Wednesday, 6th December 2023

Premier League records Nigerian players will chase in 2023/24 season

By Oluyemi Ogunseyin
11 August 2023   |   3:14 pm
After ten weeks of waiting and anticipation, the world’s arguably most popular league—the Premier League kicks off today.

Premier League football Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

After ten weeks of waiting and anticipation, the world’s arguably most popular league—the Premier League kicks off today.

The eagerness for the start of the new season is heightened by the businesses (acquisition of new players) clubs have secured in the summer transfer window.

Two Super Eagles players, Ola Aina and Calvin Bassey moved to the EPL during the window, mobile shop bet adding to the Nigerian contingent in the English topflight.

It is nearly impossible to write the history of the league without the milestones and achievements of Nigerian players.

With another season right upon us, there are records some Nigerian players would hope to equal or surpass in the next nine months of adrenaline-induced football league.

Iwobi equaling or surpassing Victor Moses’ 20 EPL goals

Sadly, the 2023/24 Premier League season will be Alexander Iwobi’s last bow in the colours of Everton, but it comes with a lot of promises as he enters the final year of his contract at Goodison Park.

He reached the highest returns of his career for Everton last season. card betting Apart from featuring in all the league matches for the club and playing a key role in their escape from relegation, he registered eight assists and scored two goals.

The 27-year-old was named as the club’s Player Of The Season, as his impact in the team could not be denied.

The two goals scored by the former Arsenal midfielder took his goal haul in the league to 17, sports betting in the eight seasons he has spent with England’s elite clubs.

Victor Moses, who made 220 appearances in the league, scored 20 goals playing for the likes of Wigan Athletic, Chelsea, Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United.

Iwobi could aim to further exploit his goal-scoring ability in the new season, particularly if coach Sean Dyche deploys him directly behind the attackers.

He got two last season and something better than that will take him on the same level or above the Premier League scoring record of Moses who now plays for Spartak Moscow.

Iwobi could equal or surpass Kanu’s assist record

Though there are five Nigerian players in the league, Iwobi would catch a lot of attention this season.

Apart from the three goals that could see him reach Victor Moses’ goal record in the league, the Eagles midfielder is two assists from equaling Nigeria legend Nwankwo Kanu’s assist record of 29 in the league. Iwobi is on 27, aided by the eight assists he bagged last term.

He is currently second on Nigeria’s all-time assist record in Premier League history. Jackpot He surpassed Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Kelechi Iheanacho’s assist record of 26 and 25 respectively, in the last campaign.

Iwobi targets Yobo, Mikel, Aiyegbeni’s EPL appearance record

Iwobi is just seven games away from equaling Joseph Yobo’s appearance record in the Premier League.

Iwobi who moved to the Merseyside club in 2019, has made 221 appearances, while Yobo, bet predictions today who coincidentally spent eight seasons at Everton, made 228 appearances in the English topflight.

If injury-free and considering the difference he made for Dyche’s side last season, Iwobi is favoured to make seven appearances with the snap of the finger.

Last season, he started all of Everton’s league games. Achieving the same feat in the new campaign will see him surpass John Obi Mikel’s 249 appearances and Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s 252. Another 38 league appearances will take him to 259.

Iwobi could be 1st Nigerian to start all EPL matches in two consecutive seasons

Last season, Iwobi equaled Yobo’s 2006/07 record of starting all 38 games for the Toffees. What was exceptional about Yobo’s though, was that the former Eagles captain played every minute of the campaign for the club, while Iwobi was subbed off a few times in the 2022/23 season.

That said, if Iwobi could get into the same tempo for Everton, he could start all the league matches for the club once again and make a decisive impact as he had done in the last two seasons.

If that is achieved, he would be the first Super Eagles player in Premier League history to start all the 38 matches for his club in two consecutive seasons.

Awoniyi could be third Eagle to hit double figures in back-to-back seasons

Taiwo Awoniyi made a mark in his debut season in the EPL last season. Somehow, destiny made a way for him to fulfill a life-long dream. His move to Nottingham Forest could be likened to that of Joseph who was sent to preserve his people.

Awoniyi’s trajectory last season had some elements of the supernatural in it. He recovered from injury in the nick of time when Forest needed a messiah to lead them through the relegation waters. He scored six goals in the club’s last four games.

The former Union Berlin attacker scored crucial goals that preserved The Reds’ Premier League status, particularly the winner against Arsenal. The 25-year-old finished the season on 11 goals, 10 of which were in the league.

Without doubt, greater responsibility will rest on his shoulder in the new season. Some pundits have predicted that Forest will struggle again, but even if that happens and Awoniyi finds his rhythm in the midst of it, he could even surpass last season’s goal count for the City Ground outfit.

If he replicates that feat, he would equal the record of Aiyegbeni and Osaze Odemwingie. Aiyegbeni, who holds Nigeria’s record as top scorer in the league’s history, scored 16 goals in his debut season for Portsmouth in the 2003/04, and netted 12 times for the same side in the following campaign.

Odemwingie, who began his career in the league with West Bromwich Albion, hit 15 goals in his first season for the club in the 2010/11 season and 10 goals in the next campaign.

Bassey eyes Dennis, Utaka, Osaze, Ighalo, Odemwingie’s record of scoring on EPL debut

Eagles defender Calvin Bassey, will finally have the opportunity to make his dream of playing in the Premier League come true, this time with Fulham, as he could not fulfil the ambition with Leicester City few seasons ago.

The budding defender could become the sixth Nigerian to score on their debut in the Premier League, or even surpass the record. Bassey already got his first goal for Fulham in their 2-1 win over Hoffenheim in a friendly clash last week and should put him in the mood for confidence.

Emmanuel Dennis was the last Nigerian player to score on his debut in the league, in Watford’s 3-2 defeat to Aston Villa two years ago. Ex-internationals, John Utaka, Osaze Odemwingie and Odion Ighalo scored on their respective debuts.

Though, it is excusable to say Bassey is a defender, it is not an impossibility. Set pieces present immense opportunities to defenders these days to get on the score-sheet.

After joining Portsmouth from Rennes in July 2007, Utaka opened his goal account in the English top-flight on his maiden outing against Derby County.

A day after joining West Bromwich Albion in August 2010, Odemwingie scored the winning goal on his Premier League debut against Sunderland.

In 2015, Ighalo achieved the same feat at Watford after he came off the bench to open his EPL goal account in an encounter that ended 2-2 draw against Everton.

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