Sunderland’s Nigerian powerhouse Victor Anichebe was described by manager David Moyes as a “handful” as he scored two goals in his team’s 3-0 relegation dogfight victory over Hull yesterday in the Premeier League.
Anichebe’s recall to the first team has been instrumental in Sunderland good form, following up on a 2-1 victory in their last fixture away to Bournemouth – Anichebe scored the first goal – with yesterday’s emphatic win.
Jermain Defoe set the Black Cats on their way in 34 minutes with a neat finish, and a power blackout at the Stadium of Light that led to a 10 minute delay in the second half would not put the home team off their game. It seemed like it made Anichebe feel even more at home, as the Nigerian international would have been used to such outages from his time with the Super Eagles. Hull just couldn’t cope with his strength and his ability to hold up play.
Watch the goals and highlights:
Anichebe’s goal came in the 62nd minute as he controlled a pass from Defoe at the edge of the penalty area to fire in a powerful drive with his left foot. This was just the second time the striker known to teammates at his former club Everton as “Baby Drogba” had scored in back-to-back games in the Premier League.
He ensured the crucial three points for Sunderland in the 84th minute when he smashed in another Defoe assist from an almost identical position to his first, but this time with his right foot.
In this form, the 28 year old, who was born in Lagos but moved to Liverpool at one, must surely be looking forward to a recall to the Nigerian national team for crucial World Cup qualifiers. He tweeted after the game: “Buzzing to get back to back wins and some more goals. The hard work continues into next week! God is great”.
Anichebe’s physicality, pace and skill seem to have transformed Sunderland in the last couple of games. A former Everton teammate Kevin Kilbane told the BBC that, considering his talent, the striker has “underachieved” and has been “underestimated”. He suggested that Moyes, who brought the Nigerian through from the youth team at Everton, may be the manager that could bring the best out of Anichebe.
The past two games suggest Kilbane may be right. Anichebe credits his teammates for the transformation: “It’s not about me or JD [Jermain Defoe], it’s about the whole team.
“We’ve got back-to-back wins now and I said after the Bournemouth game that we needed to come here today and win, and that’s what we did so now we have to go for the next result and we can’t rest.
“I have to say big credit to Jordan [Pickford] because he made some unbelievable saves at 1-0 and at 2-0, and if they score the game could go in a different way.
“Papy [Djilobodji] and Lamine [Kone] were beasts at the back and everyone was really good, and Jason came in at centre midfield and didn’t look out of place.
“I can’t give everyone enough credit.” Right now, the Nigerian has three goals in two games to his credit