Nigeria Forward, Jerome Akor has been included in Ligue 1 Team of the Week, DAILY POST reports.
The 23-year-old grabbed a brace in Montpellier’s 3-0 drubbing of Toulouse on Sunday.
Akor scored La Paillade’s first and second goals of the game.
The Striker has netted seven times in nine league outings for the former Ligue 1 champions this season.
Akor is joined in attack by Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.
Only Mbappe has scored more goals (nine) than him in the French top-flight this season.
Meanwhile, The 23 year-old scored his first goal in the 13th minute, providing Montpellier with an early lead.
In the 63rd minute, Montpellier extended their advantage thanks to a strike by Khalil Fayad.
Akor completed his brace and the team’s third goal, 18 minutes before the final whistle.
The former Flying Eagles striker, has now accumulated seven goals in nine league matches for Michel Dar Zakarian’s side.
In Ligue 1, only Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe has scored more goals (eight) than the Nigerian this season.
Also, From Victor Boniface to Gift Emmanuel Orban, we’ve seen quite a few Nigerian forwards polish their skills in Norway before earning a move to a big club, and the latest player to do so is Akor Jerome Adams.
Born in Benue State, Nigeria, Adams developed at the Jamba Football Academy before making the move to Norwegian side Sogndal in August 2018, netting 10 goals in 28 games before making the move to Lillestrom in December 2021, where he would emerge as one of the best strikers in the league with 27 goals in 47 appearances.
This prompted Montpellier — who were on the verge of losing top scorer Sepe Elye Wahi — to sign him in August on a four-year deal, paying just €4.5 million.
It looks to be money well spent — Adams scored twice in the span of three minutes to give Montpellier a 2-1 lead at the hour-mark, only for Samuel Grandsir’s 90th-minute equalizer to snatch a point for Le Havre in their return to Ligue 1.
The following match, he scored the fourth and final goal to secure a 4-1 win at Lyon, starting up top in the next four games as Montpellier lost to Reims and Lille before coughing up an early two-goal lead and drawing 2-2 in Strasbourg and 0-0 at home against Rennes.
Whilst he has a tall task ahead of him as he looks to beat out the likes of Boniface, Victor Osimhen, Taiwo Awoniyi and Ademola Lookman and secure a maiden Super Eagles call-up, Adams’ availability — he missed just two months last year with a shoulder injury — and goal-scoring ability could go a long way towards ensuring that Montpellier — who have not played in Ligue 2 since 2008/09 — enjoy yet another comfortable mid-table finish this season.
Adams is very adept at pressing, and instead of making those very common angled runs to cover a passing lane, he tries to switch it up, varying his pressing approach(running in a straight line or bending his run) at every opportunity. He makes similar angled runs to block off passing lanes and rush opposition players, but more interestingly, he also switches up his pressing method depending on where he’s charging at the opposition player on the ball from or how unsettled he feels the player is.
Instead of always making that angled run that the opposition might have prepared for, he sometimes switches it by making a straight run, changing to an angled run before quickly switching back to a straight run (all in a single press) which usually confuses the player he is pressing, forcing a quicker decision out of the player. He has various ways of mixing up his pressing pattern of which, the illustration below is just one example.
Adams has a very good tactical understanding of his team’s defensive structure and pressing triggers. Montpellier set up out of possession in a 4–4–2/4–2–4, depending on which player holds the ball, and Adams knows perfectly well when to hold off from pressing to draw the opposition player in and when to also start pressing once the press has been triggered. His first job out of possession when in his own half is to block any possible pass into the opposition midfielders before jumping on the player with the ball when he feels he’s close enough. He’s also really good at staying on his man to cover passing lanes into them.
This is one place he can improve in though as he can sometimes be far away from the rest of his teammates when out of possession, not following them when they’ve retreated into their own half.
Adams usually elects to strike the ball hard and low into the bottom corner mostly with his right in-step. Whenever Adams is able to get on the end of crosses or through balls in the box, he tends to go for one-touch finishes, be it with his head or his feet and he hits the ball with real accuracy too.
Adams is very tall (1.90m) and makes sure to make full use of his height by always contesting and winning his aerial duels, to either help his team regain possession, serve as an out ball to relieve pressure when his team are trying to bypass a press or to bring others into play. He has a very impressive success rate for Aerial duels in the just concluded season, winning 53.66% of his aerial duels in the recently completed league season compared to Erling Haaland’s 50%, and Michail Antonio’s 36.23%. For the times he’s not able to win his aerial duel, he still manages to throw his body about making himself a nuisance for the opposition.
At Lillestrom, Adams played in a front 2 of a 3–5–2 formation and was usually given a license to drift across the front line. He shows positional intelligence and very good understanding with his strike partner to always interchange positions (right to left or left to right) when they are both central. This action confuses defenders that man-mark them since they will have problems knowing who is meant to follow whom. When outside the box, he varies his movements running from left to right, right to left, coming short, or running off the last defender.
Awareness Of Attacking Space
Adams has a very good mastery of when to attack space or drop into space to get on the end of a pass. He is usually able to sense when his teammate is about to get on the ball to give him a pass and immediately attacks the space available, giving him a better chance at getting on the ball. Likewise, he’s also able to pick the right moments to drop deep to get on the ball and bring others into play.
Physical Strength To Receive The Ball
Together with his height, Adams also has a great amount of strength and tenacity to help him hold off opposition defenders. He has an incredible ability to get himself between the ball and opposition, using his bum and hands as support for gauging where the defender is as well as helping him bounce off defenders. This strength makes it easy for him to receive the ball, bring others into play, get on the end of crosses, and win the ball back for his team.
Adams is very good at carrying the ball vertically at a very high speed. Adams is able to run in straight lines with the ball at his feet whilst also holding off opposition defenders at high speed.
Strong In The Box
Adams, as a result of his strength, is able to show a remarkable ability to bully defenders in the box which enables him to get on the end of crosses.
Adams at only 23 shows very good leadership skills. He is always encouraging his teammates or directing them on who to mark, which spaces to cover, and always manages to engage them.
Due to the positions Adams takes up in the box, he is usually not able to get on the end of crosses in open play. When in the box, he likes to run toward the center of the post which is usually the tightest part of the goal, so it’s understandable for the ball to not get to the center of the goal(clearance from a defender or his teammates aim crosses to the back post or front post which is usually the easier pick-out).
A positive from this is that he is usually still on the move after first contact is made with the ball in the box by his teammate or opposition (which can be a knock-down, clearance, scuffed shot, and so on) so he can still get on the ball if eventually, anything breaks. When he does decide to run to the back or near post he’s usually able to bag a goal or shot.