Iwobi vs Awoniyi: The Hot Seat

Iwobi vs Awoniyi: The Hot Seat | Goal.com

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Two of Nigeria’s feel-good stories of the season so far were discussed on Hot Seat

Nigerian players across Europe’s major leagues have got off to a strong start to the season already in 2021-22, with the likes of Emmanuel Dennis and Moses Simon impressing during the early weeks of the campaign.

One of the debates on this week’s episodes of Hot Seat pitted two of the Super Eagles’ more impressive stars of the season so far against one another, as Oluwaseye Omidiora and Ed Dove assessed the merits of Taiwo Awoniyi and Alex Iwobi.

The pair both have reasons for optimism just a handful of games into the new season.

For Iwobi, the arrival of Rafael Benitez represents yet another fresh start in his career, with the attacker yet to truly find his place—either at a club or positionally—in recent years.

The departure of Carlo Ancelotti was mourned on Merseyside, but probably not for Iwobi, who struggled to assert himself under the Italian coach and had to deputise as a wing-back in order to get some gametime.

He didn’t start Benitez’s tenure as a starter, but came off the bench to catch the eye in the Toffees’ opening victory over Southampton.

He was prompted to the starting XI for their second match—against Leeds United—and duly impressed again. Indeed, the midfielder was arguably unfortunate not to have registered an assist as the two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw.

For Omidiora, it’s Awoniyi who deserves the most credit for his excellent start to the new campaign.

The striker was finally cut loose by Liverpool during the offseason, signing a permanent deal with Union Berlin of Bundesliga, with whom he’d spent the 2020-21 season on loan.

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While there’s disappointment—if not surprise—that Awoniyi never made the grade at Anfield, his signing represented something of a gamble for Union.

They knew him, of course, from his time on loan last season, but the striker did only net five goals during the course of the Bundesliga season.

With two in two this term already, however, he’s proving himself to be an astute acquisition and demonstrating that—now settled at one club—he can be a success.


Published at Sat, 28 Aug 2021 05:00:02 +0000

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