It’s great to see that Peseiro’s philosophy is now fully taking shape into an effective winning strategy and fascinating product for fans to watch and savour.
Osimhen started a bit slow in the tournament but finally, the efficiency in Peseiro’s formation is finally unleashing and unlocking his huge potentials. Osimhen now uses his pace to press, probe and then pounce opposition defenders in a manner that unsettles them and creates opportunities for those around him.
Osimhen is now getting the balance 100% right in when to be selfish and when to be selfless. Chukwueze can learn a thing or two from Osimhen in this regards.
Peseiro’s philosophy relies on long balls. These are excellently delivered from the centre backs particularly Ekong and Bassey.
Ajayi on his own part provides more of aerial threats in set piece routines or when he chooses to drift into opposition 18 yard box.
The wingbacks also are key to this long ball approach. Aina has cemented himself to the Super Eagles starting 11 because he is unmatched in launching a variety of cross field long balls and old fashioned crossed from the flanks. This is an area where Zaidu needs to work on. He does deliver the long balls but I think Bruno Onyemaechi delivers better quality balls to complement Aina’s deliveries on the other side.
The two wingers, Lookman and Simon also provide intermittent crosses from or near the flanks which have produced a goal and several credible goal scoring chances.
Chukwueze can do a lot better if he applies his game with greater maturity.
Iwobi tries to deliver long balls but these tend to be volley-type in nature and within a shorter range. Delivering long balls is not in Frank’s tool bag but Iwobi and Onyeka make up for this shortcoming with there fit-for-purpose short and nippy passes with excellent movements across the midfield.
Having 2 midfielders like Nwakali and Daniel Daga who can deliver long balls naturally will go some way in complementing this strategy in world cup qualifiers.
Through and driven passes are also a staple of this team particularly from midfield. This where Iwobi shines. Lookman, Simon, Chukwueze Aribo, Onyeka and Yusuf have delivered some truly telling driven passes in the tournament.
For defence, the Super Eagles create one bank of 4 in front of one bank of 5 players. I have to be honest, although this has frustrated opponents, the likes of Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast still found a way round this blockade to trouble Nwabili at times – in fact Guinea Bissau scored a goal that was chopped off. Perhaps Peseiro’s boys watched those tapes and made this arrangement more fortified as it thoroughly shut out Cameroon.
In defence, Super Eagles are actually also attacking as Osimhen, Frank and Iwobi pick their moments to break out of the Super Eagles defensive wall to press opposition players into mistakes – like when Frank nicked the ball from Cameroon before running into their 18 yard box and being fouled and when Osimhen pressed the Cameroon defence into mistake (following a Cameroon throw in for Nigeria’s second goal). So the Super Eagles are developing a deadly system to transition from defence to attack with militant precision.
The formation provides ample protection for the goalkeeper. Nigerian fans didn’t have to worry for the 20 minutes that Uzoho played because the 2 banks of 5 and 4 players in front of him did the heavier lifting in whipping Nigeria’s defensive apparatus into shape.
Now you have Paul Onuachu in a new role for the Super Eagles. If we have the one goal lead we need, Onuachu comes in to be a nuisance in wasting time for Nigeria, attempting useless but strategic dribbles that will frustrate the opposition and to do his best to keep the ball in opposition area.
Osayi-Samuel also comes in to drive into opposition areas with Omeruo keeping it tight in back.
It is truly a compelling product that seeks to frustrate oppositions, capitalise on this frustration to nick the odd goal and then shut up shop later on with aided with the introduction of a defensive minded nuisance of a centre forward in Onuachu who has abandoned his goals scoring intuitions in favour of helping to see the team retain its slim lead.
But Peseiro be warned! Climbing mount Everest might prove to be difficult, staying up there will be the most difficult of all.
Opponents, Angola, Morocco, Ivory Coast and Senegal, have now caught on to Nigeria’s strategy. When opponents caught on to Eguavoen’s freight train strategy 2 years ago, it was spectacularly derailed. No strategy in football is full proof.
Now I am looking and waiting with bated breath to see how Peseiro will attempt to outfox those planning to outfox him, starting with the game against Angola.
He, just like Eguavoen, have won the initial battles, will Peseiro be able to win the war where Eguavoen tried and failed?
We’ll soon find out.
For Peseiro, Frustrating is the name of his game, but Angola are plotting to frustrate him too.