As the battle for points in the EPL continues, African players are playing a major part to their teams.
Over the weekend, the Ivorian Eric Bailly was seen back in the starting line up for his club Manchester United and was brilliant in central defence with his partner Victor Lindelof, in a game his side won against Leicester City on Sunday. Bailly kept Jamie Vardy and Maddisson in check at the King Power Stadium.
The Nigerian Wilfred Ndidi who plays for Leicester City started the match against Manchester United and had a good game on the day, making runs on the left flank and delivering good balls in the box, but with no one to finish for The Foxes. His country men, Kelechi Ihenacho came from the bench but failed to sparkle on the pitch.
In a match between Manchester City and Arsenal , two African stars, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang the Gabonese international and Alexi iwobi the Nigerian, were in the starting line up for The Gunners while the Egyptian Mohamed Elneny and the Algerian Riyad Mahrez were on the bench for Arsenal and Manchester City respectively.
Iwobi had a bad day in office on the day as he had an awful start to the game when he gifted City’s Laporte to score Manchester City’s opener on the night and the Gabonese Aubemayang disappeared at Ethihad as he did not tick having been tightly marked by Fernandinho. Mahrez was a used substitute for Manchester City as he was thrown in the game in the last 10 minutes of the game and helped city with the attacking momentum.
Liverpool had worrying times again in their match against West Ham United as they dropped points again raising questions over their availability to sustain their title push. All African players in the Reds camp started the match with the Senegalese Naby Keita in midfield and the Egyptian Mohammad Sarah and the Senegalese Sadio Mane forming a pair of Liverpool’s front three.
Mane continued to shine for Africa as he was on the score sheet for Liverpool in the 22nd minute but that was not enough to earn The Reds all the three points as the goal was cancelled in the 28th minute by West Ham’s Michail Antonio. Sarah also had a good game, with him making threatening runs on the right but lucky was not on his side to score while the Senegalese Keita showed glimpses in midfield as he was easily brushed by West Ham’s Antonio.
Crystal Palace, another EPL side with Africans, had no Wilfred Zaha, the Ivorian, available as he was serving suspension after he was red carded in Palace’s game against the previous week while Ghanaian Jordan Ayew and Mali’s Koyate helped their team bag all the three points against Fulham FC.
The Kenyan international Victory Wanyama and the Ivorian Sergio Aurier were not in the travelling squad for their team Tottenham Hotspur as it faced Newcastle United, a side which has Ghanaian Christian Atsu, who played the whole 90 minutes of the game and had a quiet game as he lacked support from him team mate on Newcastle right flank when going forward.
If we’ve missed any of the African greats in this report, let us know and we’ll include them next week.
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My name is Blessings Mpando from Lilongwe district born in December 1994. I am a Christian and a member of CCAP. I grew up in Lilongwe and completed my secondary education in 2010 before going on to complete my diploma in journalism at the Polytechnic Continuing Centre.