Five Nigerian stars to watch this weekend


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Alex Iwobi of Arsenal takes on Victor Moses of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on February 4, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

It promises to be a very eventful weekend of football across Europe this weekend and Nigerian footballers won’t be left out of the action.

With so many big games involving the very best of Nigerian Super Eagles players, we take a look at five Nigerian players who are a must watch this weekend.

Alex Iwobi – Arsenal vs Manchester City (Carabao Cup final)

Super Eagles young star Alex Iwobi will surely play a part for Arsenal as they come up against the current best team in England – Manchester City in a fascinating Carabao cup (League Cup) final match at the famous Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Iwobi featured for Arsenal in Thursday’s Europa Cup defeat against Ostersunds in what was a subdued performance from the Nigerian international and indeed the entire Gunners team which culminated into a 1-2 loss even though they advanced 4-2 on aggregate.

Coach Arsene Wenger attributed the underwhelming showing to the players focus on the big game on Sunday.

Iwobi who played a crucial part for Arsenal in their semi final triumph over Chelsea, will again be fired up in the only domestic trophy available for Arsenal this season.

Victor Moses – Chelsea vs Manchester United

The biggest game of the English Premier League this weekend comes up on Sunday at Old Trafford with reigning Nigerian best player of the year Victor Moses a certain starter in the Blues first Eleven.

This game is guaranteed to be explosive with axes to grind at various levels.

For Moses, it’s another opportunity to show coach Jose Mouriho how wrong he was to show no confidence in his abilities while he was coach at Stamford Bridge.

There is an added spice from the dugout with both coaches Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho set to settle scores on the field after both were caught in several heated exchanges against each other leading up to this game.

Chelsea defeated Manchester United 1-0 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, Alvaro Morata’s header being the difference, but this time another win for Victor Moses and his Chelsea team-mates will see them level on points with Manchester United who occupy second position.

Moses who was one of the most outstanding players in the Blues 1-1 draw against Barcelona on Tuesday in the champions League will hope to replicate same form with only his passing accuracy the area he needs to improve.

Victor Osimhen  (Wolfsburg) v Leon Balogun (Mainz 05)

In Germany our next top stars features a combination of four Nigerian players in Friday’s Bundesliga clash between Wolfsburg and Mainz 05.

At the Opel Arena Stadium home ground of Mainz 05, we select Super Eagles central defender Leon Balogun for the home team as he has returned back to the first team of Mainz after struggling with injuries and poor form which has seen him miss the better part of the first stanza.

From the opposition Balogun will be hoping to keep out former Golden Eaglets striker Victor Osimhen who has also found a new lease of life at the Volkswagen Arena side even though he will be hoping to open his goal account.

Friday might be the day Osimhen breaks his goal scoring duck especially with the motivation of beating a senior member of the Nigerian national team colleague.

There is plenty of Nigerian interest in this game with striker Anthony Ujah who will be available for Mainz, German born defender of Nigerian decent Felix Uduoakhai is a doubt for Wolfsburg due to a long term injury.

Brown Ideye – Malaga v Athletico Bilboa

Our fifth Nigerian star to watch plies his trade in La Liga and it is striker Brown Ideye who edges Oghenekaro Etebo. Ideye who netted his first goal for Malaga against Valencia last weekend, will be primed to repeat the feat when they travel to Anoeta to play Athletic Bilbao who advanced to the UEFA Europa league round of 16 on Thursday and are in better form compared to his Malaga side stuck at the bottom of the La Liga table and without a win in months.

The odds are stacked against Malaga but Ideye will boost his personal profile if he scores at the difficult Sam Mames home ground on Sunday afternoon.

Do you agree with our top-5? Tell us what you think in the comment section.

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