EPL: Will Victor Anichebe Finally Fufill His Potential?
When Everton striker Victor Anichebe made his first team debut in 2007, aged 17, Evertonians had hoped the club had uncovered another young gem.
Built like a wardrobe, powerful and quick, Anichebe was a striker in the mould of then-Everton striker Yakubu.
A striker that could bulldoze opposing centre-backs, hold-up the ball and bring other players into the play whilst having a knack for scoring.
True, Anichebe had never flashed the goal-scoring prowess of Yakubu, but with his size and strength, the goals would surely follow.
An Olympic silver medal with Nigeria in 2008 seemed to affirm Evertonian hopes that Anichebe, now 24 years old, could become the next big thing at Goodison Park.
However, up until this year, it seemed that Anichebe's early promise was misplaced.
Injuries halted the young Nigerians progression as his season was brutally ended in 2009 by an horrific challenge by Kevin Nolan, then of Newcastle United, which resulted in a lawsuit from Anichebe.
After 11 months out, Anichebe returned to the first-team but it took two months for him to score his first goal.
Manager David Moyes seemed happy to play Anichebe on the wing, a move which did not seem to suit the burly Nigerian, and he struggled to establish himself in the first-team.
Another injury, this time sustained whilst away on international duty with the Super Eagles, ruled Anichebe out for much of 2011 and it seemed as though time was running out on Anichebe making any sort of impression on the first-team.
As 2012 began, Anichebe hit form, as the striker scored five goals after recovering from injury.
He became the most used substitute in the history of Everton Football Club and every time he came off the bench last season, he seemed to steal a goal.
Cut to this season and Anichebe's rich run of form has continued.
He has scored three goals in his five appearances this season and probably played his best game in an Everton shirt against Swansea last week.
Everton's record when Victor Anichebe scores is truly astounding: Played 26, won 21, drawn five, lost 0
While he stuttered like the rest of the first-team against Leeds in the Capital One Cup in midweek, it looks as though this season could finally be the year that Anichebe turns potential into performance.
How many opportunities he has to make an impression remains to be seen, as Everton have a much stronger forward line than they did a few seasons ago when Anichebe first played for the Blues.
If Anichebe can keep playing to the level that he displayed against Swansea as he bullied the opposing defenders and rounded off a good performance with a goal, Moyes will continue to utilise him.
While Anichebe may not be the first name in the starting line-up, he has found his place at Everton.
His substitution stat is the most telling; this season, he will continue to come off the bench and hopefully cause some brutish havoc with the opposing defensive line.
Anichebe may never emulate the goal-scoring prowess of his countryman Yakubu, but as long as he keeps scoring and Everton keep winning, Evertonians will not mind.
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