LONDON • Jamie Vardy's record run of goals ended. Garry Monk's tenure as manager of Swansea City looks numbered. But Leicester City continue to defy expectations as they regained their spot atop the Premier League table with a 3-0 win over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
The Foxes did not need Vardy to score for a 12th top-flight game running. He had a chance to do so when he found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, and in the 67th minute, when N'Golo Kante found him inside the penalty box.
However, the striker opted to pass to Riyad Mahrez, and he duly scored to complete the first hat-trick of his career.
"I don't like to say it is all about one player, they played like a team," Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said. "They help each other and talk to each other, the dressing room leads our play.
"Everyone talks about Vardy scoring but now Mahrez has done so. It was so pleasing to see that when Jamie had a chance to score, he passed to Mahrez so he could have his hat-trick."
Vardy's tenacious attitude played a significant role in Leicester's opening goal in the fifth minute.
Chasing an apparent lost cause, he pressured Swansea defender Kyle Bartley into conceding the corner which led to Mahrez bundling his effort over the line.
Leicester doubled the lead in the 22nd minute. Kante's pass picked out Mahrez and, with Swansea's appeals for offside ignored, he was allowed to advance unchecked before curling a cool finish past Fabianski.
"The perfect day," the Algerian told Sky Sports. "We won, we're top and I scored a hat-trick. My first ever hat-trick in my career. I'm really happy for the team."
But it was not all smiles for Mahrez, amid reports that he and Swansea captain Ashley Williams had to be separated following a post-match bust-up. The pair were reported to have tussled outside the Swansea changing room, before Mahrez was ushered away by a Leicester official.
Swansea manager Monk said he did not see the incident.
What is certain is that the Swans are just four points above the relegation zone.
"The club deserve better than what we are giving them," Monk said. "I will work as hard as I can, I will continue to do so until I am told not to. I believe I am the man to turn things around but it is out of my hands."