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African All Stars

Arsenal’s Balogun challenges Anjorin and Tella for Premier League award

2:31 PM WAT 07/01/2021
Folarin Balogun Arsenal 2019-20
Thanks to his impressive performances in December, the Englishmen of Nigerian descent will compete for the monthly prize

Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun has been shortlisted for December 2020’s Premier League 2 Player of the Month award alongside Chelsea’s Faustino Anjorin, and Southampton’s Nathan Tella.

The Anglo-Nigerians are among the seven talents who made the cut decided by the Premier League’s Football Development Panel, as coaches nominated the best performance by an opposing player in each of the league games.

In the month under review, 19-year-old Balogun scored the winner in the Gunners’ 2-1 win over Leicester City. In that period, also, he made three senior appearances for the Emirates Stadium giants, while finding the net once in two substitute appearances across wins over Rapid Vienna and Dundalk in the Europa League, before playing a fringe role in Arsenal's 4-1 defeat to Manchester City.

Anjorin,19, contributed to the Blues’ 2-1 defeat of Leicester City before finding the net on two occasions and bagging two assists in the 6-1 decimation of Manchester United, to leave Chelsea at the summit of Premier League 2 Division 1 at the end of 2020. He also made his full Champions League debut in a 1-1 draw against Krasnodar.

For Southampton’s Tella, his only Division 1 match was a memorable one – getting four goals in the Saints’ 5-2 triumph over Leicester City. The 21-year-old, who had become a regular face in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first team, also came on as a substitute during the senior side’s 1-0 English top-flight defeat to Manchester City.

Harvey White (Tottenham Hotspur), Brad Lyons (Blackburn Rovers), Harr Chapman (Blackburn Rovers) and Lewis Bate (Chelsea) complete the final cut, and the panel will choose the winner who will take over the diadem from Manchester City’s Liam Delap, who won the prize in November.

“Nathan is a player and person we are proud of, who stays the same in terms of attitude no matter if he is with the first team or B team,” coach Dave Horseman said of Tella’s performances per Southampton website.

“The game versus Leicester showed the importance of the B team concept, as it allowed him to perform well using the same principles and philosophies of the first team.

“He plays with pace and energy with and against the ball and is direct when it comes to his thinking and actions."

Born in England, Balogun, Anjorin and Tella -who have played for England at youth level - are eligible to represent three-time African champions Nigeria at senior level.