NPFL predictions: The Predictor vs Edafe Matthew Eseoghene

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It is Matchday 5 this weekend in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and the 10 games are well spread across Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Title holders Plateau United cruised to the top of the standings in midweek and are favourites to stay top unless they suffered an unexpected slip when last season’s runners-up MFM FC face them at the New Jos Stadium on Saturday.

Eight matches will be on offer on Sunday while this season’s first Monday game takes place at the Lafia City Stadium between Nasarawa United and seven-time champions Enugu Rangers.

This matchweek, it is Edafe Matthew Eseoghene squaring up with The Predictor. Eseoghene is the CEO of TOB Media, owners of Elegbete TV. The public speaker and life coach had stints with Sharks, Eagle Cement and IF Elsborg. He has worked as a pundit in the sport at HiTV and Brila FM.

Eseoghene is a big follower of games in the top division, and will pitch his ability to forecast the game against The Predictor.

SATURDAY

PLATEAU UNITED vs MFM FC

Plateau United have started the season so well which is always typical of every team that Kennedy Boboye has managed in the top-flight from Sunshine Stars to Abia Warriors. Already top of the pile ahead of this matchday, I now find it difficult to write them off especially with their new signings Tosin Omoyele and Raphael Ayagwa giving additional spark to their attack.

Eseoghene has decided to pitch tent with the champions. I am doing same because MFM look not just light-weight at the moment but their failings on the road have continued into this season, meaning they have lost their last five away matches. MFM’s chance of getting a result in Jos is like a flickering candlelight in the wind.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Eseoghene’s prediction: 3-1

SUNDAY

WIKKI TOURISTS vs FC IFEANYIUBAH

This Wikki under Bala Nikyu reminds me of the old side that would always grind out unconvincing 1-0 wins at home and suffer defeats on the road. The old order appears to be back at the Bauchi club since Abdu Maikaba moved on at the start of last season. This time they will have to up the ante as the Anambra Warriors will be different opposition.

Ladan Bosso’s men have come close to picking points in their last two away games at MFM and Niger Tornadoes. I believe FC Ifeanyiubah can take this contest as they have always set up to attack with the like of Godwin Obaje, Chijioke Alaekwe, Pascal Seka and Ekene Awazie who can score goals.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-2

Eseoghene’s prediction: 2-2

AKWA UNITED vs KWARA UNITED

Akwa United I must say made up for that 1-0 loss to Go Round FC with a very fearless performance at Tornadoes in midweek where they won 2-1 – ending a 75-game home streak without defeat for their opponents. At home this Sunday they face Kwara United who finally got their first win of the season after four matches. Your guess is as good as mine where the pendulum of this fixture will swing.

My guest foresees a heavy defeat for the away side, something I agree with considering Akwa United have won their last 13 home games in the league since a 1-1 draw with FC Ifeanyiubah 308 days ago. Kwara United have netted just once this season, I doubt where their goals will come from against an attacking and a ball-playing side like Akwa United.

The Predictor’s prediction: 3-0

Eseoghene’s prediction: 3-0

LOBI STARS vs NIGER TORNADOES

Tornadoes did fall on their perch in midweek – a thing of surprise to me considering how strong they were at home prior to the defeat to Akwa United. Erasmus Onuh’s men are up for a tough game at the Aper Aku against Lobi. Add to that, Solomon Owello who is the creative spark in their setup is out for several weeks with an ankle injury.

Lobi have got players in Samad Kadiri, Mannir Ubale, Ezekiel Mbah as well as wing backs Solomon Kwambe and Ebube Duru who know how to run at defenders. I envisage a Sunday afternoon full of tracking back for Tornadoes who I expect to employ the smash-and-grab tactics which Eseoghene thinks will work in Lobi’s favour.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-1

Eseoghene’s prediction: 2-0

HEARTLAND vs YOBE DESERT STARS

The last time this fixture happened in the top-flight was in March 2002 when Heartland won 1-0 while they were still known as Iwuanyanwu Nationale. The Naze Millionaires are the only team with no win this season, I am sure this must be a huge concern for Ramson Madu as Eseoghene tips them to pick their first full points.

Mohammed Baba Ganaru and his men have done little on the road this season though home wins over Wikki and Lobi leave them as the best performing among the promoted clubs. By the way this is a game among promoted sides, and I think Heartland will be up for it.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Eseoghene’s prediction: 2-0

KATSINA UNITED vs GO ROUND FC

Newcomers Go Round dropped points at home for the first time in more than a year (including home games from the second tier) and that I am sure will serve as a welcoming to the top division. This matchweek they head to the northwest to face Katsina United who have gone unbeaten in their last 21 home matches.

I expect Destiny Ashadi, Usman Barau, Usule Martins and Tasiu Lawal to star in this game as they have played major roles so far for Katsina United. And the manner with which they saw off Enyimba and nearly held off Rangers in their last two games should give Go Round the hint of what to expect at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium this Sunday.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Eseoghene’s prediction: 3-1

RIVERS UNITED vs ENYIMBA

About two, three seasons ago this game had so much pre-game hype around it. Now it has fallen down the pecking order of big games. Both clubs are struggling for breath in these early stages of the season as I have not seen them look like sides with free-flowing style or free-scoring players. However I will not write off Enyimba’s bouncebackability (using Iain Dowie’s word) in the course of the season.

Eseoghene has made a very bold call by handing the game to the People’s Elephant. This Enyimba look far from a side that can pull off such a result though United are also not enjoying a good spell. A share of the spoils, I will go for.

The Predictor’s prediction: 0-0

Eseoghene’s prediction: 1-2

ABIA WARRIORS vs SUNSHINE STARS

This is only the ninth head-to-head league meeting between the two sides – Sunshine Stars have won four to Abia Warriors’ two. The last time Abia Warriors won a league game against the Akure Gunners was 854 days ago in a five-goal thriller they edged by the odd goal. Will things turn out different this time?

I still think the Akure side are such dangerous opponents under Duke Udi and I expect them to make life difficult for their hosts. They can eke out a point in Umuahia but Eseoghene says Warriors have too much firepower to drop points at home.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-1

Eseoghene’s prediction: 2-0

EL-KANEMI WARRIORS vs KANO PILLARS

This is sure going to be a keen contest in Maiduguri. It has always been feisty whenever they meet and this time, it would be no different. One man will be in focus – that is Kano Pillars striker Junior Lokosa who is top scorer. He is a marked man ahead of this game having scored a goal each in this season’s opening four games.

Pillars have showed hunger since the start of this season, and I am tipping them to nick this game based on the current strength of their squad. Eseoghene also thinks El-Kanemi will drop points but he opts for a draw.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-2

Eseoghene’s prediction: 1-1

MONDAY

NASARAWA UNITED vs ENUGU RANGERS

The Solid Miners will aim to put life into their campaign after just one win in four games. Both teams have cancelled themselves out in their last two league meetings – each game ending 1-1. But Rangers have only managed a win over Nasarawa United in their last eight meetings with the Lafia club getting two better than their opponents.

I do not think Rangers who will be without Tope Olusesi, Ibrahim Ajani and Brownbraye Okpus for this game can take a result back with them. And Eseoghene agrees with me on this.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Eseoghene’s prediction: 2-1

• My guest in the previous matchday Oluwashina Okeleji came out tops with SIX correct results including TWO exact scores (2 points each) that earned him EIGHT points, one better than mine. I equally got SIX correct results but managed just ONE exact score among the results.

© The Predictor

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