One of the most outstanding Nigerian youngsters in the modern era of football is yet to make a full impact on the English Premier League this season.
But can Wilfred Ndidi return from injury in time to prove his defensive prowess at the King Power Stadium? He will miss a vital fixture versus Arsenal this coming weekend, but when should we expect to see the star return?
The Nigerian international has played more than 120 Premier League games since his arrival to the club, aged just 20. Now aged 23, he played a significant role in Leicester’s fifth-place finish last season.
Vardy, Mahrez, Evans, Tielemans, Ndidi… Fofana? A closer look at #lcfc recruitment, which has arguably defined their recent Premier League history. Even during a global pandemic, Leicester are a beacon for scouting, analysis and recruitment https://t.co/EqC7JUQHhQ
— John Percy (@JPercyTelegraph) October 17, 2020
As a critical player for the Nigerian international squad, Ndidi made his professional debut against the Democratic Republic of Congo back in 2015 and since has thirty-six caps for the Nigeria national squad, which include a third-place finish in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
English Premier League: Leicester vs Burnley
It was a day of mixed emotions towards Wilfred Ndidi on the 20th September 2020 at the King Power Stadium.
While the defensive-midfielder out-shone the opposition in his centre-back position – a creeping injury was going to spoil the celebrations.
Ndidi played in the centre back position following his performance against West Bromwich, with Brendan Rodgers hoping for a repeat in success.
Ndidi played the full 90-minutes, had sixty-nine touches, made two tackles, and won four aerial battles helping his team to a 4-2 final scoreline against Burnley.
Leicester revealed that Ndidi would undergo surgery following the clash with Burnley. Although he was able to compete for a 90-minute hit, a scan revealed the injury was a serious one.
“That [surgery] will take probably place tomorrow morning,” Rodgers told the media on Friday ahead of Sunday’s fixture with Manchester City.
“It’s just unfortunate; it’s come right off the bone, so he’s going to be up to 12 weeks we think. He’s a massive player for us.
“It’s something that showed his mentality against Burnley [because] he felt it. Towards the end of last season, he felt some pain there, and he felt it late on in the Burnley game.”
“I’m sure he’ll make a perfect recovery, and we’ll welcome him back when he comes back, but there’s no doubt he’s a miss.”
“We have players capable of stepping in. Papy [Mendy] signed a new contract in the summer and has started the season very well,” he continued.
“Hamza [Choudhury] was excellent against Arsenal, he really covered the ground and was defensively very good, so we have enough cover in that position.”
The injury has caused Ndidi to miss some crucial Leicester fixtures and will undoubtedly affect their future line-ups.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers told the media that Ndidi is a long way from returning. He also missed two Super Eagles friendly clashes. While a 12-week absence is expected, the return will depend on Ndidi and his recovery time.
Leicester City vs Arsenal
One of the most important upcoming fixtures that Ndidi will be absent from is a clash against the Gunners.
Arsenal will play host’s to Leicester City for the sixth matchday of the EPL season on Sunday 25th October, at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal sit in 5th place, coming off a 1-0 loss to Manchester City, while ‘The Foxes’ are in 4th place coming off a 0-1 defeat to Aston Villa.
To no surprise, the game between Arsenal and Leicester City has pretty close odds as both squads are performing well besides their previous matchup.
Arsenal are undefeated at home in the previous twelve games but has not kept a clean sheet in the last five.
Leicester’s previous away win was against former Premier League champions Manchester City, and they have only failed to score in four of their last twenty away fixtures.
More than half of Leicester’s previous twenty away games have ended with both teams scoring. With everything taken into consideration and the odds value we have available, I think ‘both teams to score & over 2.5 match goals’ is an ideal prediction for this high-level fixture.