Hat-Trick Heroics Show There's No Stopping Leicester's Jamie Vardy - Even at 33

Jamie Vardy, Timothy Castagne
Hat trick hero Jamie Vardy | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

If you had told Leicester City fans at the end of last season that the 2020/2021 campaign would start with three straight wins - including a 5-2 triumph over Manchester City - they would have 100% thought you were on a wind up.

The Foxes' form in 2020 had been nothing short of abysmal, leading to a widespread feeling of pessimism over the summer.

Yet, here we are. We're three games in and Brendan Rodgers' Foxes are flying high at the top of the table with a spotless record.

Youri Tielemans
It's not been a bad start to the season for Leicester.. | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Wins over West Brom and Burnley were pleasant enough but Leicester shifted it up a gear against City. On an individual basis, several players deserve particular credit for their displays. Daniel Amartey, for example, had not made a Premier League since October 2018 - yet he slotted into the Foxes' back three seamlessly.

At wing-back both Timothy Castagne and James Justin were incredible, restricting the opposition's wealth of attacking talents to a handful of half chances. In midfield Youri Tielemans put in an industrious and productive display, while Harvey Barnes offered his side a potent threat on the counter.

Leicester's standout performer, though, was the timeless Jamie Vardy. Vardy has done some impossibly brilliant things during his storybook career but this might just be one of his finest hours ever.

He showed he is among the most efficient finishers in the world, returning three goals from just 21 touches. The 33-year-old also played his tactical role to perfection.

Vardy with the matchball he earned by netting a brilliant hat trick
Vardy with the matchball he earned by netting a brilliant hat trick | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Normally, Rodgers instructs his star man to play on the shoulder of the opposition defence. This has the dual effect of creating space for the Foxes to drive into on the counter, as well as offering a scoring threat against more slothenly back lines.

Against City though, Vardy was instructed to drop deeper when Leicester were out of possession. Whenever Fernandinho or Rodri got the ball, the former England international nipped at the heels like a terrier, preventing them form settling.

This superb tactical discipline helped Leicester weather the storm, following Riyad Mahrez's opener. As the game progressed, the Vardy we all know and love (or at least love to hate) returned, albeit with the help of some tragic City defending.

Having barely got a touch of the ball prior, Vardy's was hauled to the ground by Kyle Walker inside the box and confidently blasted home the resulting penalty. After the break he doubled his tally in typically audacious fashion. Making a trademark darting run to the front post, Vardy finished off Castagne inch-perfect cross with a cheeky flick.

His hat trick was completed in the 58th minute, again from the penalty spot. This time Eric Garcia was the man stupid enough to allow Vardy to slip in behind him, bringing him down to seal City's fate.

The fact that the Foxes star is still capable of doing this to teams - albeit a side with defensive problems galore - well into his 30s is testament to his commitment and hunger to continue playing at the highest level for as long as possible.

On the evidence of his performance against City, the Jamie Vardy footballing express train has plenty of diesel left in the tank. What's to stop him retaining the Golden Boot this season? Certainly not Pep Guardiola's comedy defence.