PRE-RESTART FRIENDLY: Ajayi Takes on Ighalo as West Brom Battle Man Utd Today

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Semi Ajayi (left) and Odion Ighalo will be involved in a friendly battle this afternoon

Duro Ikhazuagbe

Nigerian defender, Semi Ajayi will need to be at his best this afternoon when his club, West Bromwich Albion take on Odion Ighalo and his Manchester United teammates in two friendliest at Old Trafford.

According to reports from Old Trafford, the aim of the friendly is to keep both teams ready for the restart of the Premier League and the Sky Bet Championship suspended since early March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is the first time both Nigerian players will be facing each other since Ighalo returned to the English topflight on loan in January.

With the two games taking place at 1pm and 3pm respectively, West Brom’s first choice centre back Ajayi is expected to be handed a starting shirt by manager Slaven Bilic.

This could be another chance for another Super Eagles player to join the Red Devils if Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finds Ajayi irresistible.

Solskjaer appears on the lookout for potential signings ahead of the opening of the transfer window, though defence is not a priority for the Norwegian football tactician as he has done enough in that department to shield David de Gea from harm in the new season.

The last time Ajayi faced a Premier League team was back in January when West Brom were beaten 1-0 by West Ham in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Aside from that blip, the former Arsenal U23 captain is having another outstanding season for his club and has forced his way into the starting lineup of the Super Eagles.

Ajayi with excellent aerial ability has tallied five goals in the Championship.

Ighalo on the other hand is living out his dream, having secured extension till January ending at Old Trafford.

It is another chance to prove to OGS why he deserves a starting shirt when Manchester United restart the 2019/20 season against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur next week Friday.

The Shanghai Shenhua loanee was one of the most prolific United players before football was halted in England, with four goals scored in 318 minutes spread across eight matches, which equates to a goal every 79 minutes and 30 seconds.

Earlier on Saturday, Ighalo scored a brace in a Manchester United 11-a-side training game at Old Trafford.

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw revealed through the club’s official website on Wednesdaythat both teams shared the spoils in an eight-goal thriller and he got on the scoresheet twice.

Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James got the other goals for Shaw’s team, while Ighalo and fit-again England striker Marcus Rashford scored two goals each for the opposition.