The leagues in Europe are already halfway there, except in Italy, where Serie A is a game away from the halfway point, but Nigerian players are already caught in the net of trying to help their teams survive the fallout. Abiodun Adewale writes about some of the Nigerians fighting for security


Awoniyi, Dennis – Nottingham Forest (13th)

From the safest to the most dangerous, Nigerian players in the English Premier League could face the harsh reality of seeing at least one of them go down with their club at the end of the current campaign.

With Nigerians at Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Everton and Southampton, these clubs may no longer be safe for players as the season enters the second round.

Taiwo Awoniyi and Emmanuel Dennis’ Nottingham Forest have managed to swim out of the relegation waters in the EPL. But even at number thirteen on the record, they are five points above the bottom of the table with the likes of Leeds, Leicester, Wolves, Bournemouth, West Ham and Southampton also fighting for survival.

With three wins in their last five games, the reds seemed to have taken their destiny into their own hands as soon as possible, and how many points will they be able to add in the next five against Bournemouth, Leeds, Fulham, Manchester City and West Ham. Sandwiched in between those games is a crucial two-legged League Cup semi-final against Manchester United.

Iheanacho, Ndidi – Leicester City (15th)

In two places behind Forest are Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi’s Leicester City, who are living dangerously with four defeats in their last five games.

It’s been a torrid season for the Nigerians at the King Power Stadium who have been hit hard by Leicester’s run. Ndidi, especially, has gone from being a midfield delight to a makeshift centre-back and can’t stop them from scoring goals. He has conceded 33 goals this season.

Iheanacho, on the other hand, must have a hard time maintaining his stock with just one goal and one assist in 14 appearances, with 13 of those coming as a substitute, compared to the stats from his last two seasons when he had 12 goals in 25 appearances. . Perhaps his downfall in form preceded Leicester’s, as he only managed to score four goals in 26 appearances last season.

Alex Iwboi – Everton (19)

Even while injured, Alex Iwobi was never out of the news for Everton. But as good as the Nigerian is for the Merseyside club, they are back in the same situation they found themselves in last season.

The Toffees needed their penultimate game of last season to get out of the zone they dreaded last year, but with just 15 points and no win in their last game, the odds are stacked against them.

With a goal and five assists already, Iwobi has already surpassed his previous goalscoring contribution for Everton, but how much he has to do to avoid going down with the Toffees remains to be seen.

Joe Aribo – Southampton (20)

When Joe Aribo joined Southampton from Rangers after a UEFA European Cup runner-up finish against a team that finished five points above relegation the previous season, it was hard to call his play big.

He did establish himself well during the preseason and announced his presence with a superb solo goal against Villareal, but since then the doubts that overshadowed his signing have begun to overshadow him.

Now it has gone from bad to worse as they find themselves deep in the relegation zone with one win in their last five games.

Aribo’s new manager Nathan Jones might have sighed with relief at their latest win over Everton, but his work for the rest of the season is still cut out as Aribo seemingly finds favor entering his starting XI.


Desserts, Okereke – Cremonese (day 20)

While the Scudetto is in the offing for one Nigerian in Serie A, two other Nigerians are going down with newly promoted side Cremonese.

Cyril Dessers and David Okereke do not have an easy life in Italy with the club yet to win a match after 18 games in Serie A. Having managed just seven draws, they sit bottom of the table on just seven points. . One of their draws has come in their last five games and four other losses followed.

With their coach, Massimiliano Alvini, already showing the starting door, it might well be time for the two Nigerians to find their way out of the relegation-threatened side with their stats, elevating them above the rest.

Both players have three goals and one assist each in 34 appearances between them. Those contributions have accounted for more than half of Cremonese’s goals (13) this season. Good enough for them, but bad for the club.