By John EGBOKHAN
With less than 14 days to the crucial 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria and Madagascar in Antananarivo, two influential members of the Super Eagles team, Osaze Odemwingie and Jon Obi Mikel, would tomorrow be involved in an intense battle as their respective English clubs, West Brom and Chelsea, clash at Stamford Bridge.
After falling 2-1 at home to defending champions, Manchester United on Sunday, West Brom are in the mood for war as they take the trip t5o the Bridge to face a Blues side, also reeling from their inability to scoop all three points during their game against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, also on the opening day.
What makes tomorrow tea-time fixture interesting is that it might likely feature the Nigerian duo of Osaze and Mikel, in opposing lines, a clash of two brothers, in the very exciting world of the Premier League.
Having failed to make the start against United, with an ankle injury that struck him in the pre-season friendly at Bristol City, Osaze would be hoping to start up from where he ended last term, in this potentially explosive battle against the London giants, who are also mindful of picking all three points under the reign of coach Andreas Villas-Boas.
In his attempt to score tomorrow, Osaze has to contend with the defensive play of Mikel, who has been mandated by Coach Boas to cage his Eagles teammate. Mikel is in the know of Osaze’s strengths and hopes to use his knowledge to stop West Brom’s top scorer from last term from finding tha net against goalkeeper Petr Cech.
In other matches holding tomorrow, Sunderland welcome Newcastle, Arsenal, without their influential captain, Cesc Fabregas confront Liverpool at the Emirates, Aston Villa host Blackburn Rovers,
Everton, parading Eagles forward, Victor Anichebe tackle Queens Park Rangers at Goodison Park while Swansea City are at home against Wigan Athletic.
In Sunday’s games, Norwich City play host to Stoke City, Wolves welcome Fulham while
Bolton take on Manchester City.