Vardy breaks record but Leicester drop points against dogged Manchester United
Jamie Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy's scoring record but Leicester had to settle for a draw against Manchester United despite yet another thrilling display from Claudio Ranieri's side.
Vardy became the first player to score in 11 straight Premier League matches - beating Van Nistelrooy's record from 2003 - when he stroked home Christian Fuchs' slide-rule pass.
The Foxes blitzed United with wave after wave of attack in search of a second goal, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw after Bastian Schweinsteiger headed home an equaliser in first-half injury time.
The draw meant Leicester were unable to reclaim top spot, but Ranieri will not be too disheartened.
Although they failed to grab all three points, this performance showed they are capable of challenging for a top-four place at the end of the season.
And it probably put a million or two on Vardy's value too. In front of England manager Roy Hodgson, he was simply excellent again.
Hodgson's captain Wayne Rooney, on the other hand, was substituted in the 68th minute after another poor display.
He was not the only struggling performer in red. United lacked pace, energy and ideas and although they improved in the second half, they should consider themselves lucky to escape with a point.
A rousing build-up which involved a trumpet, some raucous chanting, and a re-run of the highlights from last year's 5-3 win in the corresponding fixture, whipped the home support into a frenzy.
The Leicester players were up for the occasion too, none so more than Vardy. The striker hunted every red shirt he saw from the first whistle.
Michael Carrick carelessly passed the ball to Vardy deep inside the Leicester half, but he squared to Ngolo Kante and his deflected shot flew wide.
United's defence was creaking under pressure. Ashley Young entered the book for a cynical foul that prevented the vibrant Riyad Mahrez from breaking away. Mahrez was fouled three times in the opening half. United could simply not deal with the winger's pace.
The visitors, in contrast, offered little. Rooney had two lame attempts at goal and that was it in the opening stages.
Leicester were well on top and it came as no surprise when they scored. The name of the goalscorer was just as unsurprising.
As soon as Vardy lost Young and raced on to Fuchs' pass, there was only ever going to be one outcome.
The 28-year-old kept his composure and struck the ball past David de Gea with confidence before being mobbed by his team-mates. It was nothing more than Leicester deserved.
Leicester fans taunted the travelling support. "Louis van Gaal, he sends you to sleep" they chanted with glee.
The United supporters would have been forgiven for nodding off or making an early departure for the M6. Their team were producing absolutely nothing while Leicester were threatening to run riot.
Mahrez went close twice while Rooney fell too easily looking for a penalty.
Then, all of a sudden, United were somehow level.
Danny Drinkwater gave away a corner and Daley Blind whipped in the cross which Schweinsteiger nodded in.
The German almost put United ahead after the break with another close-range header, but Kasper Schmeichel saved.
With Vardy tiring, Leicester were unable to maintain the momentum they had before the break.
They still looked the more threatening side, however. Kante broke and found substitute Leonardo Ulloa, but De Gea saved to keep United in it.
Then, with 22 minutes left Van Gaal put Rooney out of his misery and replaced him with Memphis Depay.
The Dutchman had a superb chance to nick it at the death but he blazed over.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"Well done vardy7! You're number one now and you deserved it. #11inarow" - former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy congratulates Jamie Vardy after seeing his record for scoring in consecutive Barclays Premier League matches broken.
Kasper Schmeichel: 7 (out of 10)
Danny Simpson: 7
Wes Morgan: 7
Robert Huth: 7
Christian Fuchs: 7
Marc Albrighton: 7
N'Golo Kante: 7
Danny Drinkwater: 7
Riyad Mahrez: 8
Shinji Okazaki: 6
Jamie Vardy: 8
Leonardo Ulloa: 6
Ritchie de Laet: 6
Jeff Schlupp: 6
David de Gea: 6
Matteo Darmian: 6
Chris Smalling: 6
Paddy McNair: 6
Daley Blind: 6
Michael Carrick: 6
Bastian Schweinsteiger: 7
Juan Mata: 6
Wayne Rooney: 6
Ashley Young: 5
Anthony Martial: 6
Memphis Depay: 6
Jamie Vardy: It was fate that the striker would break Ruud van Nistelrooy's record against the club the Dutchman played for when he set it in 2003. It was an all-action first half from the forward, complete with a clinical 24th minute finish which gave United goalkeeper David de Gea no chance. Vardy unsettled the keeper afterwards, leading to an exchange of words, but it is all part of Vardy's game. He has written his name into the record books.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH:
The atmosphere had been electric in the build-up to kick-off and Vardy did not disappoint the expectant fans. Leicester gave United a lesson in the counter-attack when Kasper Schmeichel launched a quick break to Christian Fuchs. The defender's inch-perfect pass found Vardy, who had run in behind Matteo Darmian to clinically beat De Gea from 12 yards.
MOAN OF THE MATCH:
Leicester gave United a lesson in how to attack, with the visitors pedestrian going forward and Wayne Rooney firing blanks. Schweinsteiger's goal came from a set-piece, but it was United's only serious threat as they again struggling to create. Ashley Young was bright going forward but floundered defensively as a wing-back and Louis van Gaal must start to solve their issues.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH:
Claudio Ranieri has given Vardy immense credit but he has always stressed all of his Leicester side deserve praise for their stunning form and it was another team display against United. The Italian, though, would have been disappointed with United's equaliser, with Shinji Okazaki beaten too easily by Schweinsteiger. Van Gaal again saw his side struggle going forward - with their first-half leveller barely deserved - and Rooney's form remains a problem.
Swansea v Leicester (Barclays Premier League, Saturday December 5)
Manchester United v West Ham (Barclays Premier League, Saturday December 5)
All eyes were on Jamie Vardy after his record-breaking display, although the Leicester striker was keen to point towards the collective effort.
"I am obviously delighted, but the main thing was the performance," he said.
"I think we put in a very good shift in today and in the end a point was probably a fair result."
Being shown a replay of his goal, the Leicester striker told Sky Sports: "Obviously we've got a lot of pace in the team and I think counter-attacking is a big advantage for us.
"If we can break as quick we have, then obviously it is going to benefit the team.
"It's unbelievable. I think I got a bit carried away with myself (during the celebrations)."
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri hailed Vardy's "incredible achievement" after the 1-1 draw.
"It was an amazing match," he said. "It was very difficult because United are a very good team. They keep possession of the ball very, very well.
"But I think we made a very good, tactical match and were very good concentrated because at the first mistake they can score a goal.
"We conceded a goal at the end of the first half - it was not so good, but that's football.
"I am very happy because before the match I said to my players we had two objectives today: 1) win the match and 2) try to help Vardy score and achieve the record.
"We take one point which is good for our table and Jamie made the record. It is fantastic for us, a very good evening."
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal cut a frustrated figure after dominating large spells, but was pleased with his side's response to the goalless draw with PSV Eindhoven.
"I think after the disappointment against PSV, we have dominated the game," he said.
"I have the feeling that we could have won this game and I think also - and I have said to my players - these kind of matches you have to win when you want to be champion at the end of the season.
"They could train the whole week to prepare and we didn't train after the game against PSV.
"I have a bad feeling because we could have won this game, but I am proud that they play like this."