By Johnny Edward
As the English Premier League 2022/23 ends on Sunday, JOHNNY EDWARD takes a look at some of the Nigerian players who have had good and bad fortunes this season
Last summer, Nottingham Forest signed Taiwo Awoniyi for a club record £17.5m from German side, Union Berlin and his first active season in the Premier League has been filled with some pleasant moments.
The 25-year-old striker started his career with the newly promoted side on a high note as he scored on his home debut and first start for the club.
On October 22, 2022, he scored the winning goal in a 1–0 home win against former club Liverpool. Towards the end of the season, he scored five goals in three games, scoring braces against Southampton and Chelsea including the winner in a 1–0 home victory over Arsenal on May 20 that preserved the club’s Premier League status.
Awoniyi has been instrumental in keeping the Tricky Trees’ hopes alive and avoiding relegation as most of his goals have been equalisers and game winners.
Leicester City take on West Ham in the final game of the season and would need nothing short of a miracle to avoid relegation even if they win.
It was once the case that Ndidi’s ball winning numbers ranked high across Europe, never mind the Premier League. Yet at times, this season, even when uninjured, he has looked like a shell of himself, suddenly vulnerable in ways that he previously was not.
Ndidi went off injured in the 88th minute in Leicester City’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle United at St James’ Park and was replaced by Nampalys Mendy. It appears his season is over just like it appears Leicester City’s time in the EPL is also over for now at least.
Joe Aribo was one of the brightest stars in the Scottish league last season as he helped Glasgow Rangers to win the league title. After that, he decided to move to the most competitive league in the world, the Premier League.
Southampton paid £10m for the services of the Nigerian attacking midfielder last summer but he could not reciprocate his form at the club so far this season.
Things have gotten so bad for the attacking midfielder that he has managed to score just two goals in 1,544 minutes of footbal, all season as Southampton got relegated from the Premier League.
Paul Onuachu was seen as the best striker in Belgium while playing for Genk. The form of the 28-year-old Nigerian striker attracted Southampton to come for his signature as they sought to avoid relegation but he didn’t become the saviour they desired.
So far at the bottom-of-the-table club, Onuachu is yet to score in 11 Premier League games and also failed to provide any assist despite being on the pitch for 404 minutes.
Before coming to EPL, Onuachu had already scored 16 goals in 19 games in the first half of the season so it is unfortunate and unlike the striker that he has not even scored a single goal for the Saints.
Emmanuel Dennis was never expected to be a bad signing for Nottingham Forest when he joined the club from Watford for £20m last summer. Unfortunately, that is his new reality at the club.
After an above-average performance at Watford last season, Dennis has become a complete shadow of his former self as he has managed just two goals and two assists in 18 games for the Tricky Trees.