ROUND-UP: Africans in the EPL – Week 5
A good week for the African contingent in the EPL with Nigerian starlet Kelechi Ihenacho grabbing the headlines as his late winner lifted City to the summit.
Match day five began at Merseyside with Everton taking on champions Chelsea. There was a first EPL start of the season for Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel for Chelsea while Ivory Coast forward Arouna Kone continued to start up front for Everton. Mikel grabbed an assist in a rather poor display from the champions before being subbed off early in the second half. Kone played for seventy-one minutes as Everton came out 3-1 winners thanks to a Steven Naismith hat-trick.
Senegal striker Mame Biram Diouf played 72 minutes in an away loss at Arsenal. Cameroon defender Sebastian Bassong completed the whole 90 minutes for Norwich City helping them bag three points at home against Bournemouth. Ivory Coast winger Max Gradel was absent for Bournemouth following a knee injury in last week’s draw against Leicester City and is thus out for six months.
Ivory Coast striker Wilfred Bony started up front for Manchester City and Yaya Toure was in his ever present midfield position at Selhurst Park. It was a mixed afternoon for both who seemed a bit off pace. The standout player on the day though was young Nigerian striker Kelechi Ihenacho who scored the winner in the last minute after coming off the bench for Bony to secure the three points for Manchester City.
The African contingent for Crystal Palace which included DR Congo midfielder Yannick Bolasie, Mali forward Bakary Sako and Senegal defender Pape Souare though on the losing side, gave a good account for themselves; DR Congo midfielder Yannick Bolasie was the standout player for Crystal Palace.
It was turning out to be a good day for Nigerian strikers as Odion Ighalo of Watford sealed the three points for Watford against an in-form Swansea City. Cameroon defender Allan Nyom was a full timer. Last week’s AFS Player of the Week, Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew failed to make an impact this week as a resolute Watford defense held on to take maximum points.
Senegal midfielder Sadio Mane and Kenya midfielder Victor Wanyama both featured for Southampton against West Bromwich Albion, the latter lasted the full duration. Nigeria striker Victor Anichebe did not feature in the Baggies squad.
Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, was looking to build on his great start to the season and he did not disappoint. It was a thrilling game which saw Leicester City come from two goals down in the last ten minutes to win the game 3-2 against Aston Villa, Mahrez was pivotal in dragging Leicester back from the brink grabbing two assists. The Algerian has been a joy to watch this season.
Nigeria midfielder Victor Moses had an immediate impact for West Ham after his loan move from Chelsea grabbing an assist for Dimitri Payet’s second goal.DR Congo defender Chancel Mbemba ended up on the losing side, sadly it was his mistake that led to West Ham’s opener.