On Tuesday, the first day of the new year, three matches took place in England in the Premier League. A few Nigerian players, as well as some new faces, went away with good performances.
At noon, in the first match of the day, Leicester travelled to Liverpool and Goodison Park to play Everton. As usual, Wilfred Ndidi was in the starting line-up for the Foxes. Both managers went into the game tactically and not much went on in the first half of the match.
Leicester made a change at half time replacing Rachid Ghezzal with Marc Albrighton. Both teams were playing tight looking for an opening which Jamie Vardy got in the 58th minute giving Leicester the lead and, as it turned out, a vital away win. Kelechi Iheanacho didn’t make the 18-man squad.
The afternoon kick-off was reserved for a London match-up between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal had to bounce back from a heavy defeat in Liverpool while Fulham were going into the match on the back of a win against Huddersfield. Alex Iwobi was again in the starting eleven for the Gunners.
It was the Cottagers who had better chances in the beginning, with Ryan Sessegnon missing a couple of good openings. And the Gunners punished them soon after. Iwobi passed the ball to Granit Xhaka who easily scored in the 25th minute. It was important for Arsenal to score first. At the break, it was still 1:0 to the home team.
The second half had more action. Alexandre Lacazette double the lead for the Gunners in the 55th minute. Fulham made a substitution in the 61st minute bringing Aboubakar Kamara for André Schürrle which had an immediate impact when Kamara pulled a goal back for the Cottagers in the 69th minute.
Unai Emery, Arsenal’s manager then replaces Lacazette with Aaron Ramsey, and wouldn’t you know it, he scored the third goal for the home side four minutes after coming on. A few more subs were made on both sides but without much effect on the score. Late in the game, in the 83rd minute, Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang put the game beyond Fulham’s reach by scoring the final goal for Arsenal who won this game 4:1 and just like that forgot about the defeat in Liverpool a couple of days earlier.
Iwobi, who was named Man of the match after the final whistle, was substituted in the 83rd minute to give way to Bukayo Saka for his first game in the Premier League.