How can United stop Vardy?

Leicester City versus Manchester United is not just a top-of-the-table fixture.

The meeting pits the best attack (Leicester's 28 goals scored) against the best defence (United's nine goals conceded). It is also a clash between the league's top scorer Jamie Vardy (13 goals) and Chris Smalling, the defender with the most clean sheets (eight).

Here is a look at how United and Smalling can help protect old boy Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of scoring in 10 successive Premier League games.

Should Vardy net today, he will stand alone as the only player to score in 11 straight matches.

RUUD ROOTING FOR JAMIE

I sent him a message of support last weekend on social media and I really meant it. It would be fantastic for him. I really mean it, records are there to be broken. He can score one on Saturday; in fact, I hope he does but hopefully United score three and win 3-1.

RUUD VAN NISTELROOY, former United striker

DEFEND DEEP

Leicester are the best counter-attackers in the league and, in Vardy, they have the faster player. The England international has clocked a league-high speed of 35.44kmh and will be looking to run into space and behind the Red Devils' defence.

A deep defensive line will minimise the space Vardy can run into and limit the Foxes' counter-attacking chances.

STOP THE SUPPLY

Of Vardy's 13 goals, only five were the end-product of a build-up with more than one pass. United have to be mindful of one-touch plays and through balls in to Vardy, particularly when he is playing off the shoulder of the last defender.

GET THE FOX OUT OF THE BOX

Every single league goal Vardy has scored this term has come from inside the box.

Smalling and Co. have to keep the danger man away from the 18-yard box and restrict him to long-range shots.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2015, with the headline 'How can United stop Vardy?'. Print Edition | Subscribe