Salah, Drogba & Africa's greatest-ever single season Premier League goalscorers

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After Liverpool's Egypt star hit the 30-goal mark, Goal takes a look at the exploits of other African players in the English top flight

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah became the first African player to score 30 goals in a single Premier League season with his goal against Bournemouth.

Salah has enjoyed an unforgettable debut season at Anfield and his effort against the Cherries saw him surpass Didier Drogba's previous landmark of 29 goals in a Premier League campaign.

The Egyptian and former Ivory Coast international are not the only African footballers to have breached the 20-goal mark in the Premier League, however.

Here, Goal takes a look at the other players in that group and the other Africans who have made a goalscoring impact.

  1. Laurence Griffiths

    #1 Mohamed Salah | 30 and counting | 2017-18

    Salah’s debut season at Liverpool has been nothing short of sensational, so far he has hit 40 goals in all competitions, with 30 of those in the league.

    Currently the record for goals in a 38-game season is 31 - a total shared by Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez. Salah will definitely have his eye on this record and he needs two goals in four games to break it.

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    #2 Didier Drogba | 29 goals | 2009-10

    Didier Drogba scored 29 goals in the 2009/10 season in the league as Chelsea stormed to the title.

    Drogba's exploits that season were made even more extraordinary when you consider he missed almost all of January due to being on African Cup of Nations duty. He clinched the Golden Boot on the final day of the season with a hat-trick against Wigan Athletic.

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    #3 Emmanuel Adebayor | 24 goals | 2007-08

    Emmanuel Adebayor was a fantastic striker at Arsenal, scoring 24 goals in the 07-08 season as the Gunners finished third, only four points off champions Manchester United.

    Six of Adebayor’s goals came against Derby County as he became the first striker to score hat-tricks against the same team twice in one season - a feat that has yet to be repeated in the Premier League.

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    #4 Yaya Toure | 20 goals | 2013-14

    Yaya Toure scoring 20 goals from midfield is one of the best individual performances in a Premier League season.

    Man City won the league that year after Liverpool’s late-season collapse, with four free-kicks and six penalties helped the Ivorian on his way to 20 goals.

    A fantastic game against Newcastle late in the season when Toure scored a brace whilst playing as a striker for the last half-an-hour lives long in the memory.

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    #5 Didier Drogba | 20 goals | 2006-07

    The first time Drogba hit 20 goals in a Premier League season was also the first time he had failed to win the league title with the Blues.

    Though Drogba won the Golden Boot with his tally, Chelsea could only manage second place after finishing six points behind Manchester United.

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    #6 Benni McCarthy | 18 goals | 2006-07

    The runner-up to Didier Drogba in the Golden Boot race in the 2007-08 season was not Cristiano Ronaldo but Benni McCarthy on 18 goals.

    The South African was a revelation in his first Premier League campaign after firing Blackburn Rovers to a 10th-place finish.

    The highlight of McCarthy’s season was the only goal in a 1-0 win against Liverpool at Ewood Park.

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    #7 Riyad Mahrez | 17 goals | 2015-16

    The only African to win the PFA Player of the Year award, Mahrez, alongside Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante, was instrumental in Leicester City’s shock title win.

    Mahrez scored 17 goals for the Foxes in the Premier League that season, including a hat-trick against Swansea City.

     

    His incredible form also earned him a Ballon D’or nomination where he finished seventh in the voting ahead of the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba.

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    #8 Yakubu | 17 goals | 2011-12

    “Feed the Yak and he will score!" Blackburn Rovers fans had found a new hero five years after Benni McCarthy had scored 18 Premier League goals.

    On Yakubu’s debut he was named man of the match as Blackburn beat Arsenal 4-3. Yakubu also scored a brace against Manchester United in a game that Blackburn won 3-2 on New Years’ Eve 2011.

    Unfortunately, Yakubu’s goals couldn’t save Blackburn from being relegated from the Premier League and Rovers have yet to return to the top flight.

  9. #9 Emmanuel Adebayor | 17 goals | 2011-12

    Emmanuel Adebayor’s first season for Tottenham was his most prolific as he scored 17 goals in the league.

    Spurs famously finished that season in fourth place but missed out on Champions League football after sixth-placed Chelsea took their spot by beating Bayern Munich to win the competition.

    In the following season, Adebayor made his move to White Hart Lane permanent and his form drastically dipped, hitting only five goals in 25 league appearances.

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    #10 Demba Ba | 16 goals | 2011-12

    The 2011-12 season was prolific for African strikers with Demba Ba scoring 16 to add to Adebayor and Yakubu’s 17-goal hauls.

    Newcastle United surpassed all expectations by finishing fifth, only four points outside of the top four, with Ba exceptional in the first half of the season, netting 15 league goals by January when he departed for the African Cup of Nations.

    When Ba returned from the tournament, his goals dried up, scoring only one for the rest of the campaign. Luckily his fellow Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse picked up where Ba left off after he signed for the Magpies in January.

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    #11 Yakubu | 16 goals | 2003-04

    Yakubu’s first season in the Premier League with Portsmouth was one of his best as he scored 16 goals.

    He opened his account with a goal against Manchester City on the opening day and, after the Nigerian went eight league matches without a goal, he netted again in a 6-1 win over Leeds United.

    Yakubu finished the season strongly, hitting 11 goals in the final 10 games of the season to help guide Portsmouth to a respectable 13th-place finish.

  12. Michael Steele

    #12 Wilfried Bony |16 goals | 2013-14

    Wilfried Bony signed for Swansea for £12 million from Vitesse in the summer of 2013 and scored 25 goals in all competitions in his debut season.

    With Michu’s form falling off, scoring only twice in 17 league games that season, Swansea were in desperate need for a new goalscorer and Bony delivered.

    Bony set the league alight with his strength, causing problems for defenders up and down the country. A move to Man City didn’t pan out as he would have wanted and Bony is back at Swansea now hoping to recapture his form.

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    #13 Demba Ba | 15 goals |2012-13

    Demba Ba followed up his phenomenal 2011/12 season with an equally impressive showing the following year.

    In similar fashion to the previous campaign, Ba scored the majority of his goals before January, hitting 13 in the league before the new year.

    Chelsea then activated his £7 million release clause and his form dropped off again, only scoring two goals for the remainder of the season.

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    #14 Benjani | 15 goals | 2007-08

    Benjani scored 15 goals in the 07-08 starting the season at Portsmouth when he hit 12 in 23 games, including a hat-trick in a 7-4 win over Reading which remains the Premier League’s highest-scoring game of all time.

    The Zimbabwean moved to Manchester City in January 2008 for a reported fee of £4 million and he became an instant hero for the blue half of Manchester by scoring the winner in a Manchester derby on his debut.

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    #15 Odion Ighalo | 15 goals | 2015-16

    Odion Ighalo was a one-season wonder in the Premier League, scoring 15 goals in his first season in the top flight with Watford.

    Ighalo became Watford’s highest Premier League goalscorer in just 11 games after netting seven times during that period. His partnership with Troy Deeney was deadly that season as Watford finished 13th.

    The following season, Ighalo scored just once in 18 appearances before moving to China in January 2017 on a reported £190,000-a-week deal.

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    #16 Peter Odemwingie | 15 goals | 2010-11

    Whenever Peter Odemwingie’s name is mentioned nowadays all anyone can envisage is the Nigerian in the Loftus Road car park desperately trying to force a move to QPR on deadline day.

    In actuality, Odemwingie was a solid Premier League striker during his time at West Brom, hitting 15 goals in his debut season, scoring important goals in his first two games in wins against Sunderland and Arsenal.

    During his debut season he won two Premier League Player of the Month awards and was linked with a move to Juventus the following summer.

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    #17 Yakubu | 15 goals | 2007-08

    From Portsmouth, Yakubu moved to Middlesbrough in 2005 and he then signed for Everton two years later for a club record £11.25 million.

    In his first season on Merseyside, Yakubu scored 15 goals, earning him his third entry on this list.

    Yakubu scored within 11 minutes of pulling on an Everton shirt in a 2-1 win against Bolton Wanderers. He banged in a hat-trick against Fulham in December before he jetted off to the African Cup of Nations.

    He was late returning from the tournament which led to him being dropped by manager David Moyes. He finished the season on 21 goals in all competitions to become the first Everton player since Peter Beardsley to hit 20 in a single campaign.

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    #18 Emmanuel Adebayor | 14 goals | 2009-10

    Emmanuel Adebayor’s time at Manchester City was awash with controversy. The Togo international signed from Arsenal for £25 million and was an instant hit.

    Adebayor scored in his first four games as City’s newly-assembled team of superstars reached the summit of the table early in the season.

    The fourth game in that run was against former club Arsenal when Adebayor famously ran the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans.

    Adebayor’s form understandably tailed off after a terrorist attack on the Togo team bus at the 2010 African Cup of Nations and he finished the campaign on 14 goals.

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    #19 Yakubu | 13 goals | 2005-06

    Yakubu scored 13 goals for Middlesbrough in the league, guiding them to safety and a 14th-place finish as well as a UEFA Cup final during a run which saw him score the only goal in a 1-0 win against Roma in the last 16.

    Yakubu scored important goals for Boro in close wins against Aston Villa and Fulham, as well as securing a 1-1 draw against his former club Portsmouth.

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    #20 Papiss Cisse | 13 goals | 2011-12

    The African player with the best minutes-per-goal ratio in a season on this list, Papiss Cisse found the net on average every 85 minutes after signing for Newcastle in January 2012.

    When Demba Ba stopped scoring, Cisse started and guided Newcastle to a fifth-place finish.

    Cisse scored what many consider one of the best Premier League goals of all time against Chelsea where his out-swinging volley looped over Petr Cech and found the back of the net.
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    #21 Sadio Mane |13 goals | 2015-16

    Sadio Mane joined Liverpool for £34 million to become the latest in a long list of players to have moved to Anfield from Southampton.

    Of all Liverpool’s signings from the Saints, Mane has so far been the best. He scored 13 goals in his debut season even when missing the latter part of the campaign with injury

    Mane’s Liverpool finished in fourth place with the Senegalese winger earning himself a place in the PFA Team of the Season.