Preview of Africans in Europe
Liverpool and Manchester City continue their tussle for the Premier League title, and the trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez could have a say in their respective side’s results this weekend.
In Italy, Kalidou Koulibaly and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa face a daunting trip to Atalanta looking to stay in touch with table-topping AC Milan in Serie A.
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Chelsea play host to Brentford on Saturday afternoon looking to win a sixth Premier League game in succession to keep the sides behind them at bay in the race for a top-four spot.
Mendy is likely to continue in goal for Thomas Tuchel’s team and he could claim his 12th clean sheet of the league season.
It remains to be seen if Hakim Ziyech features but the Moroccan is in with a shout to start against the Bees at Stamford Bridge having had ample rest during the international break.
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Despite suffering heartbreak with Algeria on Tuesday, Mahrez will want to turn attention to Manchester City’s title tussle with a potentially daunting trip to Burnley this weekend.
The wide attacker has been in fine form for the Citizens and is their top goal contributor this term (14 goals plus assists) and Pep Guardiola knows he can count on the 31-year-old.
Having dropped points in two of their last five games, City will be aware they cannot afford many slip-ups, especially with Liverpool in relentless form.
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Salah & Mane
Regardless of Egypt’s failure to make the 2022 World Cup on Tuesday, Jurgen Klopp will rely on Mohamed Salah when Watford visit Anfield on Saturday lunchtime.
Salah’s absence from Qatar is an upshot of this week’s defeat on penalties by Sadio Mane’s Senegal, and the Lion of Teranga superstar will be buoyed by their success.
Both frontmen have scored 32 Premier League goals combined, and you expect either or the pair to flourish against the relegation-threatened Hornets.
With Liverpool set to kick off the weekend’s action, Klopp’s team could be top of the league before City play Burnley, an opportunity they will welcome.
It remains to be seen if Zambo Anguissa will be fit enough to play having missed Cameroon’s double-header with Algeria over the hiatus, but Koulibaly is expected to start when Napoli travel to Atalanta on Sunday.
The Naples outfit are only three points back of leaders AC Milan and could move level if they win in Bergamo and the Rossoneri lose against Bologna.
Luciano Spalletti’s men are one of the form teams in 2022, claiming 24 points in the New Year (only Juventus’ 25 points outdoes the Azzurri), so they will fancy themselves against the Bergamaschi who could have an eye on next Thursday’s Europa League clash with RB Leipzig.
Kessie & Bennacer
The other Africans involved in the Scudetto race — Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer — face off with mid-table Bologna looking to keep Napoli at bay in the Serie A race.
The Milan outfit could claim a fourth straight victory in the league to retain their spot in Italy’s top flight.
With the visitors for Emilia-Romagna winless in their last four games, Stefano Pioli’s team ought to fancy themselves against Musa Barrow and his teammates.
African All StarsFeatures & OpinionsMohamed SalahS. ManéE. MendyF. KessiéI. BennacerLiverpool vs WatfordLiverpoolWatfordPremier LeagueBurnley vs Manchester CityBurnleyManchester CityChelsea vs BrentfordChelseaBrentfordAtalanta vs NapoliAtalantaNapoliSerie AMilan vs BolognaMilanBologna