Boald Codes: FA Cup, Copa Del Rey and Other Betting Tips

If you banked on our bankers last week you must have smiled to the bank. We were on point like decimal. That’s how stars do. We go again today, threading with caution as usual.

We have selected our bankers we believe will definitely happen, going by permutations. We have the Banana Peels – the matches you should try to avoid and the Boald Call for the bold to stake on.

BANKERS

In La Liga, Atletico Madrid are due a win, there is no better place to start than a home win against Eibar. Atletico are valued at around 1.5 for a win. Eibar are bottom of the table and have not won any of their last nine matches.

In the Copa Del Rey, Athletic Bilbao take on Barcelona. Bilbao are always tricky opponents. They defeated Barcelona in the Super Cup and lost out narrowly in last year’s final played recently. However, Barcelona should be up for this. They were in good form before losing the El Clasico last week. Barcelona should win this, it comes at around 1.6.

Messi and his teammates should be up for this

Crotone will play Udinese in Serie A. A common feature of Crotone’s matches is goals. They score in abundance and concede in abundance. Over 1.5 comes at around 1.2. You could go for more and do an over 2.5.

Still in Serie A, Lazio are in good form and have won their last four. They take on Benevento, who have just one win in nine – interestingly against Juventus. At around 1.4, Lazio should get a win. They also have a good record against Benevento.

PSG knows a win can take them to the top of Ligue 1, they should win at home against St Etienne, it comes at around 1.3.

Atalanta vs Juventus should produce goals. You can go for over 1.5 or over 2.5, or a BTS, which we are recommending. It comes at around 1.4.

Marseille vs Lorient in Ligue 1 should produce a home side double-chance. Marseille have a better home record, just as Lorient do not have a good away record. Marseille double chance is around 1.2.

BANANA PEELS

Like last week, still avoid Bayern Munich for now. They go away to Wolfsburg with lots of their top players out injured. Wolfsburg are in good form. They have lost just two of their last nine. It will be a tricky one.

Chelsea against Manchester City in the FA Cup is tricky. Chelsea are more solid defensively under Thomas Tuchel and it could be a bedrock for a cup success. A safe bet might be a Manchester City double chance as this match might not produce goals. Stay away, if you can.

Expect a keenly contested tie

BOALD CALL

Norwich are on the verge of gaining promotion back to the Premier League. They have tough opponents in fellow promotion contenders Bournemouth this weekend. Norwich are unbeaten in nine, seven wins in those. In that time, Bournemouth have lost just once, seven wins. With promotion very close, Norwich should be poised for a win. It comes at over 2.0. If you are Boald, go for it.

That’s all for today. We have supplied the assists, the finishing skills is yours.

We will always advise you to bet responsibly. Don’t stake a money that will affect you. We wish you the luck of the green.

Follow goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Good Father Mourinho, Captain Musa and Other Talking Points

PSG knocking Bayern Munich out of this year’s UEFA Champions League butreses the point that what Zinedine Zidane achieved with Real Madrid in the competition between 2016 and 2018 is unreal. I can’t associate managerial wizardry to a particular type of hairline. However, It is funny that for all of Zidane’s achievement, he is not considered as a tactical genius while the other guy with his type of hairline is regarded as one. After another win in El Clasico, Zidane could be on his way to back-to-back La Liga titles with a ‘Ronaldo-less’ and ‘crocked- Hazard’ team. Talking about managers and hair, maybe grey hair does not necessarily translate to wisdom (especially those tinted ones), as posited in this clime. We saw two managers with grey hairs drag each other at the weekend, taking me to the Mourinho Derby.

Good Father Mourinho

You know, especially as a kid, when you have bottled anger and someone mistakenly touches you, you explode. For Jose Mourinho, there will always be something to talk about when things are not going his way. He starts reminding everyone of how he invented football, won all the trophies at a swoop while controlling the players with a pad from the comfort of his sitting room. He reminds us of what he has won in the past. How does that change the fact that they have increased the price of a bottle of beer at my favorite joint, it’s paining me sha. Hello Mr Mourinho, that does not take away the fact that you are not meeting expectations at your present club, like in your last two jobs.

Grey hair, same old Mourinho

In response to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s jibe at Son Heung Min acting to get a Manchester United goal chalked off, Mourinho insinuated that Solskjaer is a bad father, which we don’t know. Many fathers won’t be good fathers in Mourinho’s books then, especially father’s from this clime. Apart from going to bed hungry for some misdemeanor, you also get some lashes. Many people from my climes will have telling tales but dare not tag their fathers bad.

It has been turpsy-turvy for Mourinho at Spurs

Anyways, the issue is not about fatherhood. That’s what Mourinho does, he takes attention from the matter. The matter is that Tottenham have lost ten league matches this season, the highest in Mourinho’s career. He can’t start saying this players are not good, he once said they had better players than Manchester United. Make Mourinho no turn am to family matter, man should fix his rot.

A man that disrespected his elders does not even have the moral rights of talking about respect.

Good father Mourinho, face the job.

Captain Musa

So Ahmed Musa is returning to play for Kano Pillars ten years after initially leaving for Europe, while Musa and I hope this will only be a temporary arrangement, at least for now. I can’t help but try to analyze the stage of Musa’s career.

Musa is 28. At 28, a player should be at the peak of his career. A decline is expected at the other side of 30, then the twilight. We have seen players return to play for their boyhood clubs at the twilight of their careers or return to their local leagues, it is nothing new. But it is not when they supposed to be at their peak, especially when they have not been blighted by injuries. Is Musa at the twilight of his career? Elder Arjen Robben recently returned to play for Groningen at 36. Even the likes of Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and some others are playing well in their thirties like they are still ‘peaking’. Maybe those ones are exceptions but a player should not be at twilight at 28. I am not insinuating anything. Decipher what you want.

That’s the way to CHAN

It is of more concern because Musa is the captain of the Super Eagles and expected to still be part of the team. Should a 28-year-old at his twilight be captaining the Super Eagles when there are many young players doing well?

So, since Gernot Rohr suggested that home based players should concentrate on doing well at the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) – specifically for home-based players, Musa should also play for the CHAN team.

Will Allardyce laugh last?

I have not forgotten that I said Sam Allardyce’s ‘jazz’ will fail this time at West Brom. After back-to-back wins, 8 goals scored in two matches and moving to within eight points from safety, could the big Sam perform another miracle? I still believe he won’t do it. It is easier for one Dollar to exchange for a hundred Naira than for West Brom to beat the drop this season.

I am tired of writing. There are many other hustles to do. Follow goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

Manchester United, Leeds Players Star In Our Team of the Week, Including An African Hattrick Hero

Many of the top matches lived up to their pre-match analysis at the weekend. The ‘Mourinho Derby’ and the ‘El Clasico were not devoid of drama. Some teams did their push for survival a whole world of good. Some of the players came to the party, we have made a selection of the best players across the top leagues, plus seven substitutes and a manager.

Goalkeeper- Ilian Meslier (Leeds United)

The young French goalkeeper was one of the heroes as 10-man Leeds United defeated leaders Manchester City 2-1. He made six saves to help the cause.

Rightback – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Despite questions about his defensive abilities, Trent served the attribute that has endeared him to football fans once again – impact in the attacking phase. Trent scored the winner as Liverpool saw off stubborn Aston Villa 2-1. Thankfully, he was not playing against Vinicius ‘Akpororo’.

Leftback – Quini (Granada)

Quinni did not play left-out, the leftback helped Granada come from behind to win at Valladolid with a goal in the 2-1 win.

Center-back – Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

The French defender was a rock in defence like Zuma rock as Chelsea won comfortably at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace. Zouma contributed a goal in the 4-1 win.

Center-back – Martin Erlic (Spezia)

Not always will you see a center-back with a goal and an assist that helps his side turn defeat to victory. That was what Martin Erlic did in Spezia’s 3-2 win against Crotone.

Midfielder – Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

Salon D’Or star Paul Pogba turned up with a performance, this time on a football pitch. He was instrumental as Manchester United came from behind to earn a win that has brought out the ramblings from Jose Mourinho.

Midfielder – Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

The German midfielder set Madrid on their way to an El Clasico win with a free kick goal that took Zidane’s men two up. He gave another composed midfield performance young midfielders will be envious of.

Attacking Midfielder – Stuart Dallas (Leeds United)

The Northern Irishman was the hero for Marcelo Bielsa’s men with two goals that downed Pep’s men at the Etihad.

Wing-forward – Jesse Lingard (West Ham)

‘J Lingz’ is discovering his inner CR7 at West Ham. The goals, the performances and dances are back. He scored another two at the weekend to help West Ham to a 3-2 win against Leicester City.

Wing-forward – Wahbi Khazri (St. Etienne)

Former Sunderland forward Wahbi Khazri went home with the match ball as St Etienne defeated Bordeaux 4-1. The Tunisian helped St Etienne go nine points above the relegation zone.

Center-forward – Edinson Cavani (Manchester United)

The Uruguayan was a menace as Manchester United ran riot at the New White Hart Lane. He scored a goal and saw another controversially chalked off as he turned back the years with a class center-forward performance.

Manager – Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds)

El Loco delivered a managerial masterclass as Leeds recorded a 2-1 win against Manchester City, despite playing with ten men for a long spell away from home. Pep must have taken lots of notes from this one.

Drop your comments and contributions. Which of our choices do you disagree with? Follow us on Twitter: @goaldbal

Boald Codes: El Clasico, Mourinho Derby and Other Betting Tips

Make we hustle for our quick 2k. As we have always said, Boald Codes is to guide you, the choice is yours. The most important thing in betting is to know the matches to avoid, else the bookies won’t be in business. When you select the matches you expect to come through and they do come through, you don jam quick 2k.

After the teams returned from international breaks last week, this week should be clearer BUT some of the teams on the continent will be more focused there. It is also the time relegation threatened clubs start upsetting the apple carts, as we saw with West Brom winning at Chelsea last week. As usual, we have the Bankers, the Banana Peels and the Boald Calls. We will be as direct as possible, too much analysis no dey bring money.

BANKERS

In the Premier League, Manchester City vs Leeds should produce goals. Over 2.5 comes at around 1.4. For bigger odds, you could go for both to score.

Chelsea should bounce back from last week’s defeat, away at Selhurst Park. They are in a comfortable place in their Champions League tie, they should focus here. A Chelsea win comes at around 1.5. Don’t sleep on it.

Tottenham vs Manchester United, the Mourinho Derby is too close to call. Expect both sides to go for goals. Tottenham’s defence especially, can’t hold water. Over 1.5 comes at around 1.3, if you must play this game at all.

Son will hope for another dance performance

Real Madrid and Barcelona go into the El Clasico in good forms. They both know a win will take them closer to the tittle. It is a game that should produce goals. Both to score comes at around 1.5, go for it.

Barcelona and Real Madrid go head-to-head

In the Serie A, both Inter Milan and Juventus have home matches against Cagliari and Genoa respectively. Both should win. Juventus should overcome their recent struggles here. A win for them comes at around 1.3. Inter Milan are in good form and coasting to the title, they are also valued at around 1.3 for a win.

Atalanta should win away against Fiorentina. It comes at around 1.5. Atalanta should do enough for a win, to solidify their push for Continental places. Over 1.5 could be a safer bet.

BANANA PEELS

There are many matches you should be wary of this weekend but we have highlighted some and their alternatives.

Bayern Munich might play a depleted side against Union Berlin, with the Champions League return leg against PSG in their sights amidst lots of injury worries. Be wary of a Bayern win which comes at around 1.5. But the game should still produce goals. Over 2.5 could be safe.

Same goes for Borussia Dortmund, who have been poor in the Bundesliga, by their standards. They have a tricky away game at Stuttgart. It is also a game that should produce goals. Avoid a Dortmund away win.

PSG are valued at around 1.7 to win a match in Ligue 1, that should tell you something. They go away to Strasbourg, with the Champions League also in their sights. You should also go for goals in this one.

BOALD CALL

West Ham and Leicester are jostling for Champions League places. They play at the London stadium this weekend, with both in good form. West Ham are due a bad result and the signs are there. Expect Leicester to avenge the first leg defeat. If you are Boald go for a Leicester away win at around 2.4.

Kelechi Iheanacho and his teammates should find joy at the Olympics stadium

We have supplied the passes, put your finishing touches to score the goal. Wish you a green weekend. When you win, pay your tithes here.

Thought of a Lunatic: Arsenal in their Tent, Farmer’s League Revolt and Other Talking Points

The final bend of the season is here. No more international breaks this season. It is sprint to finish from now. The race is most likely for the swiftest. While some are staying permanently in their new found ‘tent’, some are grasping with trying to return to the top or Continental positions. Some are trying to swim out of the murky waters of relegation.

The Lunatic took some lessons from the world of football last weekend and here are his thoughts.

Arsenal’s Permanent Tent

Arsenal and their Youth Corper coach seems to have found home in tenth. They used to complain about going ‘forth’, so they have found a permanent ‘tent’. At a point under Arsene Wenger, finishing fourth was the standard till they started falling below. With Arsenal in it, it used to be a top-four in the Premier League. When Arsenal and Liverpool fell off, it was expanded to top six. If Arsenal are thinking it will be further expanded to top ten, they better wake up.

The most consisTENTH team in the Premier League

They have consistently held on to tenth this season. When it seems they have started to crawl up the table, they always find a way back to their tent. Against Liverpool last weekend, it was men against toddlers. With their Travis Scott captain, they were completely played out of the park.

The bad news for the Gunners with their empty riffles is they may miss out on Europe entirely next season except they win the Europa League. Let’s start welcoming Arsenal to the midtable club.

Pochettino in the farmer’s league

PSG winning the Ligue One is a giving or supposed to be. The ‘havesters’ have always been head and shoulders above the others in the farmer’s league. But it seems the farmers have revolted against the havesters this season. PSG also have a manager that is not used to harvesting and it seems the farmers have noticed it.

While PSG have made some headway in the Champions League, their poor performance in the Ligue One was highlighted by another home defeat against a top side. They had a chance of going top but blew it at home defeat against Lille. They have now lost five times at home this season. As usual, the returning Neymar gets so competitive in this sort of matches that he gets sent off. Just like he got sent off against Marseille earlier in the season, he got another red card against Lille. Anything to show he is committed to the cause.

PSG have been better in the Champions League

At the other place where Pochettino left in England, chaos is brewing. Jose Mourinho as usual throws his players under the bus in public. Questioned about his team conceding a late goal, something not always attributed to a Mourinho team in the past. ‘Same coach, different players’ he said. Maybe a coach is as good as his players after all. No coach be genius.

Atletico Bottlers

Talking about ‘monkey no get skills, na tree near tree’. Atletico Madrid are close to completing a bottling, even Arsenal will be envious of. At the beginning of the year, Atletico Madrid were 10 points away, with a game in hand. With both Barcelona and Real Madrid struggling, it looked like Atletico Madrid winning their second league title under Diego Simeone was a giving.

Barcelona and Real Madrid are back in form and are breathing down Atletico’s neck. They are both one and three points away from Atletico respectively.

In addition to their tepid display against Chelsea in the Champions League. Someone’s sit should start becoming hot. Passion is not enough for the world’s most expensive manager anymore. He must earn his money by ensuring Atletico see this through.

The Lunatic will rest his pen here. Enjoy the midweek Champions League and Europa League matches. Someone said Chelsea were in good form till a President went to London and they got hit for five at home against West Brom. Porto are waiting.

Follow goaldball on Twitter @goaldball

The Super Eagles As A Vestige Of Nigeria’s Unity

The last line of the Nigeria national anthem – peace and unity – seems to have become just a mere recitation in recent years. Peace and unity seems non-existent in the present day Nigeria. There is hardly a time that the discussion of the unity of Nigeria has reached the crescendo it has gotten to recently, bar during the civil war. So many statements of discord and disunity has been flying out of different things called a mouth in recent months. Even as it seems that symbols and signs of Nigeria’s Unity continue to diminish by the day, the Super Eagles – Nigeria’s men national football team stands out, or so it seems.

The Super Eagles symbolises unity

The statement – ‘football unites Nigerians’ – has become so cliche that even a day old Nigerian must have heard it. While we say it and know it, how significant is it?

The Super Eagles have gathered from their various bases to play two AFCON qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho. In the midst of the various dissenting voices, it seems the Super Eagles have stood aloof.

I playfully wrote on my social media, expressing my surprise that one of the regional ‘warlords’ has not called for his ‘kinsmen’ to withdraw from the Nigerian team since he already declared the independence of his region. It is interesting to note that the various discussions and analysis that have been done on the Eagles has had nothing to do with their various regions. The players have been analysed and rated as Nigerians. When Nigerians raise eyebrows over the non-inclusion of certain players, it has had nothing to do with the regions they belonged to.

From time immemorial, the Super Eagles have been made up of players from various regions and backgrounds. When Paul Onuachu netted to give the Super Eagles victory against Benin Republic last weekend, all Nigerians celebrated not questioning the state or region the goalscorer comes from. In time past when Nigerians have won accolades in football, all Nigerians have celebrated not minding where the players come from.

The Super Eagles have always been made up of people from various regions

The Super Eagles are one of the best teams in Africa and a force to be reckoned with in the world. It is hard to see any of the regional national teams being as strong as the Super Eagles if there is a division. For instance, how much will a South-Western team be different from the Benin Republic team? Or a North-Eastern team better than Niger national team? Together, with the various constituents, the Nigeria national team is stronger.

The stories of many of the players is also the typical Nigerian story. Some of them southerners born and bred in the north. Started their footballing trades and honed their skills in other regions and that didn’t stop them from getting to the top of their careers. It is a message of how a Nigerian can become successful and reach the top of their endeavours in any region in Nigeria.

All and sundry comes together to make the Super Eagles thick

Like in the Super Eagles, if we focus more on bringing our various strengths together, we become stronger as a nation. Like the Super Eagles, if we see our challenges as our opponents and face them together, we have a better chance of winning. Even those born and bred in diaspora join forces with the home breeds to make the Super Eagles stronger, we are all seen as one and derive joy as one.

If the Super Eagles is seen as a microcosm of Nigeria and the lessons are taken and put into practice, Nigeria will be a better place for all Nigerians.

Written by: Babatomiwa Ojo, @10qmedia on Twitter

Super Eagles Squad To The 2022 AFCON: Who Is On The Bus? Who Is At The Boarding Lounge? Who Might Miss Out?

With the AFCON ticket already in the bag, it is not too early to start planning towards what is expected to be a successful outing by the Super Eagles in Cameroon in 2022. Winning Nigeria’s fourth title will be tagged a success. Finishing on the podium might be acceptable depending on how it is done but it will not excite Nigerians.

Some players are still playing for their spots

The Super Eagles play the Crocodiles of Lesotho in their last qualifying match, in what is a dead rubber but for some of the players, it should be more than that. Some of them are already playing for a spot on the 23 that will be chosen for the quest in Hayatou’s country. Barring injuries, drastic loss of forms and change in technical crew, we take a look at how the traveling party is shaping up.

On The Bus

All things being equal, the following players are already in the bus and should be ready to defend the green and white Ankara jersey in Cameroon next year.

Goalkeepers Maduka Okoye and Francis Uzoho should slug it out for the starting spot between the sticks but both of them should be in Cameroon. Okoye has become Rohr’s darling recently but he still rates Uzoho, both are young and should be in the team for long. Reminiscent of Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide being first and second choice for over a decade.

The ‘Oyinbo wall’ – William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun are still Rohr’s preferred choice, both should be in Cameroon. Chidozie Awaziem is Rohr’s Mr Utility, he should be in the team. Zaidu Sanusi seems to have tied down the left-back spot. Ola Aina’s versatility also makes him a sure choice.

Wilfred Ndidi, Joe Aribo and Oghenekaro Etebo will go as Rohr’s midfielders. The team is shot of options in this area, the aforementioned three will hardly be displaced. Alex Iwobi is one of Rohr’s trusted players, he should be in the team.

Musa should lead the team to Cameroon

Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze are Rohr’s trusted weapons in attack, they should be in the team. Ahmed Musa is captain and should be back playing by then, he should be in the team.

At the Boarding Lounge

These ones are part of the team but they are not yet in the bus and may have a boarding ticket or may not have. They are likely to be in the team but not as sure as the first group. Their inclusion also depends on the availability of some other players and or their own forms.

One of Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa might be the third choice goalkeeper due to their experience and familiarity with the team.

Jamilu Collins, Tyrone Ebuehi, Kenneth Omeruo, Kevin Akpoguma, Shehu Abdullahi and Semi Ajayi might battle for four or five slots as backup defenders. Ajayi and Shehu might miss out here but still make it as backup midfielders. Hence, only one of this six might miss out.

Moses Simon and Samuel Kalu are Rohr’s favorites and should make it, but it might depend on the availability of some outsiders, Henry Onyekuru is another option amongst the wing-forwards. One or two of the three might miss out. Kelechi Iheanacho and Paul Onuachu should make it as backup forwards but they can not be too sure yet. Michael Olise’s name was on the last list, albeit on standby, means something is brewing. The highly rated Reading youngster plays for France at youth level and is eligible for England. He will likely make the list if his switch to Nigeria is confirmed.

Kelechi Iheanacho is doing enough not to miss out on back-to-back tournaments

The Outsiders

The chances of these ones are bleak but never say never, an upsurge in forms for them and a drop in form by the more likely players will open the door for them.

Sebastian Osigwe and John Noble can make the party, especially Noble, as there is a chance there is at least one home based player in the squad, especially if Ezenwa does not return to form.

Adekunle Adeleke, Bryan Idowu and Kingsley Ehizibue must hope something happens to like three or four of the regular defenders to have a chance.

Frank Onyeka could still get a chance to impress in midfield after a disappointing debut last year.

Anayo Iwuala must keep working and hope fortune smiles on him

Anayo Iwuala, Peter Olayinka, Emmanuel Dennis, Josh Maja, Chidera Ejuke, Simy Nwankwo, Sadiq Umar, Cyril Dessers and Taiwo Awoniyi are waiting in the wings for a place among the forwards.

The Gatecrashers

Between now and January next year, some players not available now will become available while some players will emerge from seemingly nowhere.

Ademola Lookman might make it if he switches allegiance to Nigeria on time. Ovie Ejaria might get a chance to impress before January, if he seizes it, he might be one of the midfielders.

At least one player not mentioned at all might make it, it happens. A largely unknown gatecrasher might emerge.

For some of the players, the audition begins with the game against Lesotho. It is however good that the team is spoilt for choices.

Five Lessons From The Super Eagles Win Against Benin Republic

The Eagles went to Benin by sea, outplayed the Squirrels on land and soared in the sky. Unlike in 2020 when the Eagles did not win any of their matches, they kicked on 2021 on a winning note. With qualification for the 2022 AFCON already sure before kickoff due to Lesotho’s draw against Sierra Leone, the Eagles had to play for pride and they didn’t disappoint. Here are five lessons we learnt from the match.

Rohr’s Team Has A Spine

When everyone is fit and available, Gernot Rohr already has the spine of his team. Even if Rohr has been accused of upsetting the balance of the team too regularly at times, Rohr has some constant players that should always be in his starting XI and it was further demonstrated in Benin.

The team is beginning to have a spine.

While the likes of Chidozie Awaziem, Kenneth Omeruo, Semi Ajayi and some others can always come in to do a good job in central defence, the oyinbo wall – William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun are still the best pair at centre-back. The pair produced a dominant display that further buttress this against the Squirrels.

With Wilfred Ndidi shielding the defence, the team plays with more authority and assuredness. Samuel Chukwu and Victor Osimhen are a menace in attack.

Some players can come in to add to the flesh and make the team thicker but the aforementioned players are the spine of the present team.

Rohr’s Tactical Switch

Gernot Rohr has been regularly accused of being too rigid but he was different on Saturday. Maybe due to Alex Iwobi’s absence or as was planned, the in-form Kelechi Iheanacho played behind Victor Osimhen in attack. It looked like a 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 at times, due to how Iheanacho floated between midfield and attack but it became an outright 4-4-2 when Paul Onuachu replaced Iheanacho.

Given the plethora of attacking options at Rohr’s disposal, it has often been suggested that Rohr should deploy a 4-4-2 system to have more presence in attack, especially when the Eagles are playing more on the ascendancy.

It paid off on Saturday, maybe Rohr will consider to be more pragmatic with his formations and set-up going forward.

A Case For and Against Iwuala

Anayo Iwuala has received lots of plaudits for his impressive 10 minutes cameo against the Squirrels. He showed promise but that may be as good as it gets depending on his next career moves. It is difficult to see him get more playing time when the regular players are fit and available. The Super Eagles are spoilt for options on the left hand side of attack. The likes of Samuel Kalu, Moses Simon, Ahmed Musa, sometimes Alex Iwobi plays there when they are available. With reports of Ademola Lookman also ready to play for Nigeria and the likes of Chidera Ejuke, Emmanuel Dennis and some others still on the fringes, Anayo has a lot of work on his hands.

Iwuala has a lot of job to do to stay in the team

As also noticed before the match and during the match, Anayo seems too star-strucked and does not feel at home in the team yet. He has to come out of his shell quick to prove he belongs in the group. As we have also seen with some home based players that have made it to the Super Eagles in the past, a move to an obscure league in search of needed greener pastures might just end his Super Eagles career before it takes off.

Onuachu Leading The Race

There has always been a battle for who will be the Super Eagles backup striker when Idion Ighalo was first choice and now that Osimhen is. There has been Simy Nwankwo, Paul Onuachu, Cyril Dessers and some others. The last time the Super Eagles played some friendly matches last year, Onuachu was on standby behind Dessers but got drafted into the team due to some withdrawals. He started and wasn’t impressive again.

Aribo has to improve greatly or an upgrade is found

He was also initially on the standby list for this match despite his impressive record in the Belgian league. Some withdrawals, he got in the team again and also got on the pitch and on the score sheet. With Sadiq Umar, Cyril Dessers, Josh Maja, Peter Olayinka, Taiwo Awoniyi and some others waiting on the wings, Onuachu has stolen a match on them with the winning goal against Benin.

The Super Eagles Still Need A Creative Hub

Joe Aribo has come into the team to be the ball-carrier in midfield and the owner of the number 10 jersey. He is a decent footballer and got off to a good note with two goals in his first two matches but the team can do with an improvement.

Especially in the first half when the Eagles had most of the ball, they comfortably passed it between the defenders and the deep midfielders as there was no one to make the brave incursions. The centre-backs resorted to switching it up to the flanks most of the times. While Aribo is good and a valuable addition to the team, the team needs a better ball user to play in that position, especially against better teams.

Written by Babatomiwa Ojo, @10qmedia on Twitter.

Three Things To Watch In The Super Eagles Match Against Benin

The Super Eagles of Nigeria are set to do battle against the Squirrels of Benin in their penultimate AFCON 2022 qualifying match. Even though the Eagles went to Benin by water, they are expected to soar in the sky and prey on the squirrels.

The Eagles have been positive in training

It is the Super Eagles first match of 2022 and the first since the abomination that happened against Sierra Leone. The team has a lot of points to prove as qualifying is seen as assured. One point needed in two fixtures against Benin and Lesotho should not require carrying a bowl of sacrifice to the Eagles Square.

As we saw at the last AFCON and even in the first leg, where the Eagles had to dig deep to win, the Squirrels are no easy prey. But they should still be prey to the Eagles, no matter how hard. We look at three things to look out for in the match.

The battle for the right-back slot

Since Ambrose Efe lost his spot in the team, there has hardly been any consistent right-back, despite the plethora of options Gernot Rohr has at his disposal.

Ola Aina has been in good form for Fulham, though sometimes he has played at left-back and other times part of a back three in a 3-at-the-back system. His best performances for the Super Eagles have also come at left-back. Tyrone Ebuehi is in good form at Twente Enschede but has never enjoyed a consistent run in the Super Eagles. Abdullahi Shehu used to be Rohr’s man in this position but seems to have lost his place to more natural right-backs. Chidozie Awaziem excelled in the role at the last AFCON but he his naturally not a right-back. Luckily Kevin Akpoguma is unavailable to add to Rohr’s headache. He was Rohr’s choice in the position in the last two matches but he struggled and it was clear to see, it isn’t his preferred position.

Akpoguma’s unavailability might be a blessing

It will be interesting to see who starts in the position against the Squirrels. Defending well and supporting the attack from the fullback positions will be key to how the Eagles play. Rohr seems to have settled for the in-form Zaidu Sanusi as his first choice left-back, it will be nice to start having some clarity on the opposite flank as well.

Ndidi, Etebo and Aribo in midfield

Rohr’s formation is most times a 4-2-3-1, with two holding midfielders. Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo are Rohr’s men in this position. The two are always constant when they are fit and available. However, since Joe Aribo burst into the scene with a different style of approach to the aforementioned two, Rohr has never had the three together in the team before.

Aribo may drop out of the Starting XI

With all three available, it will be interesting to see who drops out or if they all start together. Without Ndidi in the last home match against Sierra Leone, the midfield was badly exposed in the second half, leading to the team’s collapse. It seems certain Ndidi will start, to shield the defence. However, Rohr may have to choose between Etebo and Aribo. Etebo will give the team a better defensive balance but Aribo carries more goals threat and contributes more to the attacking forays. It will be interesting to see what Rohr goes for.

Iwobi and Iheanacho combination

Kelechi ‘Senior man’ Iheanacho is in very good form and should be allowed to carry the momentum into this match as it should be beneficial. With Victor Osimhen expected as the lone center-forward, it is likely Rohr decides between Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi to play in the hole behind the striker. Iwobi has been Rohr’s man in this position but hasn’t been consistent at club level.

Iheanacho scored for the Eagles in his last start

However, Rohr can and should consider playing the two of them together. One of the Super Eagles best away matches under Rohr was away at Zambia during the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. The Eagles won 2-1 to get that qualifying campaign to a good start. Iheanacho and Iwobi scored on the day. Their combination that day was the bedrock of the Eagles victory. Their movement and passing accuracy was too much for the Zambians to handle. It was Iheanacho in the hole and Iwobi on one of the flanks. With Samuel Kalu out, Rohr can shift Iwobi to the left to accommodate Iheanacho in the middle of a 4-2-3-1 formation. Their movements and passing will be key to unlocking a Benin defence that is expected to sit deep. As we have also seen in recent weeks at Leicester, Iheanacho thrives when he has a striker ahead of him.

Nigerians expect the Super Eagles to secure the AFCON ticket in Benin, anything short of that will raise further questions.

Our projected Starting XI: Okoye: Aina, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Sanusi – Ndidi, Etebo – Chukwueze, Iheanacho, Iwobi – Osimhen

Boald Codes: FA Cup, Old Firm Derby and Others

Even if last week was not so green, we go again. Person wey dey find greens no dey rest. We have gone through the plethora of matches to pick those we believe will help us make some coins this weekend. As usual, we have our Bankers, Banana Peels and Boald Calls. As we always say, bet responsibly, neither we nor you will play the matches. So, we die there does not suffice.

BANKERS

All things being equal, Chelsea should beat Sheffield United comfortably in one the FA Cup quarter-final ties. Chelsea are still unbeaten under Tuchel, they play a Sheffield side that are out of sorts. Chelsea is valued at 1.26 for a win.

Tuchel is unbeaten in Chelsea

Be careful with the other FA Cup ties, they could be tricky. Everton vs Manchester City should produce an over 1.5, at least.

Atletico Madrid have only La Liga to hold on to now, they should win at home against Alaves, at 1.41. Alaves have not won any of their last five matches.

Bayern Munich should win at home against Stuttgart. Stuttgart are in good form but should find Bayern too much. Bayern win is valued at 1.28.

Hertha Berlin vs Bayer Leverkusen should produce goals. Both can score and concede. Over 1.5 is 1.25.

Juventus have the Serie A to try fall back on after crashing out of the Champions League. They should do enough to defeat Benevento. It comes at around 1.22. Benevento have not won any of their last ten matches in the Serie A.

Lille will want to return to winning ways in Ligue 1. They host Nimes and should win. They are valued at 1.30 for a win.

Lyon vs PSG is the match of the weekend in Ligue 1. They are second and third, level on points. PSG double chance is 1.40. Though they have been inconsistent in the league this season, they should do enough to at least avoid a defeat against Lyon.

Lyon vs PSG is delicately poised

Portuguese league in-form team Sporting Lisbon should defeat Vittoria Guimaraes at home. It comes at 1.5. Vittoria lost their last two matches. Only FC Porto have been able to pick a point against Sporting in their last eight matches.

In the South African PSL, giants Mamelodi Sundowns should win at home against Black Leopards. They are valued at 1.30. Sundowns are top of the table while Black Leopards are bottom. Sundowns have won all of their last 10 matches against Black Leopards.

BANANA PEELS

As stated earlier, be careful with the FA Cup matches in England. Form could be thrown out the window in cup matches.

Aston Villa host Tottenham in one of the Premier league matches. Tottenham are wounded but they go away to a very difficult Aston Villa. It is a match that will struggle for goals. Avoid a Tottenham win especially.

Barcelona go away to the Anoeta, always a tough ground for them bar two of the last three seasons. Barcelona have found some form recently but will find Sociedad very difficult. Avoid a Barcelona win.

Roma vs Napoli looks finely poised. It could swing either ways. Napoli’s recent penchant to make this sort of ties low scoring means you should avoid the goals game.

BOALD CALL

Schalke 04 are almost dead and buried in the Bundesliga and have been in terrible form. They host a Borussia Mochengladbach side low on confidence. Schalke could pull a shocker. Schalke double chance is 2.5. Go for it, if you are bold. Gladbach have not won any of their last six matches in the Bundesliga, coupled with defeats on the continent.

In the Old Firm Derby, Celtic host Rangers. Rangers have won the league but Celtic have pride to play for. Rangers are also coming off the back of a rough night in the Europa League. Celtic win is around 2.5. Go for it, if you are bold.

The Old Firm Derby is always feisty

There you have our picks for this weekend. Once again, bet responsibly. Don’t stake your school fees or house rent, you might win becoming a dropout that sleeps under the bridge. If you win, pay your tithes here. Have a swell and green weekend.