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Will There Be A Michael Obafemi Reunion For Saints At Swansea
Thursday, 6th Jan 2022 11:28

Saints travel to Swansea City in the 3rd round of the FA Cup on Saturday hoping to repeat their victory there in pre season, but will former striker Michael Obafemi be featuring for the Swans against his former club.

Up to 18 months ago there were hopes that Michael Obafemi might fulfil his early potential at Saints and become the player that everyone hoped that he would be.

However injury issues plus rumours of the player himself being unprofessional in his lifestyle off the pitch meant that after making his Premier League debut four years ago against Spurs in January 2018 and then breaking into the first team contention in November/December of the same year, his progress never really continued as it should have done.

In 2019/20 he got himself back into first team contention and again looked a genuine prospect after scoring a superb goal in a 2-0 victory at Chelsea on Boxing Day 2019, one of 3 Premier League goals plus a winner at Fulham in the League Cup he scored that season.

So when 2020/21 started there were high hopes for him the following year.

But it never really got out of the starting blocks for him, although he was on the bench 10 times and got on the field of play for 4 of those, for most of the season he was either not in the squad or injured, meaning that Dan N'lundulu overtook him in the pecking order.

Last summer it was a bit touch and go what would happen, would he stay or would he go, indeed he was a 65th minute sub for Saints in the 8-0 rout of Newport County in the League cup although he didn't score.

But this was his last appearance in a Saints shirt and the arrival of Armado Broja who scored twice in this game on a season long loan perhaps made up both he and the club's mind about him and he joined Swansea City on a permanent basis, a deal that had originally almost gone through in January 2021 only being curtailed when he picked up yet another injury just before it could happen.

A drop down to a good Championship side like Swansea should have been the catalyst for a revival, a new start and with the chance to make an impression.

But it hasn't quite happened like that, yes Swansea's season of late has been interrupted by Covid meaning that they haven't played since December 11th, but of the 22 games in the Championship so far, Obafemi has started just once, that being back in September shortly after scoring, he has made another 8 appearances off the bench as a sub, but in total he has managed just 293 minutes of Championship football for the Swans, the equivalent of just over 3 games in real figures.

He has managed to score in one of those games notching against Birmingham in a 2-1 defeat after coming on as a sub, but that was over three months ago back in October.

He did come off the bench last two games before their enforced covid break, but didn't score in either.

So if the game at Swansea goes ahead on Saturday will this be a reunion with his old team mates for Obafemi and will he be able to show just what he can do and cause an FA Cup upset.

He was a popular guy in the St Mary's dressing room and Nathan Tella had this to say about him.

"We spoke a bit about it in the changing room. We just said it is the 'Michael Obafemi derby"

"We are all looking forward to seeing him again, but at the end of the day, it is not a friendly, it is a competition and we want to win, so we have got to put all friendships aside and hopefully get the win."

"I have spoken to him quite a bit. He is enjoying it there as well, and that's the main thing. I hope he continues to play and I wish him the best of luck.

"Not against us though. I hope they lose then, but I still want him to do the best he can and be the best player he can."

Certainly Saints supporters will wish him the best of luck in his future career, but only after Saturday, he has the attributes to make it back to the Premier League, a turn of pace and an eye for goal, but if I'm honest he lacked that little bit of guile to truly be a 38 game a season man and was at his best off the bench.

Hopefully he won't come back to bite us on Saturday, although it looks like that he will start on the bench at best for the Swans.

But perhaps Swansea manager Russell martin will sense a cup upset on the cards and feel that Obafemi will have something to prove against his old club and give him only his second start for his new club in the hope that he might just turn on something special, something that we all hoped that he might do on a more regular basis at St Mary's not so long ago.

Photo: Action Images

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underweststand added 12:34 - Jan 6
Playing former players against their old sides can be a recipe for disaster - or a revelation.
Russell Martin has encountered some of the negative aspects of Obafemi's manner and not managed to coach them out of him - yet.
This might be a chance for everyone to be proven wrong, or a last-ditch attempt for MO to redeem himself. If he doesn't even get game time in Championship games, it could be foolish to pitch him into a Cup game with the possibility of them progressing further in
the competition.
I don't see him being in the starting line-up , but he might get some sub. time - especially if the Swans have played well and are looking for a game-changer to win the tie.

TimSaint added 12:39 - Jan 6
I guess it also depends on whether the game will go ahead or not, as up until very recently, the Swans were riddled with Covid and struggled to get even a dozen players out for training.

The game in Newport was the last time I saw MO. My daughter and I had just parked up and were walking to the ground, when we saw 2 big coaches parked up on a busy road, so went to take a look. It was the Saints Team Coaches and the squad were getting off and walking down to the ground. MO was one of them, looking so young in his Saints travel kit, it took us a moment to realise it was him !!

Broja took his chance that day with a brace and hasn't looked back.

I don't somehow think that Oba would have been as successful as Broja this season, had he be given the same amount of game time.

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