EiE: Iwobi inspires Arsenal to victory, Etebo’s return ends in defeat

EiE: Iwobi inspires Arsenal to victory, Etebo’s return ends in defeat

The battle for world cup places in the Nigerian squad continued this weekend, as Super Eagles players took to the field in their respective clubs.

Here, we take a look at their performances in Europe at the weekend, even as Taiwo Awoniyi continues to push his name into the plans of Gernot Rohr, coach of the national side.

England
Alex Iwobi, Arsenal

After missing the last three games for his club, the Alex Iwobi Arsenal fans want to see every week showed up at the Emirates, where the Gunners hosted Southampton in what turned out an ill-tempered afternoon.

With Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan missing, Iwobi  stepped to ensure both playmakers were not missed.

He created three chances, and assisted Arsenal’s second and third goals, in a 3-2 win over the Saints, a match that saw both side end with ten men following the double dismissal of Jack Stephens and Mohamed Elneny in added time.

Victor Moses, Chelsea
Chelsea’s poor title defense continued against West Ham on Sunday, with Victor Moses on parade

Moses lasted 78 minutes, and was replaced by Pedro Rodriguez, with the game level at 1-1.

Javier Hernandez came back to haunt the Blues, scoring the decisive equaliser, which cancelled out Cesar Azpilicueta’s opener for the hone side.

Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Leicester City
Ndidi’s importance to Leicester came to the fore on Saturday, after the Foxes suffered their first defeat at home in over three months.

Leicester were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle United, without Ndidi, who was suspended following his sending off last time at Brighton and Hove Albion.

His replacement, Adrien Silva, found his shoes rather too big to fill, as goals from Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez confined the home side to their first defeat at the King Power stadium since their 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace in December.

While Ndidi was not involved, Iheanacho was an unused substitute, as he watched on from the bench.

Ola Aina, Hull City
Aina was in an excellent form for his Championship side, Hull City, who proved just too strong for Queens Park Rangers.

Aina was rated as one of his club’s best on the pitch, as the Tigers ran away 4-0 winners over their sorry visitors.

The versatile defender, who started and finished with eight duesl won, including three tackles and two interceptions, leading his side to a clean sheet.

France
Chidozie Awaziem, Nantes

Following his absence last week, Awaziem returned to Nantes’ match day squad for their trip to face defending champions, AS Monaco.

However, the 21-year-old was only considered good enough for the bench, where he watched for 90minutes as his side lost 2-1 to Monaco.

Germany
Leon Balogun, Mainz 05

Balogun was a rock at the back for his Bundesliga side, Mainz 05, who came from behind to secure a valuable point at FC Koln.

The member of the Oyinbo Wall was one of his side’s best performers, ending the game with seven aerial duels won, five interceptions, two successful tackles and a yellow card for his troubles.

Italy
Joel Obi, Torino

Serie A based midfielder, Joel Obi’s return to Torino’s stating eleven was a successful one, as he put up an above average display in their 1-0 defeat of Champions League hopefuls, Inter Milan.

Obi, who returned to the Super Eagles following an injury inspired four-year absence, featured for 88minutes before he was replaced by Mirko Valdifiori.

He completed 85% of his passes, winning three tackles and two interceptions in  disciplined display.

Meanwhile, the reverse was the case for La Liga based Oghenekaro Etebo, who also made his return for Las Palmas.

However, unlike Obi, it wasn’t a happy ending for the former Warri Wolves player, whose side lost 2-1 at Levante.

The midfield powerhouse lasted the duration of the game, alongside compatriot, Imoh Ezekiel, who also started and finished the game.

In Spain’s lower division, the Segunda, goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, was on from start to finish but was unable to keep a clean sheet as RCD Fabril, Deportivo La Coruna’s second team, defeated Union Adarve 2-1.

Earlier on Friday, Isaac Success started just his fourth game for Malaga since he joined them on loan in January.

The Watford star, however, lasted just under an hour before he was replaced by Samuel Garcia in their 3-2 loss at Deportivo La Coruna.

For the other Nigerian at the club, Brown Ideye, he is still out injured missing a third successive game.

Belgium
Uche Agbo, Standard Liege

Another weekend, another starting berth for Agbo at Liege, but this time, he was allowed to stay on the pitch for 84minutes, as his side suffered a 1-0 loss at Genk.

Agbo was also booked in that game, his sixth of the season, with a red card also to his name.

Simon Moses, Gent
Simon Moses was on for 74minutes, allowing his the unknown Samuel Kalu to outshine him in Gent’s 1-0 win over Club Brugge in the Belgian Playoffs.

Kalu scored the decisive goal, his seventh of the season, while Simon has five goals to his name in 20 appearances.

Holland
Tyronne Ebuehi, ADO Den Haag

After his withdrawal last weekend due to an injury, Dutch-born Ebuehi was conspicuously missing as his Eredivisie outfit, ADO, played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at FC Utrecht.

Ebuehi picked up a groin injury last week, during his side’s 3-0 thrashing at AZ Alkmaar.

Russia
Bryan Idowu, Amkar Perm

Bryan Idowu and his compatriots at Amkar, the duo of Fegor Ogude and Aaron Samuel, all featured and lasted the duration of the game as they went, saw and conquered their host, SKA-Khabarovsk, 2-1.

Turkey
Ogenyi Onazi, Trabzonspor

Onazi played for just 28minutes for his Super Lig side, Trabzonspor, when what looked like an injury forcing his side to an early substitution.

However, his side went on to win 4-0 against Kayserispor, without the Super Eagles vice captain, with Burak Yilmaz scoring a brace.

Still in the Super Lig, it was the battle of Nigerians when Bursaspor hosted Kasimpasa.

Bursaspor’s trio of William Troost-Ekong, Mikel Agu and Shehu Abdullahi were all on from start to finish, but it was Kenneth Omeruo, who had the last laugh, after he helped his side, Kasimpasa, to a clean sheet and all three points following their 1-0 victory.

Bonus
Royal Excel Mouscron’s Taiwo Awoniyi On Target Again

One player who must be catching the eyes of Super Eagles handlers is Taiwo Awoniyi, Liverpool’s on loan  striker at Belgian side, Royal Excel Mouscron.

The youngster put up another brilliant display for his modest side, scoring one of the two goals in a 2-1 win over Kortrijk.

Awoniyi has eight goals to his credit, in what has been a successful loan move, and continues to push for at least a chance from Super Eagles coach, Rohr, to prove what he is capable of, ahead of the World Cup this summer.

Do you think Awoniyi deserves a chance in the Super Eagles?  Share your thought(s) in the comments section, we’d love to hear from you.

    Leave a Reply