John Obi Mikel played an influential role as Stoke City claimed a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Derby County in an EFL Championship clash at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday.
The former Super Eagles skipper was crucial in the middle of the park, shielding his defence to help the Potters keep their third clean sheet in six games.
Mikel was even unlucky not to claim an assist in the first half when his nice pass to Nick Powell sent the striker behind on his own – but Powell was marginally offside.
Stoke move up to 11th on the log with 52 points with that victory, while the defeat puts Wayne Rooney’s men just five points above the relegation zone.
In another Championship match, Watford continued their incredible winning run with a convincing 3-0 defeat of Birmingham City at the Vicarage Road Stadium.
Super Eagles vice-captain William Troost-Ekong was solid in defence for the Hornets as goals from Ken Sema, Nath Chalobah, and Andrey Gray powered coach Xisco’s men to their fifth triumph in a row.
Compatriot Isaac Success also featured for the first 57 minutes of the encounter as he continues with his return to fitness.
The second-placed Hornets now boasts 75 points, six more than third-placed Swansea City, who have two games in hand.