Ndidi Starts; Iheanacho Missing;Pogba, Son Hit Brace As United, Spurs Win On Boxing Day

Ndidi Starts; Iheanacho Missing;Pogba, Son Hit Brace As United, Spurs Win On Boxing Day

Wilfred Ndidi made his 18th Premier League start of the season for  Leicester City who handed reigning champions, Manchester City a 2-1defeat at the King Power stadium reports Completesportsnigeria.com.

The win was Leicester City’s second straight win in four days after their remarkable win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.


The defeat as well was the second in a row for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Bernado Silva scored the opener for Manchester City in the 14th minute but Marc Albrighton restored parity for the 2015 EPL champions five minutes later.

Zenith Ziva

Ricardo Pereira sealed the win for Leicester City nine minutes from time.

Ndidi’s compatriot, Kelechi Iheanacho was not listed for the encounter.

At Anfield, Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the EPL trouncing Newcastle United 4-0.

Goals from Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho moved Liverpool six points clear of second place Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester City dropped to third spot in the EPL table.

Hueng Min Son scored twice for Tottenham Hotspur who smashed Bournemouth 5-0 in a Premier League game on Boxing Day.

Lucas Moura, Christen Eriksen and Harry Kane were also on target for Spurs who moved up to third in the standing.

At Old Trafford Paul Pogba hit a brace for Manchester United who defeated Huddersfield Town 3-1.

Nemanja Matic has shot the Red Devils into the lead in the 28th minute before Pogba’s second half brace.

Mathias Jorgensen struck in the 88th minute to reduce the deficit to 3-1.

Everton defeated Burnley 5-1 at Turf Moor.

At Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City played out a goalless draw while Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers also drew 1-1 at Craven Cottage.

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  • Kelechi steadying drifting to oblivion….

  • I don’t know what is going on with iheanacho.
    He has refused to improve his game.
    even the free kick he was showing some flashes of development on, he has refused to improve on.

    He is drifting into oblivion like @jones said . I completely agree.

    He should work hard on himself and on spot kicks and make himself very relevant or he will fade away into oblivion.

    Chukwueze is knocking hard on the SE door for a sport on the 23 man squad to the nations cup in 2019.

    • Dr. Drey 3 years ago

      Oga CJ….did you say knocking on the door…??? IMHO barring all unforseen circumstances….Chukwueze is already on his way to AFCON 2019. The kid needed just 45 mins to prove that being a starter in a big club like villareal in the La liga is not fluke. The way G.Rohr is in love with that boy now ehn….!

  • So, are we seeing the beginning of the end of a once promising striker?

    As 15:30 hours approached prior to today’s premiership matches, one game in particular grabbed my attention: Leicester Vs Man City.

    I wanted to see how the premier league champions will try to bounce back from their shock defeat against Victor Moses’ maiden club Crystal Palace.

    Also, I wanted to watch my boys in action – Ndidi (sure to start) and Iheanacho (sure to start from the bench – or so I thought!).

    Iheanacho’s name was nowhere to be found in the match day squad.

    As I hastily went to Google to see if I can find an explanation, the headlines below were some of the results returned:

    – “Kelechi Iheanacho firmly failing Leicester City audition”

    -“Leicester City striker Iheanacho suffering from ‘lack of self-confidence'” Goal.com

    – “Iheanacho makes worst strikers shortlist” Daily Sun

    It was disheartening to say the least!

    For all the stagnation that the headlines pointed about Iheanacho, none still answered my question as to why he wasn’t in today’s match day squad.

    So I went searching to the Leicester city website where I found some pretty heartwarming stats about Iheanacho for his club which are:
    – Joint top goal assists this season (3).
    – 6th in the overall scoring attempts table (14 attempts).
    – and 2nd in the total number of through-balls played (6 through balls).

    The only thing missing are goals which he is 7th on his club’s table with only 1 goal thus far.

    So, is he finished? Should we write Iheanacho off?

    Gernot Rohr doesn’t think so. He blames Iheanacho’s dipped form on low self confidence.

    Speaking to the media recently, the German tactician said: “Iheanacho is a good player and his fighting spirit is exceptional.

    But of late, his form has dropped. So also has his self-confidence, which is very low. And when you lack self-confidence you cannot score goals.”

    Rohr, who believes Iheanacho will get his magic back, went on to say:”
    Iheanacho has a chance to regain his confidence with his club and play a big role for us in the 2019 African Cup of Nations.”

    I still don’t know why he was dropped for today’s match against his former employer.

    • You’re right @deo. If anything, Kele should have been fielded for his knowledge of Man City, being their former striker. But I can’t believe he can’t have a spot even on the bench, competing against who really? Yes, I respect Vardy, Madison, & Okazaki but should the others rank higher than Kele?

      He really needs to up his game. I was watching Nigeria’s last Afcon win in 2013 today and it reminded me of promising players that went into oblivion or forced retirement not long after. Sunday Mba, Ik Uche, Ambrose Efe, Godfrey Oboabona, Chigozie Agbim, Francis Ideye. Aside Agbim, the rest started the game and they were really good.

      Sometimes, tiny details derails a player’s blosooming career such as multiple girlfriends and whores, wild parties habit, wrong choice of clubs and agents, bad timing when signing for a club, indiscipline and bad friends and social cycles. Iheanacho needs to do a quick self examination of which he’s at fault at and retrace asap, cos if he misses the 2019 Afcon party (and that’s 50-50 at the moment), he’s going to complicate things for himself.

      That said, I must also mention Victor Moses as it brought fresh pains to me after watching that 2013 Afcon win against Burkina Faso. Allow me to swoon over this guy. Moses is goooood. Damn good! He retired prematurely and Rohr should please bring him back. After Kanu and Okocha, I rate Moses the next most talented Nigerian player ever. Samuel Kalu, Simon Moses (when fully fit) and Chukwueze come close too. But Moses is on another plane.

      I can’t really remember any match Nigeria lost against an African opponent when Moses is on the field. Moses can singlehandedly slice open a stubborn defence and win games for the Super Eagles. That’s why his travails with sadistic Sarri at Chelsea is a mystery. Such massive talent wasting away! I think I understand Edoman of New Jersey argument on this. It may defy logic, but there may be some truth to it. Moses come back. Give to your country and watch your fortunes soar again!!!

      • Birikiti 3 years ago

        I remember raising the same concerns even when Iheanacho was still high flying with Man City. His first touch on the ball was and is still abysmal. He doesn’t play well with his back to goal and loses the ball a tad too often. Yet his greatest assets are his ability to get shots on target from all across penalty area and his predatorial positional play.

        What Kelechi should have done was to sign for a club in Holland (Ajax) Belgium (Brugges), Portugal (Lisbon) or even Spain (say Sociedad) where he can hone his skills and improve on oth his weaknesses and strengths. However, the lure of big money from EPL giants Man City was too much for him or his family to handle. They became billionaires in Naira by that singular contract yet few years down the line, the boy is struggling to find his feet. The story of young African, nay, Nigerian football stars!

        Remedy is for him to get the right set of people around him. Folks that can push him to train, train, train and train! The talent is innate and the skills ae still there but Iheanacho must be driven by a compelling hunger to be the best; that hunger should push him to put in more extra hours on the training pitch. Also, no more parties or relationship distractions….at least for now! Even holidays should be on hold, let him get his “mojo” back first. Isaac Success was on the path to destruction too but he put in the shift and he’s reaping the rewards now…hopefully he doesn’t relapse!

        Talents abound for Nigeria but we don’t harness them properly! Pray tell, what’s the use of having such living legends like Okocha, Taribo, Kanu, Finidi, Oliseh, Siasia, Rufai, Adepoju, Babayaro, Okechukwu, Ikepba etc if we cannot attach them to these budding stars to mentor! Imagine Jay Jay Okocha showing up in Porto to have a word with Kelechi Nwakali…or Finidi at Bordeaux to talk with Samuel Kalu and even Kanu in England to mentor Iheanacho and Isaac Success!
        The NFF has to make this happen! Put the wealth of European experience these guys have to use please

        • Chima E Samuels 3 years ago

          Spot Birikiti Education mentoring by ex players will do the magic

  • Bomboy 3 years ago

    Iheanacho will most likely turn out to be one of those players that start out brightly but end up as average players. This is not what I wish for him, but that seems to be where he is headed.

    Exceptiinal Nigerian strikers will emerge and gain prominence in the big leagues very soon, but I am afraid Iheanacho will not be one of them.

  • @Kel, thanks. Perhaps Bomboy is right when he suggests that Iheanacho over-performed in Man City thus we are now seeing his true level of competence.

    Regarding Victor Moses, I suggest you go back and watch the 2016 back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against Egypt. Victor Moses was Colossal in those matches!

    Sometimes, the limited space we have on this platform doesn’t always allow us do justice to the heart of our arguments.

    I don’t want Victor Moses back in the national team for 1 reason only : because he has lost his motivation for international football.

    If he gets that motivation back, then, why not?

    If you have a somebody working for you who is fantastic at what they do but don’t want to work for you anymore, what do you do? There are so many times you can beg someone before coming round to respect their opinion.

    Behind the scenes, do you want to tell me that Rohr would not have pleaded with Moses or that Pinnick and some of his team mates who are friends of his would not have asked him to reconsider?

    Yet, he came out and made his announcement to the whole world.

    Let him go.

    If he rediscovers his motivation, the door is open to him, if not, sayonara!

    • Dr. Drey 3 years ago

      Nice one Deo.
      However to some extent, I wouldn’t subscribe to the opinion that Nacho over-performed in Mancity. Kelechi is a naturally gifted player, with a sweet left foot that used to remimd me of Etim Esin. But just like most young african players, the moment they get to that point when they feel they have arrived…just like etim esin back then too, that often is the beginning of their downward slide. Kelechi’s travials began the moment he was signed that 100k per week contract. For a kid who couldnt afford N50 to watch the EPL at viewing centres back home only less than 4 years to that time to now be earning 100k in one week, you will agree with me that was a double edged sword. This is a kid who had been consistent since his days in the national u15 team…down to when we was playing for man city youth teams and the reserves. I watched in with keen interest in the UEFA Youth League and the UEFA continental cup which he won with Mancity U23 team, scoring in both the semis and the finals…and he wasn’t even 19 years of age by then. His performance at mancity was just what he was naturally made of. Pure youthful insticts. That was supposed to be just a tip of the iceberg. But like many young african players, when they get to such a pedestal too quickly, to them they have reached the peak. Kele started becoming lazier and lazier when he became a regular in the first team, to the point when guardiola started complaining about it, and we all know Pep isnt one of the most patient coaches in the world. That was the handwriting on the wall. Acquiring G.Jesus was the last straw for Nacho. When i see the amount of hardwork being shown today on the pitch by the likes of Zinchenko, Manu Garcia, Adabraioyo and others who were in the youth setup with Nacho back then, then i understand why Pep didnt hesitate to offload him. His natural talent is still there with him and that is evident in the number of assists and chances he has created this season, but he perenially cuts the figure of a lazy unfit player anytime he’s playing, compared to the level of hardwork Jamie vardy puts in.
      Kelechi’s underperformance for me is not due to footballing reasons, his story might not be too different from that of Isaac Succes….too much money….chop life…chop whatever you like….drink whatever you like….party however you like…etc. His current no-show in the matchday squad isnt too much of a suprise…we all saw it coming. There’s a limit to which professional coaches can tolerate underperfomance. Just as you and @Bomboy has said, the young man needs to do some serious introspection going into 2019 and save his career before it is too late. Sometimes i just ask myself, if LCFC were to offload Kele today, will even the relegation battlers tussle for him…? I doubt it, because his goal/game ratio is becoming despicable by the day. A stitch in time saves nine. A stitch now for kelechi can save his career for another 9 years.

      • Thanks Dr Drey. Your reference to Iheanacho’s “innate/natural abilities” is bang on the money.

        A common theme in every critique of my regarding Iheanacho is that “the potentials are there”

        The young man’s qualities are undeniably.

        But, as you so eloquently put it, application of these quantities are badly hampered by several factors’.

        For those who still believe in his qualities, they need to draw out a rescue package over a period of time for the young man and work with him to reach each aspect at key milestones.

        It will be a shame to see Iheanacho become like Belgium’s Adnan Januzaj or Italy’s Federico Macheda.

  • Pompei 3 years ago

    Iheanacho’s exclusion from the team list, in such an important game, against a former employer, suggests one thing to me – he is no longer in the coach’s long term plans, and is on the cusp of being shown the door. Let’s hope that is not the case. If that eventuality comes to pass, there might actually be a silver lining to it. Perhaps he can find a club, preferably outside England, that will be a better fit for his skills set. A club that will give him the platform to further hone his skills and get back his confidence.

  • Abdul andah 3 years ago

    One thing that can move us forward as a nation is truthfulness. I remembered vividly when I mentioned it in the past via this platform that based on my personal investigation, Kelechi’s life off the pitch may dwindle his career in the long-term and there is one ardent fan of him who was bittered about the observation then and I kept  quiet because I knew that truth can never be covered…..with time it will surely resurface.
    That’s exactly what we are all witnessing in him now. Kelechi is a huge talent no doubt but his life off the field is the major problem.
    Recently, two ladies were fighting over him on social media. I hope he retrieved his steps before it becomes too late for him as well as his once promising career.
    I love him and I want the best for all Nigerian footballers. I found myself most at times on the internet scouting for Nigeria players and that is how much  patriotic I am.
    Anytime I noticed that our players are doing well I feel very happy. They collect their pay for doing well inversely, they give me happiness.
    I am not emotionally attracted to any club football like Nigeria my dear country.