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.

Jamie Vardy

​Leicester City were wasteful in the first half-hour as the Foxes wasted free headers on three occasions, but with half time approaching, Barnes finally made ​Villa pay.


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.


LEICESTER

Key Talking Point


The return of Jamie Vardy. He was on the pitch a matter of minutes before he had the perfect opportunity to end his goal drought.

Stepping up to the spot, the ex-England striker dispatched his penalty with aplomb to register his first goal of 2020.

It wasn't the penalty of a man who had been drawing blanks recently, coolly put away, Vardy was back and he could smell blood.

Sure enough, having waited 644 minutes for a goal, the Leicester hitman bagged another 17 minutes later to well and truly put his doubters to bed. 

A smartly taken goal, the forward rode a couple of challenges before smashing the ball past Reina at the near post.

It was a welcome sight for Foxes fans who were left exasperated by Kelechi Iheaneacho during the first hour as the Nigerian yet again flattered to deceive.

But those at the King Power won't worry about that, their beloved talisman is once again firing on all cylinders.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Schmeichel (6); Justin (8), Pereira (7), Evans (6), Soyuncu (6), Ndidi (8*), Albrighton (6), Praet (7), Maddison (7), Barnes (8), Iheanacho (5).


Substitutes: Vardy (8), Tielemans (6), Mendy (6)


Wilfred Ndidi

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.



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.


ASTON VILLA

Key Talking Point

FBL-ENG-PR-LEICESTER-ASTON VILLA

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.

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.

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.


Player Ratings

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)


Mbwana Samatta

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.



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.


Looking Ahead

Leicester are next in Premier League action when they travel to Vicarage Road to face Watford in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.


Dean Smith's Villa side welcome Frank Lampard's Champions League-chasing Chelsea to Villa Park on Saturday evening.