FPL player watch: Why Jamie Vardy’s hot streak may not last too much longer

Jamie Vardy has made a flying start to the season with 16 goals in 16 matches, but how likely is he to keep it up?

Lessons of the past

Looking back at the stats offers a signal that Vardy may struggle to maintain the same heights throughout the entire season.

Only two players have ever scored more goals by this stage of the season (Les Ferdinand in 1995-96 and Luis Suarez in 2013-14) but there are 10 players in total who have found themselves with 15 or more goals after 16 matches.

And in a bad omen for Vardy owners, all of them have experienced a subsequent decline in goalscoring rate.

(PA graphic)
(PA graphic)

Of those players, Alan Shearer in 1995-96 suffered the smallest reduction in output, but even then his goals per 90 minutes dropped by more than 20%.

Eight years later, Shearer delivered exactly one goal per 90 minutes in his club’s opening 16 matches of the season again. This time around he saw a reduction in scoring rate of 68%.

Back to the future

History is useful for context and setting expectations but some of Vardy’s current stats also suggest that he may have been running a little hot.

Threat is a metric offered by the FPL website to determine the quality of a player’s attacking chances – the higher the Threat number, the better the quality of their chances.

Our analysis suggests that the average player will score roughly one goal from every 100 Threat. So far this season Vardy has a score of 44 Threat for each time he’s hit the back of the net.

The former England striker is clearly an excellent finisher and has a record of 61.1 Threat-per-goal since the metric was introduced in 2016-17 – the lowest of any player in the Premier League.

(PA graphic)
(PA graphic)

What’s more his current rate of 44 is the lowest anyone has ever managed since then.

However good Vardy is in front of goal, in order to argue that it was sustainable you would have to believe that he was a significantly better finisher than Sergio Aguero and literally twice as good at putting away chances as the average player.

Finally, there’s the consideration of fixtures.

Next up for Vardy and his Leicester teammates are relegation-threatened Norwich, where Vardy might reasonably be expected to plunder more goals. But after that come Man City and Liverpool.

Some would consider it a radical move but replacing Vardy with a player with lower ownership may just give you the edge over your rivals if his form suddenly declines.