Jamie Vardy ended his goal drought in style as he bagged a brace off the bench as Leicester City thrashed Aston Villa 4-0 at home in the Premier League on Monday night.
On his return from injury, Vardy's double marked his first strikes since December, and he wasn't the only one in rampant mood as Harvey Barnes also registered twice for Brendan Rodgers' side.
The visiting defence had looked shaky and it was then compounded by Pepe Reina's rash decision. He came charging out, Barnes nicked the ball around him before slotting into the empty net.
That's how it stayed at the interval and it was one-way traffic thereafter. It was just a matter of time before Leicester got their second of the night.
It came from a familiar source. VAR reviewed the referee's original decision, Tyrone Mings was adjudged to have handled Barnes' cross and Vardy confidently dispatched the resulting penalty.
But the Foxes weren't done there, Vardy smashed in his second with just over ten minutes remaining before Barnes helped himself to another after tidy work from Marc Albrighton.
Key Talking Point
Substitutes: Vardy (8), Tielemans (6), Mendy (6)
Making his first start since New Year's Day but he did not look short of match fitness, nor like he would need minutes to regain his form.
Wilfred Ndidi’s first half vs. Aston Villa by numbers:— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 9, 2020
85% pass accuracy
6 ball recoveries
So good to see him back. pic.twitter.com/vexBCPEZim
Wilfred Ndidi is good. Like really good. Leicester are a much better team with him in it.— Ruan (@FootyForThought) March 9, 2020
We are a different team with a fully fit Wilfred Ndidi.— Jim Smallman (@jimsmallman) March 9, 2020
During the midfielder's absence, Leicester had only won one of seven games and tonight's performance was another showing of just how important Ndidi is to the Foxes team.
A calming presence in front of the back four, he rarely lost possession and acted as a shield, keeping the likes of Grealish at bay.
Not only was his ball retention good but he was always looking to set his side on the front foot and was responsible for several lighting quick breaks from the hosts.
It was a consummate display on his return to the starting 11 and Leicester fans will be over the moon to have their midfield general back.
Key Talking Point
The visiting side looked nervy at the back and it's easy to see why they have shipped the highest number of goals in the Premier League this season.
At every set piece, they looked on the verge of conceding, players were in disarray as Maddison's whipped deliveries caused havoc in the Villa box.
What are they doing in training Gregg? The defending from set pieces is getting worse. Should be 3-0 down with Evans, Soyunchu and Iheanacho misses— David Lewis (@ditlewis) March 9, 2020
Tyrone Mings looked indecisive and at times was found ball-watching, standing alone in the six-yard box and failing to pick up his runners.
It was only Leicester's lack of aerial ability that let Villa off the hook in the opening half-hour as Evans, Soyunçu and Iheanacho were all guilty of wasting good opportunities.
Villa's Achilles heel appears baffling given that boss Smith was a defender and a certain John Terry is also among the coaching staff.
Then the first goal summed up the visitor's defensive woes, a routine long ball found Barnes racing through, Reina was caught in no man's land and the Leicester forward did the rest.
Having just about got away with some fairly shaky defending, #avfc concede thanks to a calamitous error from Pepe Reina five minutes before the half. Only one goal down but already feels a long way back for them.— matt maher (@mjmarr_star) March 9, 2020
Mings' woeful night was summed up by him inexplicably throwing himself towards the ball with his arm thrust in the direction of it.
After a VAR check, his misery was compounded, Leicester were awarded the penalty and it was good night Aston Villa.
Starting XI: Reina (5); Guilbert (6), Engels (5), Mings (4), Targett (6), Elmohamady (6), Luiz (6), Nakamba (5), Hourihane (5), Grealish (5), Samatta (6*).
Substitutes: Davis (6), El Ghazi (6)
The one bright spark on a very damp and disappointing evening in the East Midlands for Smith's side.
Given very little to feed off, the lone striker never gave the Leicester defence a moment's peace, hassling and harrying all evening.
God bless Ally Samatta, only player that’s made any slight impact— Jakob (@ln1982) March 9, 2020
Really feel for Samatta. A level above everyone on the pitch since he arrived (including Grealish). Zero support yet again, & players are too scared to get fwd due to lack of belief & ameteurish Smith tactics. Championship is beckoning, & question now is do we keep Smith #AVFC— Longclaw82 (@Longclaw9) March 9, 2020
One player I feel sorry for is Samatta Jesus Christ havnt given him a decent pass all night #avfc— Peter D (@peterdiggy) March 9, 2020
His hold-up play was impressive but the rest of the Villa team failed in supporting the Tanzanian and he found himself largely frustrated, through no fault of his own.
It was an off night for skipper Jack Grealish who was well marshalled in the centre of the pitch by Ndidi and co, therefore Samatta lacked service but that didn't stop him from trying.
However, there is only so much one man can do when the ball isn't at his feet and that was the case here.
His work rate should be commended, applauded even, especially given the mere scraps he was feeding off.
Leicester are next in Premier League action when they travel to Vicarage Road to face Watford in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.