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Rivers United v Wikki Tourists preview, prediction, playing 11, team news and more | NPFL 2019/2020

Rivers United would host Wikki Tourists in Port Harcourt
Rivers United would host Wikki Tourists in Port Harcourt

Matchday 18 of the 2019/2020 NPFL season would take place this weekend, with Rivers United hosting Wikki Tourists at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt.

The hosts have been in good form of late and currently occupy the third spot on the standings with 27 points accrued from 15 matches - one point behind table-toppers Plateau United - although they hold the advantage of having a game in hand.

Tourists, on the other hand, have had an average campaign to date and currently occupy 13th spot on the standings with 20 points from 15 matches, although their position is hugely precarious, as most of the teams beneath them have outstanding matches due to their continental engagements.

Rivers United vs Wikki Tourists Head-to-Head

Rivers United and Wikki Tourists have met on 15 occasions in the past, with Wikki Tourists having won seven clashes including the last two meetings last season, while United have picked up five victories, with the other three games ending in a stalemate.

Tourists also have the advantage in terms of goals scored, having scored three more than the 13 goals managed by Rivers United.

Total meetings: 15, Rivers United wins: 5, Draws: 3, Wikki Tourists wins: 7

Rivers United form guide: D W L W W

Wikki Tourists form guide: W D L L D

Rivers United vs Wikki Tourists Team News and Predicted XI

Staley Eguma has shown a certain level of predictability when it comes to his team selection for Rivers United this season and the veteran tactician is not likely to diverge too far from his established teamsheet.

Akande Abiodun would man the goalpost and he would be shielded by a back four comprising of Godswill Kazie, Rafiu Ishaq, Kunle Odunlami, and team captain Festus Austin.

Lookman Bikuyo, Cletus Ometan, Bamba Bakary, and Esor Nelson would start In a four-man midfield, while Stephen Gopey and Malachi Ohawume would lead the line in a traditional 4-4-2 formation.

Rivers United predicted XI: Akande Abiodun; Godswill Kazie, Rafiu Ishaq, Kunle Odunlami, Festus Austin; Lookman Bikuyo, Cletus Ometan, Bamba Bakary, Esor Nelson; Malachi Ohawume, Stephen Gopey

Head coach: Stanley Eguma

For Wikki Tourists, Yusuf Mohammed would retain his spot in goal behind a defence comprising of Hassan Musa, Waziri Christopher, Peter Ambrose, and Franklin Anthony.

Sixtus Forsah and Williams Ukeme would man the central midfield berths, while Sikiru Kamal and captain Idris Mohd Guda would run the flanks, with their attack led by Newman Musa and Manu Garba.

Wikki Tourist Predicted XI: Yusuf Mohammed; Hassan Musa, Waziri Christopher, Peter Ambrose, Franklin Anthony; Sixtus Forsah, Williams Ukeme, Sikiru Kamal, Idris Mohd Guda; Manu Garba, Newman Musa

Head coach: Yusuf Mohammed

Rivers United v Wikki Tourists prediction

With 10 points picked up from their last five fixtures, Rivers United lead the form table in this season's NPFL and they would hope to keep up the tempo by picking up all three points against Wikki Tourists in front of their fans.

The 'Pride of Rivers' would have been gutted to have drawn their last fixture away to Jigawa Golden Stars, having led for most of the game until a late own goal by captain Festus Austin ensured that both sides shared the spoils.

Wikki Tourists posted a 2-1 victory over Lagos-based side MFM FC at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium in their own matchday 17 fixture and they would have been buoyed by what was an invaluable three points to aid their relegation battle.

The Bauchi outfit would seek to win consecutive matches for the first time since the opening two fixtures of the campaign but they would have their work cut out if they are to leave Port Harcourt City with anything.

Rivers United have been near-invincible at home and are yet to taste defeat this term in front of their fans, having won six and drawn two of their eight home games to date.

For their part, Tourists have not been particularly impressive on the road and have picked up just five points from a possible 21 on their travels, with their only away victory this season coming on matchday 2 against Nassarawa United.

Although both sides are in need of the points for much different reasons, Rivers United's good run of form and increased incentive in their battle for the title would ultimately see them prevail with a convincing victory over Wikki Tourists.

Verdict: River United 3-0 Wikki Tourists

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Edited by Zaid Khan
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