Super Eagles stars comprising John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Jordon Ibe and Osaze Odemwingie will be hoping to be in the thick of the action with their respective clubs as the 2015/2016 English Premier League season kicks off today amidst pomp and drama.
Super Eagles’ Chinoso Obiozor (C) scores against Zimbabwe’s goalie George Chigova during the third place match of CHAN on February 1. PHOTO: AFP
Manchester United get things up and running with a lunch-time kickoff against Tottenham Hotspurs with coach Louis van Gaal hoping to justify his big-money spending during the transfer market with a morale-lifting home victory against a Spurs side that finished ahead of Liverpool in the last campaign.
The acquisition of German World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger has fueled new hopes that Manchester United can lay a strong challenge to the title, with Luke Shaw tipping the former Bayern Munich midfielder to be the difference in the club’s quest for trophies.
The 2013 Champions League winner joined the Reds last month for £14.4m from Bayern Munich after spending his entire senior career with the Bavarian side. After collecting 21 pieces of silverware during his stint in the Bundesliga, Shaw believes Schweinsteiger will be a huge boost for the club.
“He’s a massive legend,” Shaw told Sky Sports News.
“For someone with that much experience to come into the team will be vital to help us push for some trophies this season. He’s one of the most humble guys I’ve come across. He’s not not too loud and he’s quite funny at the same time. It’s nice to have a German around in the dressing room.”
Manchester United have a huge fans base in Nigeria, with local followers set to tune in for the live telecast from Old Traffford. But their attention will also be fixed on Goodison Park, venue of the 3pm kickoff between Everton and Watford, the club of rising Nigerian striker, Odion Ighalo.
Ighalo joined Watford in October 2014, having initially signed on a one-year loan from Udinese just three months previous. The striker arrived in England having been on loan at Granada, from parent club Udinese, since signing for the Little Zebras in 2008.
He scored 17 goals in 27 games as Granada topped Segunda B in 2009/10 and since then played regularly for the Spanish side in the Segunda Division and the top tier His performances took him to Watford, who he helped to gain promotion last season.
But he now faces his baptism of fire when he joins his Watford teammates for the trip to Goodison Park to battle Everton, whose coach, Roberto Martinez has boasted that his lads will wreck the Premier League newboys.
Speaking to Liverpool Echo, the Catalan said: “As a newly-promoted side you expect a really good start to the season. You bring that winning mentality that you had in your promotion campaign up with you.
“We have seen season after season that promoted sides are very difficult to play against with their enthusiasm and their bravery in the early stages of the campaign. Watford will come with a belief that they can compete with anyone.
They will be desperate to start enjoying the Premier League again after achieving promotion. But, in general, without knowing the small details, I think we know what type of team we can expect at the weekend and we’ll be ready for that.” Ighalo’s team have been warned and they better prepare for the match of their lives if Martinez threats are to be taken seriously.
But the match of today that Nigerian fans will be watching with rapt interest is the tea-time kickoff between champions Chelsea and Swansea at Stamford Bridge. Local fans here will watch this game for two reasons, most support Chelsea and two Nigerian stars, John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses play for the Blues.
Despite speculations that both players were on their way out of the Bridge, they are still there, with Coach Jose Mourinho saying that “Moses must learn to play the style of Chelsea and Mikel like other players is important to the club. No player is not important and for any player to be here means he is important’’’.
But the big question is will these two Nigerian stars feature in today’s opener against Swansea. The likelihood of Mikel playing in the midfield is doubtful with Matic fit and raring to go full throttle. For Moses, he might be thrown in as a second half substitute depending on the way the match is tilting towards.
Both Nigerian players know that they face an acute chance of commanding a regular shirts in Chelsea, prompting Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh to advise the duo to go on loan to other clubs where their services will be better used and appreciated with regular playing time.
And on Monday, two Nigerians, Osaze Odemwingie and Jordon Ibe will be on the opposing sides when Stoke City confront Liverpool.

By Lekky

A Cool Headed Element!, Snapchat: Lekky_ngwide

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