Champagne corks were supposed to be popping in the Vardy household this evening.
Prior to kick off against Watford on Saturday afternoon, he required just one more goal to enter the Premier League 100 club. And who better to complete the feat against than the Hornets, now managed by the man who gave him his first break in the professional game back in 2012, Nigel Pearson.
The 33-year-old has moved on considerably from the unhinged live wire that burst onto the Championship scene under Pearson.
Under instruction from Brendan Rodgers he no longer chases down lost causes like a pedigree greyhound, instead conserving his energy for the explosive bursts of pace that have led to a sizeable portion of his near-century of top flight goals.
Vardy has similarly developed off the pitch. Initially shell shocked by the rigours of the professional game, he often found comfort in Leicester’s low quality nightclubs – sorry Club Republic – during his early days at Leicester.
These days, he’s swapped the sticky floors, crappy tunes and quaddy voddy red bulls for a manic fitness regime. He even has a cryotherapy chamber in his house, such is his obsession with prolonging his playing days for as long as physically possible.
It seems to be working as well. The evergreen frontman looked raring for his side’s Premier League return at Vicarage Road.
Inside the first 15 minutes, the former England international had two great chances to score. First, he made his trademark darting run to the near post and was centimetres away from converting Ben Chilwell’s low cross. He then fired a chance of his own creation wide.
All the signs seemed to suggest that this writer’s ill-advised promise to fawn over him hitting a century of goals after the game would be kept.
However, this impressive start was followed by a period of prolonged isolation up front. This followed a worrying trend of pre-lockdown life at Leicester with Vardy enduring a goal drought prior to football’s enforced break.
His blank against Watford means he has now failed to net in seven of his last eight games. Not disastrous, but not the sort of thing you want to be doing when you are chasing down the first ever Premier League Golden Boot of your career.
At Vicarage Road, the distance between Vardy and the rest of his teammates bordered on the ridiculous at times. Far too frequently, the striker would chase down a ball into the channels, check back and find that no one – literally, no one – was within reasonable passing range.
Youri Tielemans looked off the pace and James Maddison was dropping deeper than usual, leaving Vardy with no one to work off down the middle.
It was a similar story out wide. Down the left, Harvey Barnes lacked his normal fearlessness but it was on the right hand side that Leicester really struggled.
James Justin – replacing the injured Ricardo Pereira – was superb defensively, but strangely for a player renowned for his attacking prowess, he offered next to nothing going forward.
Marc Albrighton was similarly passive and things only really started to pick up when the inconsistent Demarai Gray came on and pulled out a rare decent performance.
Of course, Vardy is not a striker who is in need of much support but against Watford his ‘me versus the world’ mentality was pandered to a little too much by his fellow Foxes.
Rodgers need to find a way to bring Leicester’s other attacking talent back into harmony as their pursuit of Champions League football reaches its conclusion over the coming weeks.