Samuel Chukwueze: Finally Finds His Rythm? 

In spite of being an exciting player and a nightmare for most defenders, his lack of goals has been a concern to most managers. Prior to this campaign, his best figure in terms of goal involvements was 13 (5 goals, 8 assists) which he achieved in 2020-2021.  Things seems to have taken a new turn for Samuel Chukwueze after the Nigeria international contributed 20 goals to his club so far this season

Samuel Chukwueze continued his excellent season with two assists as Villarreal claimed a 2-0 road win over Almeria in a La Liga match at the Power Horse Stadium last weekend.

In doing so, the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup winner took his goal involvements for the 2022-2023 campaign to 20 (10 goals, 10 assists), making it the first time in Chukwueze’s professional career that he has hit double digits for goals and assists in a single season.

Prior to this campaign, his best figure in terms of goal involvements was 13 (5 goals, 8 assists) which he achieved in 2020-2021.

After a goalless first half, Villarreal broke the deadlock in the 76th minute through Gerard Moreno, who fired home after Chuwkeuze’s brilliance down the right flank.

Two minutes to the end of the game, Morales sealed the win with a first-time volley after another assist by the Nigeria international.

Chukwueze’s goal involvement of 20 comprises eight in La Liga, six in the Copa del Rey, four in the group stage of the Europa Conference League and two in the UECL qualifiers.

The Villarreal winger has emerged as one of the most decisive players in La Liga thanks to the Midas touch of Manager Quique Setién.

Since the Cantabrian coach’s arrival, Chukwueze is one of only two players to have accumulated 1000 minutes or more, solidifying his position as a crucial member of the Villarreal squad.

Under Setién’s tutelage, Chukwueze has gone from being an alternative player to an undisputed starter in the league, amassing impressive statistics that testify to his transformation. With the increasing trust in his abilities, Chukwueze has been inspired to achieve a significant milestone in his career by registering double digits in both goals and assists for the first time.

With two exceptional assists over the weekend, he has accumulated 10 goals and 10 assists in La Liga this season. This remarkable feat makes him the first Nigeria international to achieve double digits in goals and assists in a single season across Europe’s top five leagues

Chukwueze’s success can be attributed to Setién’s tactical approach, which emphasises possession-based play, quick passing, and movement.

This style of play allows Chukwueze to receive the ball in dangerous areas and utilise his explosive pace and dribbling skills to run at defenders and create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

Setién’s emphasis on attacking football has also given Chukwueze the freedom to express himself on the pitch. The Nigerian is often allowed to roam across the forward line, cutting inside from the right flank to create scoring chances.

This newfound freedom has allowed Chukwueze to play with greater confidence and creativity, cementing his position as one of La Liga’s most exciting young talents.

Chukwueze’s impact on the pitch has not gone unnoticed by Villarreal fans or the wider footballing world. His goals and assists have been instrumental in securing Villarreal’s recent victories against Getafe and Almeria, and his performances have earned him widespread praise from fans and pundits alike. Chukwueze was snapped up by the Spanish top-flight team from Diamond Football Academy thanks to his impressive outing where he helped the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria win the 2017 Fifa U-17 World Cup in Chile. There, he was named third-best player behind Johannes Eggestein and compatriot Victor Osimhen.

Having impressed for the club’s reserves in the third tier, he was promoted to the senior team – making his debut in a Europa League game against Rangers – as manager Javi Calleja brought him in as a 79th-minute replacement for Nicola Sansone.

Since then, he has been a regular in the Yellow Submarine setup, while accentuating his importance to the team with eye-catching performances.

Days after winning the Bronze Ball – on the strength of three goals and three assists – and helping Nigeria win a fifth U-17 world title, football agency Stellar Group signed Chukwueze and three other players from the Nigerian squad.

The deal saw the highly sought-after star, who models his game on Arjen Robben, sign for a top European club, as those before him had done.

The only snag that hindered a potential move abroad very early was his age, as the attacker 16, and would have to wait for two years before he could sign professional terms.

The teenager returned home while awaiting news from his agents about a potential career move, and kept busy by shuttling between training and playing for Diamond Academy and the Nigeria U-20s, who were involved in the qualification for the ill-fated 2017 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.

After celebrating his 17th birthday, he seemed poised to join Arsenal, alongside Nwakali, who signed a five-year contract with the Gunners.

However, Diamond Academy pulled the plug on the deal at the last minute, and Chukwueze began to slip out of the limelight, a situation made more challenging by his Golden Eaglets teammates of lesser profiles securing moves to Europe.

Undeterred by those series of disappointments, Chukwueze eventually packed his bags and journeyed to Spain, first joining Villarreal’s U-18 team, before being promoted to the B team.

Setién’s arrival at Villarreal has brought out the best in Chukwueze, turning him into one of La Liga’s most decisive players. Setién’s tactical acumen and attacking philosophy have given Chukwueze the freedom to express himself on the pitch and utilize his explosive skillset to full effect.

With Setién at the helm, Chukwueze’s star is set to continue rising, and Villarreal fans will be hoping that he can help lead the Yellow Submarine to further success in the months to come.

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