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'Exceptional' Vardy earns Guardiola praise ahead of Man City's Leicester test

The striker is struggling for goals in 2020, but his upcoming adversary has nothing but kind words and believes he thrives against the Citizens

Pep Guardiola has hailed Jamie Vardy as an "exceptional player" whose game is tailor-made to torment Manchester City.

Guardiola's team travel on Saturday to take on Leicester City, the against-all-odds 2015-16 Premier League champions whose success has owed plenty to Vardy's goals.

It is a battle of second against third in this season's top flight, with Guardiola's team currently four points ahead of Brendan Rodgers' Foxes.

Vardy leads the league's scoring charts with 17 goals in 24 appearances, putting him one ahead of Guardiola's star marksman Sergio Aguero.

And Guardiola believes it is obvious why Vardy has enjoyed success against his City team in the past, pointing to the high defensive line the speedy striker has been able to exploit.

"Because we play 40 metres in front, it's perfect for him," Guardiola said.

"Jamie Vardy scored goals against us and against all the teams, because in the box, in the final third, he's exceptional.

"He's one of the better strikers I've ever seen in movement, in finishing, in high pressing. In many things he's an exceptional player."

Vardy has netted five times in 11 Premier League games against City – no one has scored more top-flights goals against a Guardiola side across his spells in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the current English champions.

However, 33-year-old Vardy is also mired in a goal drought, having not netted in his past eight games, six of which have been league fixtures.

Leicester have hit a sticky patch collectively but still sit nine points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea going into the weekend.

Guardiola knows that form could flip in an instant, with Leicester having shown in the first half of the season what a strong unit they are, and what an impressive job Northern Irishman Rodgers is doing at the King Power Stadium.

"I said when we played before, in our home game, how impressed [I was]," Guardiola said.

"I know the incredible job he did at Liverpool, but I was not here. I saw him when he was at Celtic in Glasgow and I thought, 'Wow, this team plays good and aggressive and had good vibes'.

"They have incredible organisation at Leicester, with good scouting. They know exactly what they have to do, and it's nice to see teams play as well as they play for the benefit of English football, to have this kind of manager and a team playing this way."