Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has 14 goals for the Foxes this season with nine in his past seven Premier League games.

Vardy's form has sparked talk of a title challenge for Brendan Rodgers' side, with Leicester currently occupying second place - eight points behind leaders Liverpool.

The 32-year-old's current sequence has also drawn comparison with another of his hot streaks when Leicester last won the league. 

Vardy's incredible run of scoring 11 matches in a row, which broke Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of 10 goals in consecutive matches, was one of the most memorable moments of Leicester's championship-winning campaign of 2015-16.

"I don't think he is," Rodgers said, when asked if Vardy was thinking about breaking for the record again. "I think he just looks to the next game."

VARDY'S GOALS ECHO 5000-1 TITLE SEASON

When Vardy is flying, so are Leicester. There is something more than reminiscent about his current ruthlessness in front of goal. Or is there?

Vardy seems to be attempting fewer dribbles this time around – his tally of 13 so far is proportionally lower than the 33 he made in those record-breaking 11 matches. A sign, perhaps, his style is not quite as tenacious and direct as a few years ago.

He is marginally down on the number of shots on goal, too. He has attempted 24 shots in the past seven games versus 49 in 11 during 2015.

Vardy does, though, have two assists to his name during this streak against none last time around. An indicator of his experience, intelligence and awareness.

"I love his energy," said Rodgers. "I love his passion. He actually loves football, which helps. He knows the game."

 

HIGH-OCTANE VARDY STILL HUNGRY FOR GOALS

The well-documented pre-match routine has remained the same for Vardy under Rodgers.

Vardy still downs three cans of Red Bull, sips a double-expresso coffee and munches on a cheese and ham omelette ahead of kick-off.

He also remains as committed and hungry as ever, even though he turns 33 next month. It was only eight years ago he was working in a factory before turning professional for Fleetwood Town.

In the build up to the campaign, Vardy came back leaner and meaner than he has ever been. The Telegraph reported his pre-season his fitness statistics were 21 per cent better his best score in 2012, the year he joined the Foxes.

He has also been more accurate during this goalscoring streak. Vardy has a shooting accuracy of 72.7 per cent and a shot conversion of 37.5 per cent in his present run compared to 62.2 and 26.5.

 

FIVE GOALS FROM GREATNESS

Five goals in five games would see Vardy break the record he set in November 2015.

Leicester's next five games are Aston Villa (a), Norwich (h), Manchester City (a), Liverpool (h) and West Ham (a) and Vardy will be a near-certain starter provided he does not pick up an injury or suspension.

On paper, Liverpool and City might present Vardy's biggest test but he actually boasts an impressive record against the Premier League's top clubs.

His seven goals in 10 games against Liverpool is only bettered by the nine he has scored facing Arsenal in the same number of matches – no wonder they wanted to sign him in 2016! 

Against defending champions City, he has four goals in 10 appearances, one in four against Villa, one in two versus Norwich and three in nine against West Ham.

Brendan Rodgers has signed a new contract with Leicester City until June 2025, the club have confirmed.

Rodgers was appointed by the Foxes in February and has since overseen 17 wins in 26 Premier League matches.

Leicester have been flying this season and sit second in the table, eight points adrift of unbeaten leaders Liverpool.

Rodgers said: "When I made the decision to come to Leicester City, it was because I was excited about the direction the club was taking and how I could apply my experience to the journey. I came here with a purpose to add something to that and to help the club build for the future.

"The support I have had from the chairman, Khun Top [Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha]; from the chief executive, Susan Whelan; from the director of football, Jon Rudkin; and from everyone at the club has been amazing.

"I've inherited an outstanding team of staff that are dedicated to progress and improvement and we have a group of players that are a joy to work with every day.

"And to the club's supporters, I can only say thank you for welcoming me and my staff into your club and for putting your faith in our work.

"We'll continue to work together to bring success to Leicester City for many years to come."

Leicester's performances had seen Rodgers linked with the vacant post at Arsenal, who sacked Unai Emery last week.

However, Rodgers – whose previous deal ran until 2022 – this week he was "very happy" at the King Power Stadium and the Leicester chairman was thrilled to have tied down the 46-year-old.

"Brendan's qualities as a coach are well known and evident in the way he has sought to unlock the potential in every member of our exciting young squad," Srivaddhanaprabha said.

"But just as important to us is the suitability of Brendan's wider philosophy to the club's established culture and values.

"He and his staff immersed themselves immediately, building an understanding for the club and the city and an appreciation for what makes them special.

"That has been a valuable combination over the last nine months – strengthening the bond between our players, staff and supporters – and I'm excited to see how it can continue to enhance our long-term vision for the club."

Rodgers had spells in charge of Watford, Reading and Swansea City before joining Liverpool, who he led to a second-place finish in a thrilling 2013-14 season.

After departing Anfield in October 2015, Rodgers headed to Celtic and oversaw treble-winning seasons in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns.

Leicester equalled a club record of seven consecutive top-flight victories by beating Watford 2-0 on Wednesday and will look to break the benchmark against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Liverpool cruised to a 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby against Everton as they consolidated their lead at the top of the Premier League, despite a much-changed team.

Meanwhile, Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho endured an unhappy return to Old Trafford as his side lost 2-1 to Manchester United - the Portuguese has not won there as a visiting boss in his past five attempts.

Defending champions Manchester City thrashed Burnley 4-1 as Pep Guardiola made it eight wins in his nine games against the Clarets.

A midweek round of Premier League fixtures brought a range of milestones and telling stats, the best of which are below.

KLOPP ECLIPSES SHANKLY, PAISLEY AND DALGLISH 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will likely need to deliver the Premier League title to secure his place in the pantheon of Anfield greats.

However, the German has put down a few markers suggesting he is ready to join the Kop's hall of fame by becoming the fastest Liverpool manager to 100 league victories. Klopp completed the feat in 159 games – quicker than Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.

Liverpool secured the win over Everton thanks to a brace from Divock Origi, and one goal apiece for Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri and Georginio Wijnaldum.

They are now unbeaten in their past 32 Premier League games which is their longest run without defeat in top-flight history.

Marco Silva's final match at the helm saw him become the first Everton manager to concede five league goals against Liverpool in a single match since Howard Kendall in November 1982.

 

MORE OF THE SAME FOR MOURINHO 

United's 2-1 win over Tottenham, secured courtesy of two goals from Marcus Rashford – taking his tally to nine in 10 games – made Mourinho's return to his old club a miserable one.

Mourinho has won none of his past five away Premier League matches against the Red Devils (D3 L2), failing to beat four different managers in that time – Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It was also Tottenham 35th Premier League defeat against United – more than they have suffered against any other team. 

Spurs' defence must also be a concern for Mourinho. They have conceded twice in their four matches in all competitions under the Portuguese – they only had a run of conceding two or more goals in four consecutive games once under Mauricio Pochettino, doing so in February and March 2015.

Midfielder Dele Alli has started to rediscover some of his old form, though, and his equaliser for Spurs was his third goal in as many appearances for the club in all competitions – the first time since March 2017 he has enjoyed such a purple patch.

 

CITY THREE AND EASY UNDER PEP

Gabriel Jesus' brace and one apiece for midfielders Rodri and Riyad Mahrez gave City some much-needed confidence with a 4-1 thrashing of Burnley – although they remain 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Jesus is now the third highest-scoring Brazilian player in Premier League history (32 goals), trailing only Philippe Coutinho (41) and Roberto Firmino (52).

It was the 36th time City have won a Premier League game by three or more goals under Guardiola – the most of any team in the competition since the start of the 2016-17 season.

David Silva's creative skills remain key for City and he took his tally to six assists from open play in the league this season – just one fewer than he managed in 33 games last season.

Burnley have now conceded 11 goals in their three home games against 'big six' opposition in the Premier League this season, compared to only two goals in five home games against the rest.

 

LJUNGBERG'S LOSS A DROUGHT-BREAKING BOOST FOR BRIGHTON

Managerless, beaten at home by Brighton and Hove Albion and now nine games without victory in all competitions – Gunners fans have every right to be gloomy.

Arsenal's 2-1 loss to the Seagulls made this their longest winless streak since a run of 10 between February and March of 1977.

Mesut Ozil registered his first assist in the league since February when his corner was met by Alexandre Lacazette, but the French forward's 25th English top-flight goal at Emirates Stadium failed to avert a first defeat for interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Adam Webster had opened the scoring before the interval and Brighton were able to celebrate their first Premier League away win over 'big six' opposition following Neal Maupay's 80th-minute header.

Arsenal, booed off at full-time, have faced 52 shots on target in home league games this season, four more than in the entire Invincibles campaign of 2003-04.

Brendan Rodgers believes Leicester City's stellar results and playing style will begin to attract top European players to the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes have won seven straight games in the Premier League to sit second behind leaders Liverpool.

Their only defeats have come away at Manchester United and Liverpool and comparisons have been drawn with Claudio Ranieri's title-winning team of 2015-16.

That side was built on a hard-working cast of unheralded underdogs but Rodgers, appointed in February, expects to soon be competing for more glamorous names.

"We sit outside the so-called bigger clubs but where we sit in the table will make people sit up and take notice," Rodgers said.

"There's also the style in which we play and hopefully that's a marker for players to want to be a part of it.

"Our mission has always been clear, we want to play European football and of course the best players want to play in those competitions.

"I think people can look at ourselves and see how we work and how we play, they will know about the recent history of Leicester. It can be a fantastic club to come and work for. We're playing a style of football where players will improve.

"With the training facility and progress we're making, it's a really exciting prospect."

Rodgers has been linked with a move to managerless Arsenal, but the former Celtic and Liverpool boss quashed speculation earlier this week when he insisted he was "very happy" at Leicester.

The Foxes visit Aston Villa on Sunday.

Christian Eriksen is back on Manchester United's transfer radar.

The Red Devils are said to be preparing a January bid for the Tottenham midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Eriksen reportedly turned down a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED REIGNITE ERIKSEN INTEREST

Could Jose Mourinho unintentionally do his old employers another favour?

Tottenham lost to United in midweek and are now about to receive an offer for playmaker Eriksen from their Premier League rivals, reports The Mirror.

The Denmark international has not featured in the starting XI since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino and, though he prefers a move abroad, might have a decision to make when the transfer window reopens.

Seemingly not convinced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side a few months ago, Eriksen can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs overseas from January.

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City are set to hand in-demand manager Brendan Rodgers a bumper new deal in a bid to end interest from Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

- David Moyes wants a long-term commitment from Everton before agreeing to a second stint in charge at Goodison Park, says The Sun.

- Contrary to recent reports, ESPN suggests Patrick Vieira is not at the top of Arsenal's shortlist of potential managers.

- Error-riddled Roberto's ill-fated period as a Premier League goalkeeper could soon be over. The Guardian reports West Ham will look to sell or loan the Spaniard in January, with Turkey a likely destination, as they pursue stronger competition for the injured Lukasz Fabianski.

- Serie A side  Milan have offered Zlatan Ibrahimovic a contract that could run for 18 months and will demand an answer from his agent Mino Raiola next week, claims CalcioMercato.

- Diego Simeone wants Atletico Madrid to prioritise signing a striker over Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to AS. The Spanish newspaper links Krzysztof Piatek, Andrea Belotti of Torino, Chelsea centre-forward Olivier Giroud and Valencia's Rodrigo with moves to the Wanda Metropolitano.

- Staying with Atletico and the Rojiblancos have entered the race for rumoured Juventus, Inter and Borussia Dortmund target Sandro Tonali, says CalcioMercato. Tonali, 19, is in his third season in Brescia's first-team squad.

Brendan Rodgers insists he is "very happy" at Leicester City amid speculation Arsenal want to appoint him as their new manager.

The Northern Irishman is reportedly Arsenal's preferred choice to take over from Unai Emery, who was sacked on Friday after a torrid start to the season.

Rodgers only assumed the helm at the King Power Stadium in February but has wasted little time stamping his authority on the club.

He has masterminded a stunning start to the season, guiding the second-place Foxes to 10 wins in their opening 14 Premier League games.  

Speaking after his side's last-gasp win over Everton on Sunday, Rodgers hinted he has a release clause in his contract.

However, he has now moved to silence suggestions that was an indication of his interest in the job at the Emirates Stadium, claiming he plans to be at Leicester for the long haul.

"I have a contract here until 2022 and thus far – and I know managers are losing their jobs – but the club have not indicated to me that they are going to sack me," said Rodgers.

"I think they're pretty happy with how we are working and like I said, I'm very happy, and I have no reason to look elsewhere.

"I think logic would tell you – I know in your job it's not always logical, there's gossip and speculation – but why would I want to leave Leicester City, at this moment in time?

"I'm working with a young group of players that's got so much potential and want to improve and develop.

"I was asked a question about my contract, talking about clauses and stuff like that, and I gave an honest answer which was based on most managers probably have something in their contract. And by all accounts that opened the door for something.

"I repeat, I'm very happy here. I think there is a lot for us to develop over the next few seasons. We are moving to a new training facility.

"I respect that there'll always be this speculation around jobs and there is probably for a number of managers.

"For me, I repeat, I'm happy here, very happy and have great relations with all the people and I feel I want to continue with that. Take from that what you want."

Rodgers will hope to guide his side to a seventh consecutive Premier League win on Wednesday when bottom club Watford are the visitors. 

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers hinted a release clause exists in his contract amid links to the Arsenal vacancy, though he is fully focused on delivering on the Foxes' potential.

Rodgers is reportedly Arsenal's preferred choice after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday, with speculation claiming the former Liverpool and Celtic boss has a £14million release clause.

After Leicester edged Everton 2-1 to stay second and eight points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, Rodgers was asked about the rumours.

"There probably is [a clause] in most managers' contracts. It's all hypothetical – all these types of situations," Rodgers, who moved to Leicester in February, told Sky Sports.

"For me, at this moment, we've had a brilliant win today. My focus is very much with Leicester because I made a change eight or nine months ago, and I've been so happy since I came here.

"I feel, with the players, we still have a lot of work to do. Most managers' contracts will have something in that but, for me, my only concentration is with Leicester.

"I've been very fortunate in my career to work with some brilliant clubs and great institutions. It was an ambition to come here to help the club arrive in the top six. Everything's been great since we've worked together.

"My ambition is to help this club, a responsibility to share that with the others and move the club forward. There's great potential here at Leicester City to push on in the next few years."

Sunday's Premier League showdown between Leicester City and Everton pits two ambitious clubs with sharply contrasting recent fortunes against one another.

Leicester are the closest challengers to leaders Liverpool, sitting eight points shy of Jurgen Klopp's men and a point better off than champions Manchester City after 13 matches.

An ambitious managerial appointment in the form of Brendan Rodgers has paid dividends, with evergreen striker Jamie Vardy in sparkling form.

Marco Silva, a much-trumpeted arrival at Goodison Park before the start of last season, has work to do to turn around an increasingly dismal situation on Merseyside.

Last weekend's defeat to Norwich City means Everton have now lost 2-0 to all three of last season's promoted sides and they languish in 16th ahead of a tough run of fixtures.

VARDY PARTY GOES ON AND ON

Much of Leicester's charge to the upper-reaches of the table has been powered by the prolific Vardy.

The ex-England striker is the top scorer in the Premier League with 12 this season. He also has 12 in his past 12 home games and is closing in on a half-century at the King Power Stadium in the top flight (48 in 94 matches).

The alliance between Rodgers and Vardy has proved reinvigorating for the 32-year-old, who averages a goal every 98 minutes under the former Liverpool boss.

If Vardy's threat comes predominantly from open play, Leicester will also be keen to test Everton's set-piece vulnerability.

Despite facing the fifth fewest number of corners (55) and the joint-second fewest number of shots (14) from them, no side has conceded more goals from such set-piece situations this season than Everton's four.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: JAMES MADDISON v GYLFI SIGURDSSON

Maddison and Sigurdsson arrived at Leicester and Everton before the 2018-19 campaign to be the creative fulcrum of their sides.

Maddison has broken into the England set up and his form suggests he could yet be a star of Euro 2020.

In 47 starts out of 48 Premier League appearances for the Foxes, the former Norwich star boasts a goal involvement every 195.1 minutes thanks to 11 goals and nine assists.

He has created a phenomenal 128 chances and an 83.71 per cent completion rate from 1,977 passes is evidence of a man who cherishes possession.

A dribble success rate of 61.2 per cent shows another manner in which Maddison can hurt the opposition, while his 110 fouls won are more than double Sigurdsson's number (47).

The set-piece specialist edges Maddison in goal involvements thanks to 14 goals and 7 assists form 46 starts.

Sigurdsson has also created 100 chances, another impressive return that makes it tempting to wonder what he might achieve if his team-mates and manager can collectively pull themselves together.

FORM GUIDE

Leicester have won five consecutive Premier League matches, racking up an aggregate scoreline of 17-1.

The Foxes are aiming for six consecutive top-flight wins for the first time since 1963. They have only lost once in 12 games at home under Rodgers, winning nine.

October's 2-0 win over fellow strugglers West Ham snapped a run of four straight league losses for Everton.

Silva's side have taken four points from their four subsequent games, winning 2-1 over a Southampton side Leicester dispatched 9-0 last month.

HISTORY SAYS…

Everton have been defensively flimsy at times this season and they will have their work cut out to keep Vardy and co at bay.

The Toffees have only managed one clean sheet in their past 13 Premier League meetings with Leicester (W5 D4 L4), which came in a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium in December 2016.

The corresponding fixture last season also finished in an Everton victory. Leicester have not lost consecutive home league games to the Merseyside club since December 1997.

None of the previous eight meetings between Leicester and Everton have been drawn, with each team winning four apiece.

Jose Mourinho seemingly has Gareth Bale in his Tottenham plans, but he will have to wait until before the start of next season.

Mourinho was named Spurs head coach on Wednesday, a day after the Premier League club sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Unsurprisingly, there is plenty of talk around his potential movements in the transfer market – including a Tottenham return for Bale.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES BALE, BUT CAN'T SPEND IN JANUARY

Mourinho's arrival at Tottenham offers Bale the perfect escape route from Real Madrid, according to AS.

The star attacker left Spurs for Madrid in 2013, but is set to leave the LaLiga giants at season's end, the report says.

Marca reports Madrid have ruled out a January exit for Bale. That would suit Mourinho, who has been told there is no money to spend in the January window, according to The Guardian.

ROUND-UP

- Mourinho has more pressing matters at Spurs. The Mirror reports Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who are out of contract at season's end, are intrigued by the prospect of working under Mourinho and are open minded about their futures.

- It could have been different for Spurs. According to the Daily Mail, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was Tottenham's first choice before they turned to Mourinho.

- Meanwhile, the sacked Pochettino may not be out of management for too long. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are ready to pounce for the former Spurs manager, according to The Sun. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at Camp Nou, while interim boss Hansi Flick will coach Bayern until at least the end of the year.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be getting closer to sorting out his future. Sky Sport reports AC Milan spoke to the departing LA Galaxy striker's agent Mino Raiola on Wednesday about the possibility of a return to San Siro.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in no rush to renew his Arsenal contract and with good reason. Sport reports the forward is waiting to find out how serious Barcelona's interest in him is before extending a deal that runs until 2021.

- Needing a striker, Manchester United are considering a January move for Roma's Edin Dzeko, according to ESPN FC. Dzeko has scored five goals in 12 Serie A games this season, and United are looking to finally bolster their attack after losing Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season.

- Olivier Giroud has made just one Premier League start for Chelsea this season and the striker could be set for a January exit. La Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are considering a move for Giroud in January as they look for a back-up for Lukaku.

Unai Emery reached the milestone of 50 Premier League matches in charge of Arsenal on Saturday in the 2-0 defeat at Leicester City, but an overriding sense of disappointment is all he has managed to establish at the club.

Emery arrived in 2018 as Arsene Wenger's replacement, with the Frenchman ultimately paying the price for going 14 years without winning the title.

In fairness to Wenger, spending at the club was significantly reduced in the wake of their move to the Emirates Stadium, particularly when compared to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool over the same period.

It was hoped Emery's introduction would bring a fresh approach and winning mentality after years of stagnation at Arsenal. However, despite his trophy successes in previous spells with Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain, some – justifiably – had doubts about the Spaniard's style of play and training methods often criticised as boring.

After reaching 50 Premier League games, it is difficult at present to see him lasting much longer and his record compared to the division's best highlights the gulf in class.

Going backwards after Wenger

Emery's Arsenal have averaged 1.74 points per game across his 50 matches in the top flight. Of those in charge of the traditional 'big six', that figure is only better than Mauricio Pochettino (1.7) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (1.30) over their 50 most recent Premier League games – though the latter's figures are obviously skewed by his spell at Cardiff City.

That's where the positives end in terms of points per game for Emery, however.

Jurgen Klopp (2.62) and Pep Guardiola (2.52) are way out in front over their past 50 matches, while Frank Lampard – who has only taken charge of 12 in the Premier League – has accumulated a respectable 2.17 points per outing.

Similarly, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has done significantly better, averaging 1.84 points per game across his last 50 matches in the Premier League with Liverpool and the Foxes.

But the real kicker is the comparison with the much-maligned Wenger, whose 1.76 average means he too collected more points over his final 50 games at Arsenal than Emery has in his first 50.

Way behind the most prolific scorers

Wenger's Arsenal also scored more than Emery's side. During the Frenchman's final 50 games, they scored 96 times, seven more than they have with the Basque coach.

City have set the bar in terms of scoring over the period in question, netting 130 times, 12 more than Liverpool.

Defensively it is the other way round. While City's record of 33 allowed is exceptional, Liverpool's is even better at just 31.

Arsenal's defensive woes have been well-documented under Emery, with Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Sokratis Papastathopoulos hardly convincing.

As such, they have conceded 68 times since the start of last season, more than double both City and Liverpool and four more than in Wenger's final stretch.

Emery's already had enough time to solve issues

Emery can at least point to the fact he has lost fewer matches (13) than Wenger (16) did over the periods highlighted, though it's a pretty hollow victory.

Klopp and Liverpool again set the standard here, having lost just one of their past 50 Premier League matches, though even Rodgers has been beaten fewer times than Emery over his 50 most recent games, losing 12.

The overarching issue for Arsenal and Emery is a complete lack of identity, something one can certainly argue they still had even in Wenger's latter days.

While these statistics highlight how far behind the Premier League's leading pair Arsenal are, their lack of a discernible style and direction is arguably the main problem, one Emery probably will not get much more time to fix.

After all, there is little doubt they have regressed under his stewardship.

Unai Emery is remaining calm despite coming under pressure at Arsenal, insisting he can turn things around because he has done so before.

Arsenal were beaten 2-0 at Leicester City on Saturday to leave them eight points adrift of the top four.

The result means it is Arsenal's worst start to a top-flight season since 1982-83, with the Gunners only having 17 points and a goal difference of negative one.

Arsenal barely troubled Kasper Schmeichel at all and were arguably lucky to only lose 2-0, yet Emery remains convinced he can get their campaign back on track.

"I am speaking with the club to stay strong and recover," he told reporters after the match. "We also have young players who are growing up with us.

"I know we are receiving criticism, but I have done before and I have recovered.

"I accept all the criticism. It is normal. Today we did one step forward, being better defensively."

Leicester moved up to second with their victory and Emery is conscious of the gap between the Gunners and those at the top.

But he reminded detractors that Arsenal have time to turn things around.

"We are distant from them now, but we will take time to prepare and improve and take the balance in the team," he said.

"Manchester United and Tottenham are also behind us, so it is an equal competition. But we have time to reduce the gap on Leicester."

Leicester City have produced better performances this season.

Saturday's 2-0 win over Arsenal saw the Foxes show flashes of their best, but in reality they could have humiliated their visitors had they been as good as they can be.

That's a damning indictment of the standard this Arsenal team is playing at.

Brendan Rodgers' men wasted some fine opportunities, lacking perhaps the clinical nature that often typifies them in attack, while defensively Arsenal were afforded few chances of their own.

But Arsenal's incompetence saw them unable to raise their level to Leicester's. In the end, a 2-0 defeat ultimately flattered the Gunners.

Early positivity dissipates

Emery came under fresh criticism after their previous Premier League game, a 1-1 draw with Wolves, for getting his tactics completely wrong, setting the team up narrowly despite Nuno Espirito Santo's penchant for playing with plenty of width.

This week Emery could be spared such criticism, with the line-up seeing him appear to give in to the fans' desires - there was a back three, two wing-backs offering much-needed width and more attacking intent. There was Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi in midfield too, plus Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all started.

But there was precious little to be encouraged about by the performance. After a bright start, they failed to match Leicester in any department.

Gunners have lost their identity

Arsenal had a total of eight shots over the course of the contest, albeit just two in the second half. Only one hit the target and Lacazette was guilty of a woeful miss in the same move that Wilfred Ndidi was fortunate to escape unpunished when handling in the box.

Even suggestions of defensive solidity before the break could only be put down to Leicester's wastefulness. On another day, the Gunners could have been trailing by at least two at the interval.

Emery's inability to project an identity on this Arsenal team has fans still clinging on to the days when they were renowned for their eye-catching style as the Premier League's pass-masters.

Those days are long gone – this Leicester is the team Arsenal think they should be.

Foxes like the Arsenal of old

In Ndidi, Leicester have an impressive midfielder who effectively shields the defence while also proving reliable in possession. The Nigerian won 61.9 per cent of his 21 duels, conceded just one foul and completed 90 per cent of his attempted passes.

Youri Tielemans was excellent once again. Perhaps criticised for his inability to dictate matches, his influence in attack was undeniable. Of his 62 passes, 51 were in the Arsenal half, while he created three chances and set up Jamie Vardy's opener.

And then there is James Maddison. His finish for the second goal was sublime, but again he was a creative force, crafting three opportunities and playing a vital role in Vardy's goal with an outrageous flick.

Even Leicester's defenders were impressive on the ball, a hallmark of previous Arsenal backlines. Caglar Soyuncu completed 86.5 per cent of his passes in the visitors' half while Jonny Evans' success rate was 82.8, comfortably better than all three of the centre-backs in the opposing XI.

But away from statistics, there is an incisiveness and flow to Leicester's play – especially in the second half on Saturday – that is akin to some of Wenger's most entertaining Arsenal teams.

Their first goal was particularly notable in that respect, as Ricardo Pereira played the ball into Maddison, he flicked it to Tielemans, whose first-time pass picked out Vardy to sweep home and round off a fluid move.

Right man in the wrong dugout?

Rodgers has managed to implement his style impressively despite only taking charge in February. Emery has been at Arsenal for considerably longer, yet it is still difficult to work out what he has changed for the better.

Arsenal were linked with Rodgers when they hired Emery, but they ultimately went for the man who had won trophies with Paris Saint-Germain, with reservations over the former's time at Liverpool hanging over him.

But, if the decision-makers at Arsenal had the idea of playing up-tempo football similar to Wenger's peak years after the Frenchman departed, the choice of Emery is a baffling one. Rodgers, for his 'philosophy', would have made a more natural replacement. 

Now it appears Rodgers' Leicester are the real deal, while Emery's Arsenal are a real dud.

Leicester City moved into second in the Premier League as goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison downed Arsenal 2-0 to cap a dominant display at the King Power Stadium.

Heading into Saturday's encounter in search of a fourth successive league win, Leicester failed to capitalise on some basic errors from Arsenal prior to Vardy's well-worked 68th-minute strike - his 11th of the season.

Wilfred Ndidi had previously gone the closest to breaking the deadlock, hitting the crossbar early in the second half, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a goal rightly ruled out for offside at the other end.

Maddison settled the game with a fantastic second, making sure Brendan Rodgers' side continued their sparkling form and, temporarily at least, slot in behind former employers Liverpool in the table.

Matteo Guendouzi was fortunate to get away with a pull on Caglar Soyuncu early on, while Alexandre Lacazette should have done better with a close-range attempt at the culmination of an Arsenal counter.

Unai Emery's side proved to be their own worst enemy with consistently sloppy play, and Ayoze Perez should have done better after latching onto Hector Bellerin's slack pass.

Ndidi looked sure to open the scoring four minutes after the restart only to lift his effort against the crossbar. While Aubameyang had no problem locating the net, a flag for offside came to Leicester's aid.

There was no hint of doubt when Vardy broke the deadlock, however, with Leicester's striker turning home after wonderful build-up play involving Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans.

Bernd Leno denied Vardy a second, though Arsenal's goalkeeper was left helpless to prevent Maddison picking out the bottom-right corner of his goal with a superb first-time strike, the Foxes wrapping up a deserved win in style.

Paris Saint-Germain have identified their priorities and an extension for Neymar is seemingly not among them.

Neymar, 27, reportedly almost left the Ligue 1 champions in the close season amid strong links to LaLiga giants Barcelona.

The Brazil international is contracted until 2022 and PSG appear to be in no rush to extend his stay.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STOP NEYMAR TALKS AMID MBAPPE FOCUS

PSG's negotiations with Neymar about a contract extension have stalled, according to L'Equipe.

However, the report says PSG have not ruled out a potential extension for Neymar in the future.

It comes amid talk the club are eager to re-sign Kylian Mbappe, who is also contracted until 2022 and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Like Neymar and Mbappe, the talk around Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will not go away. Sport reports Juventus want to bring the midfielder back to Turin, while Tuttosport says Pogba is also eager to return to the Serie A giants.

- Ivan Rakitic has made just one start for Barcelona this season and the midfielder could be on the move in January. Mundo Deportivo reports Juventus and Inter have the Croatia international – who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2021 – in their sights.

- Nicolo Zaniolo's impressive performances for Roma are leading to renewed interest in his services. Juventus are ready to pay more than €40million for the midfielder, according to CalcioMercato, although Roma are eager to keep Zaniolo, who has scored three Serie A goals this season.

- Unai Emery is under fire at Arsenal and the Premier League club are already eyeing his replacement. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is being earmarked for the job at Emirates Stadium, according to The Sun.

- Staying at Arsenal and AC Milan are considering a €40m (£34.5m) move for midfielder Lucas Torreira in January, according to Fichajes.com. Meanwhile, Turkish-Football reports Arsenal have made contact with the representatives of Juventus defender Merih Demiral about a potential move.

- Alessandro Florenzi could make a move from Roma in January, according to CalcioMercato. Fiorentina and Inter are reportedly interested in the right-back.

We may be only 11 matches into the Premier League season, but many people are already of the opinion that the current top four are there to stay.

With runaway leaders Liverpool and champions Manchester City joined by Leicester City and Chelsea, there is little doubt those four clubs have been the most consistent so far in 2019-20.

A six-point gap has opened up between fourth-placed Chelsea and Arsenal in fifth. While Unai Emery's side possess plenty of talent, their erratic form and questionable mentality suggest they might now struggle to play catch-up.

The four clubs trailing the Gunners are Sheffield United, Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace, surely none of whom can realistically be considered contenders for the top four.

At this point, it looks like only significant slip-ups from Leicester and Chelsea themselves could see them miss out on a Champions League spot, though there are reasons for trepidation despite the overriding positivity.

 

LEICESTER STRIKING IT LUCKY?

Brendan Rodgers' vibrant brand of football has attracted praise this season, with Leicester hitting three or more goals on three occasions in the league, most notably in 5-0 and 9-0 demolitions of Newcastle United and Southampton respectively.

But the sustainability of their form is something to be considered.

While Leicester have scored 27 times in 2019-20, their expected goals (xG) figure is significantly lower at 14.78.

That massive discrepancy suggests the Foxes are scoring almost twice as often as they would be expected to considering the quality of their chances.

As such, it is not hugely surprising to learn Leicester's shot conversion rate of 17.88 per cent is the best in the division, with City's 14.17 per cent the second highest.

By comparison, Chelsea have scored 25 and their xG is 20.2, indicating their form in front of goal might be more sustainable given the number of clear opportunities they are creating.

CHELSEA COMING UNSTUCK IN THE BIG GAMES

So much has been made of Frank Lampard's faith in youth that one would think he was applying the strategy of a visionary, but, in reality, he has had little choice given their transfer embargo.

Of course, it has helped that the young players have generally done well, with Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori playing important roles. Christian Pulisic has, too, on occasion, though some feel he cannot be judged in the same manner given his huge transfer fee.

The need to play inexperienced youngsters could go some way to explaining Chelsea's struggles in the bigger games this term.

In five matches across all competitions against Manchester United, Liverpool and Leicester, Chelsea have failed to win.

Leicester's record is little better, having only once triumphed in four matches against United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham. That victory came in controversial circumstances against troubled Spurs.

TOP-FOUR MATERIAL?

The area Chelsea need to improve on most is undoubtedly at the back, even if their xG against (13.24) suggests they have been unlucky. They have conceded 17 goals, the most of all the traditional 'top six' teams.

They could certainly learn from Leicester, whose record of just eight goals conceded is the joint-best in the league alongside Sheffield United. The Foxes' xG against (11.13) is lower than all but Liverpool (10.09) and Man United (10.99).

Both Leicester and Chelsea have generally controlled possession in their respective matches this term. Lampard's side average 58.36 per cent of the ball, while Leicester's record is slightly better at 58.39 per cent. Only City (65.63 per cent) and Liverpool (62.71 per cent) have had the ball for a greater portion of matches.

In terms of shot frequency, City (240) are way out in front, but Chelsea (181) can claim to be almost as prolific as Liverpool (187) when it comes to trying their luck. And their 13.81 per cent conversion rate is only bettered by the champions and Leicester.

On the whole, statistically, Chelsea appear more capable of sustaining their current form, given their xG and xG against figures, but Leicester are no strangers to defying the odds and will surely back themselves to build on a strong start.

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