Only three hat-tricks have ever been scored against teams managed by Pep Guardiola – and Jamie Vardy now has two of them.
Lionel Messi scored the other and, had the summer and the season panned out differently, this match would have been his home debut for Manchester City, before a besotted and raucous full house. Instead, an echoing Etihad played host to a club legend of a wholly different variety – Vardy, whose career has been spent on a trajectory that could not be more different to one lived in the Nou Camp.
What a player he is, though – and what a knotty little problem for Manchester City, always running, always twisting, always turning, fast and quick-witted and seemingly impossible to contain.
Jamie Vardy scored a hat-trick comprised of an excellent flick and two penalties for Leicester against Manchester City
Vardy celebrates with his Leicester team-mates after scoring his side’s second goal in the clash against Manchester City
James Maddison, who was brought on as a substitute, is delighted after his excellent goal made it 4-1 to Leicester
Youri Tielemans put the icing on the cake for Leicester in the 88th minute to make it 5-2 from the penalty spot on Sunday
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Garcia, Ake, Mendy, Fernandinho (Delap 51), Rodri, Foden (Torres 64), De Bruyne, Sterling, Mahrez
Subs: Steffen, Zinchenko, Laporte, Doyle, Palmer
Goals: Mahrez 4, Ake 84
Leicester: Schmeichel, Castagne, Evans (Fuchs 80), Soyuncu, Justin, Mendy, Amartey, Tielemans, Praet (Maddison 68), Barnes, Vardy (Iheanacho 85)
Subs: Ward, Albrighton, Perez, Choudhury
Goals: Vardy 37 (pen), 54, 58 (pen), Maddison 77, Tielemans 87 (pen)
Booked: Tielemans, Soyuncu, Amartey
He won two penalties, scored two penalties and, in between, converted from close range after a lovely near post darting run. City barely looked like getting in it after Leicester’s second, but all hope evaporated after James Maddison scored the fourth with 13 minutes remaining, arguably the goal of the game. The fifth, another penalty, merely confirmed what we already knew: defensively, City remain a look way from being title contenders.
And while it can be argued City are missing players, and were forced to play Raheem Sterling as the spearhead of the front-line, an absence of forwards is not the reason a team leaks five goals. More worryingly, had Wolves taken their chances something very similar could have happened last Monday, too.
After Vardy’s first penalty had pulled Leicester level at half-time, a City onslaught was expected, a second 45 minutes of attack versus defence, Leicester crowding behind the ball, eyes on a point. Instead: the opposite. The arrival of teenage striker Liam Delap after 51 minutes was a sign Guardiola was not happy with the threat his team was posing – and the young man did hit the bar with a header – but more troubling was the inability to spot Leicester’s clever movement and nullify it.
After 53 minutes, Yiouri Tielemans – a contender for man of the match, despite Vardy’s heroics – played a sweet ball through to Timothy Castagne on the right. It split Benjamin Mendy and Nathan Ake, neither of whom seemed greatly alive to it, and by then it was too late. Castagne crossed and Vardy nipped in at the near post to flick the ball past Ederson for his second.
Just four minutes later, Leicester had a third. The excellent Harvey Barnes fed Vardy, he went looking for a foul from Eric Garcia, and the defender obligingly delivered it. Vardy does fall easily, but City cannot deny their contribution. Whoever coaches the defence on getting the wrong side of their man is doing a sterling job. For his hat-trick, Vardy put the ball low to the right.
Game over? It most certainly was in the 77th minute, when substitute Maddison cut in from the left and, buoyed by the absence of any challenge or attempt to close him down, pickled out the far, top corner with a beautifully struck shot.
Jamie Vardy is congratulated by his team-mate Tielemans after his penalty pulled Leicester level at the Etihad Stadium
Vardy showed impressive composure from the spot as he scored Leicester’s equaliser in the 37th minute of the game
A penalty was awarded to Leicester when Vardy was brought down by Manchester City defender Kyle Walker in the area
Ake pulled one back from a corner, his header his first goal for the club, but even that did not stand for long. From Leicester’s next attack, Mendy, who looks slower this season, tugged Maddison back for Leicester’s third penalty of the game. It was taken by Tielemans, with Vardy already off, although the execution made no difference at all. Top class, as were Leicester.
Brendan Rodgers has a gameplan against Manchester City, and it serves him well in a limited fashion. Coming into this game, he had never won a Premier League match against them as Leicester manager – never got so much as a point, in fact – but it gets him close.
It took a wonder goal from Vincent Kompany to win here in 2019, Leicester took the lead before losing the following season, and only a goal from Gabriel Jesus ten minutes from time separated them the third time Rodgers’ Leicester and Pep Guardiola met.
Vardy scored his second goal of the game as he found the net with a superb flick past Ederson in the 54th minute
In the 58th minute, Vardy completed his hat-trick as he scored his second penalty of the game to make it 3-0 to Leicester
Tielemans celebrates scoring a penalty for Leicester late on as Brendan Rodgers’ side secured a hugely impressive victory
Rodgers lets City’s defence have the ball. Instead of pressing them, his players retreat. Rodgers believes Ederson is a better passer than the four men directly in front of him so, put the squeeze on, and City go backwards, Ederson clips a lovely pass into midfield and, suddenly, City have the better numbers to counter attack. Drop deep and that same area is congested. Also, the defenders are likely to be less accurate in their passing.
And that was Rodgers strategy here, too. The challenge was sticking too it once City had taken the lead inside four minutes. Yet Leicester did. And, admirably, they were rewarded with an equalising goal and another right game. It may be frustrating for Leicester supporters to see their team play like cup tie giant-killers – but it does cause City problems.
They had just two real goalscoring chances in the first-half, one of which was the wonderful goal from Riyad Mahrez that might have scuppered a team with less resolve.
Riyad Mahrez is congratulated by his Manchester City team-mates after his goal put his side in the lead in the early stages
Mahrez found the top corner against his former club as he managed to score with a superb effort at the Etihad Stadium
It came from the first attack of the half, a corner swung in and cleared by James Justin, straight to the feet of the lurking Mahrez. He returned it with venom, a shot that flew into the top left corner, taken with his right, and supposedly weaker, foot.
A Kevin De Bruyne free-kick which Fernandinho headed directly as Kasper Schmeichel was City’s only other opportunity before half-time and while Leicester were not exactly overburdened with opportunity they got the one break necessary to equalise – if Jamie Vardy is in your team.
It came in the 36th minute when Harvey Barnes broke through, and fed Vardy, who got goal side of Kyle Walker. The City man clumsily tried to correct his error and it rarely requires a sledgehammer to take Vardy down. Once Michael Oliver had signalled the penalty, Vardy finished the job himself, powerful and into the top left corner, as he had twice on the opening weekend against West Brom.
Nathan Ake scored his first goal for Manchester City in the closing stages of the game but in the end it mattered little
Raheem Sterling was deployed up front, with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus both absent because of injuries
17-year-old striker Liam Delap replaced Fernandinho to make his Premier League debut for Manchester City in the second half
Recap the action as it happened below.