Ed Dove reveals his top ten African players in the top flight ahead of the resumption of the Premier.
Currently enjoying his best season in English football, the Ghana international has netted eight times in 28 league games so far this term.
It’s more than he’s netted in any season since he was at FC Lorient, and he’s proving to be a major steal for Crystal Palace after arriving from Swansea City for a bargain fee in the summer.
The forward didn’t quite light up Selhurst Park on loan last term, but his wondergoal against West Ham United in December was perhaps the Eagles’ finest moment of the season.
Just ahead of his Palace teammate is Zaha, who had begun to show signs of his previous quality this year after a slow start to the season.
The Ivory Coast international acknowledged that his head wasn’t quite where it should have been at the start of the season after his mooted move to Arsenal didn’t come off, but the wideman has still had a hand in six goals so far this term.
Capable of terrorising the best defences on his day, can he attract Europe’s biggest clubs again during these final months of the campaign?
Admittedly, Aurier hasn’t quite revealed his true qualities in English football since making the move from French football at Paris Saint-Germain.
Nonetheless, there have been moments of excellence under Jose Mourinho, notably in the immediate aftermath of the Portuguese coach’s arrival when the full-back was outstanding against West Ham and Olympiakos.
Similarly, he enjoyed a purple patch in January, with a series of eye-catching displays along Spurs’ right flank.
If he can maintain a level of consistency between now and the season’s end, perhaps Aurier can help Tottenham overhaul their rivals in the race for the UCL.
Admittedly, things haven’t entirely gone to plan for Pepe at Arsenal this season following his arrival from LOSC Lille in the summer.
However, it hasn’t been the disastrous campaign that many have portrayed it as, particularly considering he’s still made 10 direct goal contributions in a season of transition and—at times—turmoil at the Emirates Stadium.
Of course, that £72 million price tag weighs heavy, but 22 goals and 11 assists in Ligue 1 last te
The only player on this list not to have represented an African nation at senior level, Traore is eligible for Spain but reportedly declared his wish to turn out for Mali earlier in the campaign.
At Wolves, he’s finally making the most of the promise of his youth—the speed, the agility, the outrageous dribbling skills—and there are few players in the top flight who defenders have more trouble in dealing with when in full flight.
At times, he’s reminiscent of a modern-day Roberto Carlos with his rampaging runs and thick thighs, and no one has averaged more completed dribbles in the top flight so far this term.
Is it too soon to name Ndidi among the world’s best defensive midfielders?
I don’t think so, and his performances in the Premier League so far this term have demonstrated that he definitely belongs in this conversation.
He’s underpinned Leicester City’s climb to the Champions League qualification places—averaging the second-most tackles and second most interceptions of all the players in the top flight—and continues to develop other areas of his game.
Will this be the year when Ndidi secures a move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs?
He may not offer too much in the build-up play, but Aubameyang’s 17 goals so far this term is testament to his consistency as a goalscorer at the highest level.
Only Jamie Vardy stands ahead of the Gabon frontman in the goalscoring charts, and the Central African could yet retain the top scorer gong he shared last season.
He’s unlikely to win major silverware at Arsenal anytime soon, but is he entering his final months of his time with the Gunners?
While Manchester City aren’t going to overhaul Liverpool, Mahrez was still particularly unfortunate that the Prem was halted when it was—such was his domestic form.
It has appeared—at times at least—this season, that the Algeria international—and Afcon winner—has earned the full faith of Pep Guardiola, and has enjoyed more gametime in the top flight.
He’s weighed in with big performances too, scoring seven and contributing eight assists so far this term.
Unsurprisingly, one of two Liverpool players to make the top two, Salah is enjoying another season of consistent excellence.
He’s scored 16 with six assists so far this campaign, bouncing back well from the disappointment of Egypt’s African Cup of Nations ‘run’.
It’s to Salah’s credit that he’s being accused of ‘underperformance’ this term, such are the high standards he set for himself over his previous two campaigns in England.
Arguably, no other Liverpool player has made as significant an impact on Liverpool’s (near) title-winning campaign this season as Mane, who has consistently proved over the last few seasons that he’s a player who steps up to take responsibility in the biggest matches.
He gets the better out of those players around him, and with 14 goals and seven assists so far this term is among the division’s most prolific players.