Though Saturday’s narrow 1-0 win over Burundi was a decent way for the Super Eagles to win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), there are questions that still remain regarding the area of the midfield.
With five players producing vintage performances, such as Ola Aina, Alex Iwobi, Odion Ighalo, Wilfred Ndidi and Kenneth Omeruo, there remain some doubts over the composition of the midfield.
The three-man-midfield in Alexandria consisted of Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and John Obi Mikel. Whilst the former two players produced solid performances (with Ndidi emerging as man of the match), Mikel was less convincing than his teammates.
While the former Chelsea player’s performance was not terrible, it certainly was not at the same level of the other players on that night. The introduction of Ahmed Musa in place of Mikel meant that Iwobi was given the license to play as number 10 and gave more dynamism to the midfield.
So what are Rohr’s options here? Who should accompany to Ndidi and Etebo to make up the Eagles’ midfield?
Including the qualifiers and pre-tournament friendlies, Rhor has, in addition to Iwobi and Mikel, used John Ogu. The performances of the three men have varied, however it is undoubtedly Ogu and Iwobi that have impressed.
If Rohr aims to go far in this tournament, it is imperative to get the midfield trio correct. Mikel’s lacklustre performance was largely overshadowed by the performances of his teammates. However, as the tournament wears on, it would not be surprising to see some players tire, and in that case, the Franco German needs a midfield he can rely on. It seems clear, judging by the last match at least, that Iwobi is the best option to go with. But you can’t also rule out the experience of Mikel.