantage. Vardy wrapped the game up with 15 minutes left and the striker is three games from matching his record of scoring in 11 straight Premier League games in the title-winning campaign.

“Jamie is such a top-level player, he is always ready when the chances come,” Rodgers said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt he isn’t going to score.”

RECORD WOLVES

Wolverhampton matched a 57-year-old club record by going an 11th top-flight game unbeaten by drawing 2-2 with Brighton to rise to sixth place.

Diogo Jota exchanged passes with Raul Jimenez to send Wolves in front but they were 2-1 down within eight minutes.

Neal Maupay drilled home a left-footed strike after getting on the end of a long ball from Dale Stephens before Davy Propper headed Brighton into the lead from Leandro Trossard’s cross .

Wolves were back on level terms by the 44th after Jota got his second goal. He received the ball from Jonny before sending a strike beyond goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

RELEGATION SCRAP

Villa is only out of the relegation zone due to having a better goal difference than Southampton and Norwich, who both lost 2-1 on Sunday.

Sheffield United came from behind to overcome Norwich to move into eighth place. Enda Stevens’ header and George Baldock’s strike inside three second-half minutes wiped out Alexander Tettey’s opener for Norwich.

Newcastle jumped to 10th place thanks to Federico Fernandez’s 87th-minute winner at home to Southampton.

Jonjo Shelvey had canceled out Danny Ings’ opener for Southampton with his third goal in as many games as he headed in substitute Andy Carroll’s cross in the 68th.

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