The spark was back in Leicester City’s attacking football on Saturday. Jamie Vardy ended a personal seven-game scoring drought and Riyad Mahrez conjured one of the tricks of the season with an outrageous nutmeg in the lead-up to Leonardo Ulloa’s goal in the 3-0 win over Stoke City.
And afterwards, with his team back at the Premier League summit, manager Claudio Ranieri outlined their desire to stay in the title race by bringing in another striker before the transfer window closes in a week’s time.
Ranieri, who let Andrej Kramaric join German club Hoffenheim on loan last week, said: “I’d like another striker to give support to the other three, because our strength is playing at a high intensity and it’s not possible to play at high intensity for all the season. Everyone is reinforcing or taking [new] players because they want to save their season or want to win something. We want to maintain our position. I know it’s difficult but we must try.”
Leicester’s display was an impressive return to form for a team who had scored just twice in their preceding five league matches. It lifted them back to the top of the table ahead of a “crucial” February for Ranieri: Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal are Leicester’s next three opponents. “I told the players February is very, very tough,” said the Italian. “And it’s important to be top because, if a bad moment arrives, we’ll be in a strong enough position to get over it.”
Saturday’s victory also highlighted the importance of one of Leicester’s unsung heroes, Danny Drinkwater, who scored his first top-flight goal and set up Vardy’s strike with an outstanding pass.
“There was never any doubt in the dressing room that Vards would get his goals again,” Drinkwater said. “That is his strength – you can hit a 50-50 ball and he changes the odds with his pace and hunger.”
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