Preview of Nigerians abroad
Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho look to secure progress to Leicester City’s first FA Cup final in a half-century when they do battle with Southampton in the second semi-final of the weekend.
Both Simy and Victor Osimhen found the back of the net for Crotone and Napoli respectively last time out and both frontmen will hope to continue their fine returns in front of goal in the upcoming round of games in Serie A.
Aina & Maja
Fulham’s survival hopes took a negative turn last weekend when a late Adama Traore goal at Craven Cottage handed Wolverhampton Wanderers a 1-0 win and Newcastle United secured a comeback victory at Burnley.
Ola Aina and Josh Maja took part in the encounter, with the latter missing a late chance to secure a draw, and the pair ought to play in some capacity when the Cottagers travel to Arsenal.
Owing to the Gunners’ Europa League exertions, Scott Parker’s men will hope Mikel Arteta’s side are fatigued somewhat from Thursday night’s reverse fixture vs Slavia Prague.
Fulham are six points from safety and a tough run-in means their recent run of four losses on the spin couldn’t have come at a worse time for the relegation-threatened side.
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Ndidi & Iheanacho
Kelechi Iheanacho got back on the scoring trail in last week’s 3-2 defeat by West Ham United at the London Stadium, taking his recent tally to nine goals in the last five games.
The frontman and midfield anchorman Wilfred Ndidi are expected to start when the East Midlanders aim to reach their first FA Cup final since 1969 when they take on Southampton at Wembley.
Kelechi Iheanacho was instrumental to the Foxes’ progress to the semis, scoring twice and assisting in the 3-1 win over Manchester United, and Brendan Rodgers may lean on the Nigerian frontman against the Saints, especially as Jamie Vardy continues to struggle in front of goal.
Having made the odd call to drop Osimhen for Napoli’s trip to Juventus, Gennaro Gattuso recalled the in-form frontman to the line-up for the Azzurri’s trip to Sampdoria.
The striker rewarded his manager’s faith by scoring against Claudio Ranieri’s men, taking his Serie A tally to five, with one each coming in his last couple of starts.
Gattuso’s men host in-form Inter Milan this weekend, looking to stop the soon-to-be champions’ 11-game winning run.
Napoli (59) trail Atalanta (61), Juventus (62) and AC Milan (63) in the race to end in the Champions League spots, and a win over Antonio Conte’s men boosts their chances in the run-in.
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The towering striker netted in his sixth Serie A game on the spin, yet it wasn’t enough to see Crotone conceded twice in the final 10 minutes to lose at Spezia.
Simy is now up to 16 goals this term, only three players in the league have more, and he’ll strive to score in his seventh match in succession when the Pythagoreans host out-off-form Udinese team that have lost three on the trot.
Serse Cosmi’s team evidently lack any sort of defensive nous (they’ve allowed a staggering 77 goals, almost 20 more than Parma’s 59), undermining Simy's contribution.
Another in-form Nigeria striker, Onuachu’s goal last time out in Genk’s 4-0 success over Sint-Truidense has seen him score in each of his last four games for country and club.
The target man is now up to 27 league goals in 30 starts, which leaves him six goals ahead of Thomas Henry in the scoring chart.
Genk’s last game of the regular season takes them to Antwerp, a side they hope to leapfrog in the table with only a point separating them.
Come what may, Onuachu and his colleagues are guaranteed a place in the championship round, meaning a bit of pressure is off going into the final round of games.