NPFL predictions: The Predictor vs Ayobami ‘Aywenger’ Animashaun

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Another matchday in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) is not too long and things are beginning to take shape. The goals haul has crossed the 100-mark but goals per game still remain below one.

However that goals per game should not take away the excitement of this Sunday’s matchups including two derbies with an eye on the Nest of Champions where high-flying Akwa United play hosts to Wikki Tourists. It is derby day in Port Harcourt and Umuahia where Rivers United face Go Round in a first meeting and the Oriential Derby is between Abia Warriors and Enugu Rangers.

This matchweek, I have a very interesting opponent in Ayobami Animashaun who is also known as Aywenger. Animashaun deals in numbers, yes, every kind of stats you want to know in the Nigerian top division and you can look up @NPFLstats on Twitter or NPFL statistics on Facebok for more.

But Animashaun who is a big follower of Sunshine Stars will put those masterly act of mining NPFL stats to use when he squares up against me in all 10 games for this matchweek in which he has made bold and interesting predictions.

SUNDAY

AKWA UNITED vs WIKKI TOURISTS

This is officially the 61st game of the season though we have played 59 matches so far with Niger Tornadoes versus Heartland being the outstanding. I expect Akwa United head coach Abdu Maikaba who knows his former employers Wikki inside out to hand out tips to his men. Nothing much in terms of playing personnel has changed at Wikki and add to that they have been wretched on the road.

Animashaun is already tipping the Promise Keepers not to show mercy to Wikki. For a team that have the best ratio of scoring first in games this season (83% – five in six matches), it will be so tough for the Tourists. I totally agree with Animashaun’s scoreline.

The Predictor’s prediction: 3-0

Animashaun’s prediction: 3-0

LOBI STARS vs FC IFEANYIUBAH

Both teams failed to win in midweek. Lobi fell 0-1 at Kwara United and FC Ifeanyiubah dropped points at home in a 1-1 draw with Akwa United. I know both teams will keep things tight as it will be two of the senior coaching citizens in the country squaring up – Lobi’s Solomon Ogbeide versus Ladan Bosso of FC Ifeanyiubah.

I think Lobi will do enough to just edge past the Anambra Warriors who have not found any joy on the road. Animashaun however goes for a share of the spoils. We will see how this pans out.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Animashaun’s prediction: 1-1

HEARTLAND vs KWARA UNITED

I am certain that there will be jangling nerves among faithful of both clubs having began the campaign on their return to the top-flight in woeful fashion. Heartland are the only team yet to win a game this season while Kwara United are one of five clubs yet to score on the road.

I think this represents Heartland’s best chance of putting a first win beside their name on the board as their next game is away to FC Ifeanyiubah in an Oriental Derby next weekend. It will be a nervy outing for Ramson Madu’s men but they should grind out a win. Something Animashaun also agrees with.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Animashaun’s prediction: 2-1

KATSINA UNITED vs NIGER TORNADOES

This is always quite a handful of a contest. Katsina United and Tornadoes are mid-table clubs and whenever they come head-to-head, it is always a close contest. So I am not expecting anything different though Katsina United are building for themselves some sort of home invincibility nowadays.

The Katsina club are my favourites to claim the full points as I think Tornadoes have lost their way a bit their barnstorming start to the season. With three defeats on the spin, Tornadoes look second best for Animashaun in this game as well.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Animashaun’s prediction: 1-0

Photo: LMC Media

RIVERS UNITED vs GO ROUND FC

This is the first-ever meeting in the division between the two Rivers club. Now this is the new Rivers Derby after Sharks FC and Dolphins FC became Rivers United though the records of Dolphins count as their top-flight status is why United in the NPFL after Sharks got relegated. I find one fact interesting – both clubs have identical points, goals scored and conceded as well as wins, draw and losses.

Animashaun says: “It is an interest piece of stats ahead of this first derby in Rivers. But things will be separated at the end of the game.” I cannot dispute Animashaun’s take on the outcome of the game as I am going for a solitary goal to determine this since both clubs are not scoring enough.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Animashaun’s prediction: 1-0

ABIA WARRIORS vs ENUGU RANGERS

This is the fourth Oriental Derby this season and Abia Warriors are involved in back-to-back of such after coming off a 1-0 defeat at Enyimba in midweek. This game also produces goals by the bucket load and I expect it to continue so as it is always an open contest.

Abia Warriors head coach Emmanuel Deutsche had had to rely on the pair of Samson Obi and Ndifreke Effiong for goals so far in the absence of the freescoring Sunday Adetunji who put two past Rangers in this fixture last term en route to a 4-0 win. Animashaun thinks Rangers will nick this but I go for a share of the spoils.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-2

Animashaun’s prediction: 0-1

EL-KANEMI WARRIORS vs ENYIMBA

Enyimba, after six matchdays have just two goalscorers, something I consider very poor by their standards. It is always difficult taking anything away from Maiduguri these days as only three clubs – 3SC, Rangers and Kano Pillars – have done so since April 2016. The People’s Elephant do not like that team capable of doing that at the El-Kanemi Sports Stadium.

Animashaun thinks this game looks out of the reach of Paul Aigbogun’s men who have struggled so far to get the ball in the back of the net of their opponents.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Animashaun’s prediction: 1-0

PLATEAU UNITED vs SUNSHINE STARS

Animashaun’s favourite NPFL club are up against the champions and he is quite certain that the Akure Gunners, or Owena Waves as some prefer to call them nowadays, can take something away from the New Jos Stadium. I hold a different view from my guest’s forecast anyway as I think Plateau United head coach Kennedy Boboye will rally his men to take this against his former team.

It is going to be a very fierce contest and possibly more of the happenings will be determined from the sidelines as we have two of the brightest managers in Duke Udi of Sunshine Stars and Boboye.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-1

Animashaun’s prediction: 0-0

KANO PILLARS vs MFM FC

The biggest undoing of MFM will be their away form. And they will Junior Lokosa who is in the form of his life to shut out for 90 minutes which I doubt the MFM defence can do at the Sani Abacha Stadium. Animashaun and I have gone for a big scoreline for the Kano club.

I like the attacking bond between Jesse Akila and Waheed Adebayo but Kano Pillars will not take their feet off the pedals from the outset if the result at the NPFL Invitational Tournament in December comes to mind. I expect Lokosa, Alassan Ibrahim and Nyima Nwagua to star in this.

The Predictor’s prediction: 3-0

Animashaun’s prediction: 4-1

MONDAY

NASARAWA UNITED vs YOBE DESERT STARS

It will be a return to Lafia for Yobe Stars head coach Mohammed Baba Ganaru but it will not be a happy one I think as I expect Nasarawa United to shrug off their poor start to the campaign and claim the full points. Yobe Stars have no doubt punched above their weights but the Solid Miners will squeeze them for the points.

Baba Ganaru’s men are on a three-game run without defeat, something most of us did not see coming but the curtains will fall on that streak, says Animashaun.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Animashaun’s prediction: 2-1

• The Predictor hit double figures (11 points) for the first time this season, edging last matchday’s guest Yemi ‘Yema’ Olanrewaju by a point. The Predictor got EIGHT correct results of the nine on offer including THREE perfect scores (two points for each perfect score). Yema got 10 points from SEVEN correct results including THREE exact scores.

© The Predictor

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