Come the end of the season, Leicester City may look back on last weekend as a terminal blow in their bid to complete arguably the greatest sporting fairytale of all-time.
Not only did the 2-2 draw against West Ham see their lead at the summit of the Premier League table cut to five points, Claudio Ranieri’s men could be without Jamie Vardy for the next two of their remaining four fixtures.
The striker has accepted the FA’s charge of improper conduct over his furious reaction to receiving a second booking for diving under a challenge from Angelo Ogbonna at the King Power Stadium.
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Ruled out of Sunday’s clash with Swansea and potentially the trip to Manchester United next weekend, too, Vardy has requested a personal hearing with an FA disciplinary tribunal in an effort to ensure his mandatory one-match suspension isn’t lengthened at the most crucial stage of Leicester’s season.
If there was any doubt the 29-year-old’s absence could prove to be a hugely significant factor in the closing rounds of the title race, just take a look where the league leaders would be this season without his goals.
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Vardy has won his side 21 Premier League points off his own boot – more than any other player for any club this term.
Without his contribution, Leicester would be locked in a mid-table battle down in eighth position.
Further underlining his importance to the Foxes’ surprise title charge, the PFA Team of the Year striker has consistently determined results on his own throughout the season.
His output has helped Leicester snatch eight wins from matches that otherwise would’ve ended level, in addition rescuing five draws from losing positions.
Factoring out the 22 strikes he has registered in the top-flight this campaign would shed his team’s goal difference from 26 to just four, ranking them second-worst in the top half of the table and in the company of the struggling Chelsea and Everton.
The prolific England man’s influence even extends beyond Ranieri’s team – his goals have also played a notable part in shaping the top four as it stands.
Minus Vardy’s league goals, Tottenham would be sitting at the summit of the ladder with a comfortable five-point buffer over Arsenal, while Manchester United would be a single point behind them and on track to secure Champions League qualification.
Will Leicester let the Premier League title slip during Vardy's absence? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!