The Nigerian Professional Football League has already given us a lot to talk about this season. From odd-defying victories to unexpected falls and numerous magical performances, the division has produced several highlights that have got the local fans keeping a close eye on developments.
The fall of Plateau United from the top of the NPFL table dominated the headlines in the past few days. The Jos-based side had a good run of results within October and December that saw them take a leap to reach the summit of the rankings.
However, after bagging just a victory from their last five fixtures in the league, they've been relegated to the third position on the table, affording the likes of Lobi Stars and Rivers United the opportunity to climb over them. Kenedy Boboye's men have 25 points from 15 games in the Nigerian top-flight at the moment.
Elsewhere, the poor form of Enyimba FC has been a hot topic for discussion in recent weeks. The People's Elephant had a great outing last term, claiming the NPFL title for a record eighth time. Many expected them to come back and put up a strong challenge for the crown once again but their current form leaves a lot to be desired.
They currently occupy 16th position on the table and are just two points above the relegation zone. The Aba Warriors have recorded a paltry four victories, three draws and four defeats from their 11 games in the division so far. Although they have a few outstanding matches to play, their position in the standings is a huge embarrasment to their fans.
The thrill, disappointments and entertainment will continue in the NPFL this weekend as clubs prepare once again to see out another round of fixtures. One game many are looking forward to is the one between Lobi Stars and Akwa Starlets.
It will be an exciting encounter when these two sides go head-to-head in an intense clash at the Aper Aku Stadium on Sunday evening. All eyes will be on Lobi Stars to see if they can claim all the three points and maintain their spot at the top of the table.
Godwin Koko's men have 27 points from 14 games in the Nigerian top-flight this season. They also claimed nine points from their last five league fixtures. They could make their stand even better by coming out with a victory at home this weekend.
Meanwhile, Akwa Starlets also have all to fight for. They currently find themselves outside the top-four zone as they sit fifth on the table with 23 points from 15 matches so far. A victory from this encounter would do them a lot of good.
Benedict Ugwu's men have recorded six victories, five draws and four defeats from their 15 NPFL fixtures this season. They claimed just seven points from their last five league matches and will need to put up an inspired performance if they are to get a tangible result on Sunday.
Lobi Stars vs Akwa Starlets Head to Head
Lobi Stars and Akwa Starlets have not faced each other before in the NPFL. That makes this fixture a very important one for the two sides. The local fans will be keen to see who will draw first blood when they take to the pitch to battle it out at the weekend.
Lobi Stars vs Akwa Starlets Team News
The three points up for grabs between the two sides could shake things up on the NPFL table this weekend. If Lobi Stars can manage to earn a victory at home on Sunday, they'll keep their spot at the top of the standings, provided that Rivers United, who are tied with them at 27 points, don't win and beat their goal margin.
Furthermore, Akwa Starlets also have the potential to move past Sunshine Stars and Plateau United to reach the third position on the table. That will depend on the results of the two teams, though. Benedict Ugwu's men are just two points behind Sunshine and Plateau.
Lobi Stars vs Akwa Starlets Predicted XI
Lobi Stars Predicted XI: Ocheje M, Abdulkareem M, Anaezemba N, Aniyikaye A, Anagwa R, Douglas A, Duru E, Governor E, Kadiri S, Lazarus J, Tiza S.
Akwa Starlets Predicted XI: Edafe V, Marcos S, Asuquo U, Babalola L, Duke O, Effiong M, Ibokun H, Obot I, Ojukwu I, Oluwafemi A, Somiari A.
Lobi Stars vs Akwa Starlets Prediction
It is difficult to come up with a prediction for this game as the two teams involved haven't met each other before in the Nigerian top-flight. Notwithstanding, if their current form and positions on the table are anything to go by, Lobi Stars should come out as the better side on Sunday.
Prediction: Lobi Stars 2-0 Akwa Starlets