What Has Happened to Turn Jamie Vardy into the Premier League’s Most Dangerous Striker?

He’s risen From Stockbridge Park Steel in the Northern Premier League to the top of the Premier League in a little over five years and more remarkably equalled Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10 consecutive Premier League games. But Vardy still has a little way to go if he is to equal Sheffield United’s Jimmy Dunne who scored in 12 consecutive Division 1 games back in the 1931-32 season.
Vardy’s rise has been gradual, yet his performances in the opening games of this Premier League season have been quite remarkable. His no-fear attitude, frightening pace and the ability to run and run for 90 minutes have made him the most lethal striker in the league.

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But what has changed in his play since last season? SportsMatrix has examined the way in which Vardy plays, with the data revealing a significant shift in his style, combined with the awareness and experience collected during his first season in the top league.
Vardy’s involvement in Leicester City’s building attack process has fallen from 7.2% to 6%, with the Yorkshire man spending more of his time in areas where he can cause damage and leaving the build-up process to his teammates.
He is averaging almost six dribbles a game this season, virtually the same as in 2014-15, but the quality of his dribbles this season has improved, with over 41% rated as being good, compared to 36.5% last season. This has resulted in a slight increase in the number of chances that created from his dribbles.
Last season when he reached a chance situation, approximately 50% of the time he took a shot on goal, this season almost three-quarters of his chances have ended with a shot. This reflects well in his shots on goal per game, which has risen from 2.1 last season to almost four shots a game this season, accounting for more than a quarter of all Leicester City shots on goal.
Although his shot accuracy has actually fallen (from 50% last season to 42% this season), his percentage of dangerous shots has risen (from 26.9% last season to 32% this season).
But the most important statistic is that he has increased his percentage of goals from shots from just under 10% last season to 18% in the opening 13 games of this Premier League season.

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Another aspect of Vardy’s game to improve dramatically is his football intelligence. This is reflected in his offside statistics. As a player used to running off the shoulder of the last defender, getting the timing right is essential. Vardy was caught offside on average 1.2 times per game last season; this season he’s been caught offside on average 0.3 times per game.
This weekend top of the table Leicester City face second placed Manchester United, the team with the league’s meanest defence. What are the odds of Jamie Vardy breaking the Premier League goal scoring record, held by a former Manchester United legend?

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