Akpom’s time to shine
He lived in the shadow of clinical Aleksandar Prijović for almost six months. He worked, adjusted, waited for his chance and, once he got it, made the most of it. Toumba faithful have a new forward to cheer for and PAOK have a new award-winner for 11888 MVP of January: Chuba Akpom.
In football, one must always prepare for the unforeseen. Of course, in Aleksandar Prijović’s case, the interest of foreign clubs for the Serbian striker was anything but unforeseen. The 18 goals scored by Prijović in the first part of the season sped up his move to Al-Ittihad who were looking for attacking substance.
So, enough about Prijović – let’s cut to the chase. PAOK had already made provision for the day after, adding a valuable attacking tool in Răzvan Lucescu’s squad. Chuba Akpom is a centre-forward in a different mould. More physical, more participative in creation and in the team’s defensive functions, more lively outside the box, interacting more with his team-mates, with different playing characteristics.
The comparison between Prijović and Akpom, inevitable yet arbitrary and unfair, ends right here. In his first month as a regular in PAOK’s XI, the English forward managed to conjure up three goals and three assists. He was omnipresent on the pitch, his rivals felt his presence and his team-mates counted on him to convert their efforts.
In the poll held for 11888 MVP of January, Akpom got 68,53% of the vote and landed his first individual award. In-form Léo Jabá came second thanks to his excellent recent displays, while Yevhen Shakhov completed the podium.
Although it’s still mid-February, Chuba might actually be a candidate for February’s accolade as well, given his outstanding performance against Olympiakos.