Jamie Vardy and Cristiano Ronaldo could make Leicester vs Man United a real shoot-out
One admitted to drinking almost an entire bottle of port on the eve of a match and then drinking three cans of Red Bull and a double espresso in the hours before kick-off.
The other stays away from carbonated drinks, rarely drinks alcohol, eats only nutritious food and takes five power naps a day.
But despite their somewhat contrasting methods, both Jamie Vardy and Cristiano Ronaldo could easily finish this season as the Premier League’s leading goalscorer.
Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed a great week with Portugal and now returns to Man United action
United should be wary of Leicester with Jamie Vardy in such excellent form
Both United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) and Leicester player Brendan Rodgers (right) could use three points from the game on Saturday afternoon.
They are both deadly strikers in their mid-30s and more than capable of outdoing a defense and changing the course of a match in the blink of an eye.
It makes the match between Leicester City and Manchester United next Saturday fascinating as the Premier League makes a welcome return after the monotony of this week’s World Cup qualifiers.
Vardy, who had halted his career in England more than three years ago, was able to enjoy their games against Andorra and Hungary with his feet on the bench.
However, Ronaldo, even at the age of 36, still loves being in the middle of it for Portugal. He scored his 10th international hat-trick – and the 58th of his astonishing career – in a 5-0 thrashing of Luxembourg on Tuesday night.
It left Portugal on the box-seat in qualifying Group A – one point behind leader Serbia, but with a game in hand. It’s a safe bet to say Ronaldo will be in Qatar next year.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 58th hat-trick of his career when Portugal defeated Luxembourg
Almost everything Ronaldo tried went wrong when Portugal won the World Cup qualifier 5-0
The goals should improve Ronaldo’s mood after he ran off after the Everton draw
Ronaldo is keeping his scoresheet up and that is good news for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the match at King Power Stadium has the potential to become something of a shoot-out.
Solskjaer is likely to be without first-choice centre-backs Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane, leaving Vardy licking his lips at the prospect of beating Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof.
As a striker who thrives on scoring runs behind defenders, Vardy will certainly see his chances of adding half a dozen Premier League goals so far this season.
Lindelof can be aloof when opponents attack him quickly and is often criticized for his lack of aerial authority, while Bailly can sometimes invade without much thought. Either way, it could be good news for Leicester.
Despite Vardy’s good form, Brendan Rodgers’ squad has not got going this season. They sit 13th, with just two wins out of their first seven. Also in the Europa League they have only collected one point from six.
Jamie Vardy scored his sixth goal of the Premier League campaign against Crystal Palace
However, Leicester threw away a two-goal lead to take only a point from Selhurst Park
But the prospect of an open game against a stuttering United could be just what they need. There will be no inferiority complex – they took four points from Solskjaer’s side last season and dumped them out of the FA Cup.
While Leicester could use three points after a slow start, that’s nothing compared to the pressure Solskjaer feels to get a result.
A run of three defeats in their last six games has taken away the feel-good factor surrounding Ronaldo’s return and Solskjaer is undoubtedly under pressure to turn things around.
Unfortunately for him, United’s soft landing in the new season is definitely over with a series of discouraging games between now and the end of November.
They face Leicester, Atalanta (twice), Liverpool, Tottenham, Man City, Villarreal, Chelsea and Arsenal in a brutal series of matches that could make or break United’s season even at this early point.
Mason Greenwood can’t find his way through a full Leicester defense in last season’s meeting
Leicester won the match at Old Trafford in May 2-1 but would miss the top four
Solskjaer has previously proven to be a very good tactician in the big games and now has more offensive weapons at his disposal, while Marcus Rashford is also closing in on a return.
Ronaldo may have scored five goals in six games to emphatically prove he can still do it in English football, but United can’t fall into the trap of relying on him to save them no matter how much he grumbles and goes through the tunnel storms.
Leicester are without Wesley Fofana at the back and Wilfred Ndidi in midfield, which can only encourage United, but the attack has to match with too many recent appearances that are unconvincing.
United will likely be without Raphael Varane (left) and Harry Maguire (right) – their first-choice central defensive combination – for the King Power Stadium visit
Vardy will be excited at the prospect of competing against Bailly (pictured) and Lindelof . to play
Matches between the two have become closer over the years. United traditionally had the upper hand, but last season’s encounters saw Leicester in the ascendancy.
Given the form of both sides and both Vardy and Ronaldo are excellent balls, Saturday’s game could turn into a ding-dong affair.
It’s a bit ridiculous to describe an October match as a must-win, but for Rodgers and Solskjaer, it’s a game they don’t dare lose.