Vardy double as Leicester ease past West Brom
WEST BROMWICH - Jamie Vardy converted two penalties to help Leicester City get off to a winning start in the Premier League season with a 3-0 victory at promoted West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
Vardy, the league’s top scorer last season, and Dennis Praet both had drilled efforts well saved by West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone in bright sunshine at the Hawthorns, with the hosts offering little in attack in the first half.
The visitors continued to dominate after the break and took the lead in the 56th minute through debutant Timothy Castagne -- a summer signing from Italian side Atalanta -- when the full back headed home a Praet cross.
Vardy was fouled by Kyle Bartley in the penalty area 17 minutes from time, and the striker stroked home the spot-kick to score for the fifth successive trip to West Brom as a Leicester player.
Leicester were able to give substitute James Maddison his first minutes since March after undergoing hip surgery, before Vardy made the win more comprehensive six minutes from time with another penalty.
The visitors, looking to forget their poor end to last season that cost them a place in the Champions League, were much too sharp for West Brom on their Premier League return.
“It’s a massive win for us,” Vardy told Sky Sports. “Especially with how we finished last season and not having long to turn it around. We are delighted with three points.”
Belgian Castagne was pleased to score his first goal in English football.
“It was a dream debut,” Castagne said. “It’s nice to play with him (fellow Belgian Praet). He gave me a very nice assist. I still have some things to learn like the runs to make.”
West Brom’s return to the top flight does not get any easier, with a trip to Everton and a clash with Chelsea up next.
Everton's trio of signings make instant impact
LONDON - Everton’s impressive 1-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday was their first against them for eight years but of greater significance was the impact of their new signings.
Optimism was hardly high at the end of the last campaign as Everton finished down in 12th place.
But it has returned in waves after Carlo Ancelotti signed a midfield trio that look capable of turning Everton into genuine contenders for a place in the top six.
Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez, who burst into the limelight at the 2014 World Cup before signing for Real Madrid, was a major coup for Everton when he signed this week.
His stock may have fallen in recent seasons but against Tottenham he looked a class act, pulling the strings and giving Everton the creativity they have been so badly lacking.
French powerhouse midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure, signed from Watford this week, was a dominant presence in the middle of the pitch while Allan, a technical Brazilian, provided calm assurance in front of the back four.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose thumping header sealed the points, said the trio had given Everton an instant uplift and predicted there was much more to come.
Ancelotti described his team’s performance as brilliant and picked out Rodriguez, a player he worked with at Real Madrid, for particular praise.
“James is not the fastest player in the world but he has a lot of quality. We have to use him to show his quality. He is not a winger, but he can come inside and receive the ball, he is very dangerous,” Ancelotti said.
“I am not worried about the physicality. If I was worried about that I would sign Usain Bolt, not James.”
Everton fans have had to watch Liverpool take over as the force in English football, but after some stunning transfer business and a win against a bogey club, there is hope.
“After a long time of suffering now the fans have to be happy. It was not easy in the past to win here and we won, it’s good to celebrate,” Ancelotti said.
“We need continuity. Last season we were up and down and now we will see. This game tells us we can compete with anyone.”