It was an exciting weekend of football all over Europe, with some very interesting, as well as shocking results. So, we have come up with five things we took away from the weekend.
1. Paul Onuachu deserves Super Eagles call up:
As the Super Eagles get ready for what is most certainly the start of their preparation for 2018 FIFA World Cup next month, one name that has to be on the list of invited players is PAUL ONUACHU.
Standing at 6foot 4inches, the 23-year-old Midtjylland striker is at it again. He scored 23 goals in all competitions last season for the Danish side, and has started the 2017-2018 season impressively.
Onuachu is currently one of the top scorers in Denmark, having scored eight goals in just ten league games this season for his club.
So, its a long overdue call up, and I hope when coach Gernot Rohr releases his list of players sometime this week, the lanky but talented player will be one of those named by the Franco-German, especially having hinted that Odion Ighalo will be rested, while Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa are yet to justify their invitations in recent times.
2. Manchester United shocked by Huddersfield:
One result has got everyone talking over the weekend, and that’s the shock defeat at Huddersfield of Jose Mourinho and United.
Tagged as title contenders, alongside neighbours Man City, the Red Devils, who began the season in superb form, have now fallen five points behind their so called ‘noisy’ neighbours, who picked up another win at the weekend while United were dropping points against the PL newcomers.
The game was decided in the first half, as two individual errors saw United lose for the first time this season, in what was a frustrating afternoon for Mourinho’s side.
But can they bounce back next weekend when they host Tottenham, who dismantled a side United struggled against, Liverpool?
3. Fringe Super Eagles players shine
Nigeria qualified for the 2018 World Cup with ease, okay maybe not. However, Nigeria didn’t just top their group with a game to spare but did so with some very good players finding game time difficult to come by.
Players like Oghenekaro Etebo, Chidozie Awaziem, John Ogu, Kelechi Ihenancho, Ahmed Musa amongst others were regularly found on the bench. But with Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr, ready to hand these fringe players a chance next month, some of them impressed at their respective clubs over the weekend.
Etebo was brilliant for his Portuguese side, CD Feirense, who picked a 1-0 win over Rio Ave. Though, the 21-year-old didn’t score, but was efficient for his side, after his three tackles, three dribbles saw him rated very highly by Whoscored.
Another top performer was fullback, Tyronne Ebuehi, who posted a man of the match display for Dutch side, ADO Den Haag. He was also rated very highly by Whoscored, as he provided an assist in their win over VV Venlo, while helping his side to a clean sheet.
Chidozie Awaziem was another top performer, after powering home a goal for his club, Nantes, as they maintained their unbeaten run to move third in the French Ligue 1.
In the forward position, Henry Onyekuru may not have added to his six goals this term, but was a handful for KRC Genk defenders, as Anderlecht picked up a 1-0 win.
4. Leon Balogun is injured again:
He may have said ‘No wahala, no shaking’ through his social media account after his latest setback, but when you consider his injury history and importance to Nigeria, you’d know that there is indeed a need to start SHAKING because WAHALA dey.
Balogun, a member of the Super Eagles ‘Oyibo wall’ fame, is so important to Nigeria that we must be worried by his injury history.
This is 29-year-old’s third injury this year, after picking up injuries in January and May. The current one is a cheekbone fracture, picked up in his club’s 2-0 loss to Schalke last weekend.
We cannot afford to relax as we need to hasten the search for a worthy deputy because Balogun also missed the last world cup in 2014 due to an injury.
We all saw what happened when Nigeria played South Africa without the solid German born defender. Awaziem and Kenneth Omeruo are some of the options available to us, while both are still relatively young, they are yet to show that they can indeed deputise for Balogun.
So, pardon me if i’m actually shaking because an injury to Balogun means wahala dey.
5. Happy Birthday, Arsene Wenger:
Emirates giants, Arsenal over the weekend thrashed Everton without their Nigerian playmaker, Alex Iwobi, but that didn’t stop someone from celebrating.
It was Wenger’s 68th birthday, and what a way to celebrate it- as his side came from behind to hammer the Toffees 5-2.
The futures of his top stars, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, may be in doubt, but both came together to give their manager something to smile about.
Ozil and Sanchez both scored and assisted in the win over Ronald Koeman side, with Nacho Monreal and Alexander Lacazette also among the goals, leaving their manager expressively delighted.
So, from all of us at ACLSports.com, this is wishing mousieur Wenger a beautiful 68th birthday, however, belatedly, and many more years at Arsenal.