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Sports News of Saturday, 22 February 2020


African players to watch this weekend

Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Teye Partey Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Teye Partey

Serge Aurier

An injury-hit Tottenham Hotspur travel to Chelsea on Saturday knowing full well a win will take them above their London rivals.

Aurier is likely to continue at right-back for Jose Mourinho’s charges at Stamford Bridge as they attempt to end a recent poor run against the Blues (they’ve lost three on the spin in all competitions against the West London club).

Frank Lampard’s side, winless in four, haven’t kept a clean sheet in five games and with Spurs also failing to keep things tight at the back in their last three games, goals may be guaranteed in the lunchtime kick-off at Stamford Bridge.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe

There are a plethora of African stars featuring in Arsenal’s encounter with Everton on Sunday, with Aubameyang and Pepe headlining the continent’s contingent at the Emirates Stadium.

Both players scored in the Gunners’ 4-0 success over Newcastle United last time out and are expected to feature from the off against Carlo Ancelotti’s troops.

Bukayo Saka, who’s risen to prominence this year, hitting a series of assists in recent games, ought to continue at left-back for Mikel Arteta’s men.

Former Arsenal star, Alex Iwobi could also feature in some capacity against his old side as the Toffees seek to maintain their five-game unbeaten run.

Arteta’s side haven’t been defeated in nine, and come into the penultimate game of the gameweek as favourites.

Wilfried Zaha and Andre Ayew

Crystal Palace are winless in 11 games in all competitions and are slowly sliding down the Premier League table, with only six points separating them from West Ham United in 18th.

They play host to Newcastle United seeking their first win at Selhurst Park since Boxing Day (a 2-1 win over the Hammers).

Zaha, Ayew and Jeffrey Schlupp are likely to feature for Roy Hodgson’s team as they strive to end a wretched run of form in front of their fans.

Moussa Djenepo vs Mbwana Samatta

Southampton host Aston Villa in what could be tagged a relegation six-pointer, given both teams’ place in the table; the Saints may be in 12th spot while the Villans are 17th, but only six points separate the pair and a win for Dean Smith’s men inflicts a third loss on the spin for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s troops.

Mali international Djenepo could make his 17th league appearance for the Saints, while Samatta will back himself to score his second Villa goal against the side with the worst home record in the top flight.

Egyptian duo Trezeguet and Ahmed Elmohamady could also play a part in the encounter at St Mary’s Stadium.

Thomas Partey

Atletico Madrid have been poor in La Liga lately but they picked up a huge 1-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday night, and will hope to carry that momentum into Sunday night’s top four clash with Villarreal.

Partey ought to feature for Diego Simeone’s side in their battle with the Yellow Submarine’s who have won three of their last four games.

Samuel Chukwueze and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa should play for the away side who could overtake the Madrid outfit with a win at Wanda Metropolitano.

Achraf Hakimi

Dortmund won the first-leg of their Champions League encounter against Paris Saint-Germain, their third win in five games in all competitions, and will seek another win at struggling Werder Bremen.

Hakimi is expected to continue at right wing-back against the second-bottom side on a four-game losing run in the Bundesliga.

Dortmund, by contrast, are only four points off Bayern Munich at the top of the table, and will fancy their chances at Weser-Stadion.

Games involving both sides lately have been high-scoring affairs...and Saturday shouldn’t be any different.

Musa Barrow

The in-form Bologna forward played well in last week’s 3-0 defeat by Genoa, and will hope his efforts are rewarded when his side face off with Udinese.

He’ll come up against Nigeria’s William Troost-Ekong knowing the Udine-based club are winless in their last five games and have one of the worst away records in Serie A (two wins, two draws and eight defeats).

Will Barrow continue his recent fine form for Bologna or will Troost-Ekong and his teammates inflict consecutive home defeats on the Red and Blues?

Idrissa Gueye

The midfielder wasn’t at his best in Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-1 defeat by Borussia Dortmund in midweek but should retain his place in the side against Bordeaux on Sunday.

PSG have won four of their last five games at Parc des Princes, and are huge favourites against the away side in mid-table.

However, it’s noteworthy that the Girondins have the third-best away record in Ligue 1 and are unbeaten in their last three on the road, so this weekend’s clash may not be as straightforward as predicted.

Islam Slimani vs Bruno Ecuele Manga

The Algeria forward netted the only goal in Monaco’s 1-0 win over Montpellier last time out and he should feature as the fifth-placed Red and Whites play relegation-threatened Dijon.

He will come up against Ecuele Manga, who’s featured in every minute of the Reds’ league campaign this term.

Having won three on the bounce, Monaco will back themselves to win a fourth game in succession, but they’ll have to be wary as Dijon tend to do well at Stade Gaston-Gerard – they have the 10th-best home record in the league and are unbeaten in the last five in front of their fans.

Gael Kakuta, Fousseni Diabate, Nicholas Opoku and Aurelien Chedjou

Several African stars turn out for Amiens and they ought to play a part in the relegation-threatened side’s fixture at Strasbourg.

Kakuta and Diabate netted in last week’s 4-4 draw with Paris Saint-Germain and should retain their spots in the side on Saturday night.

Centre-backs Opoku and Chedjou should preserve their spots at the heart of the defence as well, while Bongani Zungu ought to feature in midfield for his 19th league appearance of the season.

Isaac Mbenza, Chadrac Akolo and Moussa Konate could also play a part in the 19th-placed side’s encounter at a Strasbourg side unbeaten in three games.

The Unicorns, on the other hand, are winless in 10 games in all competitions and look to be heading down to Ligue 2 if their poor form persists.