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Sports News of Friday, 3 July 2020


Thomas Partey and other African players to watch this weekend

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Having netted a brace in Arsenal’s 4-0 success over Norwich City, Aubameyang’s Premier League record now reads 51 goals in 79 games.

The Gabon star is the sixth-fastest to reach to hit that tally in Prem history, the second African behind Mohamed Salah (72 games) and indeed the quickest Gunners’ player to achieve the feat, ahead of club legends like Thierry Henry and Ian Wright.

After a disappointing restart, Mikel Arteta’s side have won two league games on the spin (three in all competitions) but face a daunting trip to in-form Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s troops are top of the form table – claiming 13 points from their last five games – and would back themselves to extend their unbeaten run at Molineux to five games.

Salah, Mane & Keita vs Elmohamady, Trezeguet, Nakamba & Samatta

Sunday evening’s encounter between Liverpool and Aston Villa could see as many as seven of the continent’s stars take to the field at Anfield.

The newly-crowned Premier League champions could start with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita while Dean Smith could use Egypt pair Ahmed Elmohamady and Trezeguet, Marvelous Nakamba and Mbwana Samatta in some capacity in a daunting trip against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Given the German’s team are chasing Manchester City’s record of a century of points, the world champions aren’t expected to let up against the relegation-threatened side.

One African who won’t be featuring is Joel Matip, whose foot injury sustained in the Merseyside derby last month means he’ll miss the rest of the season.

Thomas Partey

Atletico Madrid, more or less, have their Champions League spot sewn up with four wins and two draws since La Liga’s resumption lifting them to third in the table on 59 points.

Partey featured in their 2-2 draw at Barcelona in midweek, a result that damaged the home side’s hopes of claiming a third title on the trot.

The Ghanaian should feature against a Real Mallorca outfit battling relegation but buoyed by an incredible 5-1 win over Celta Vigo on Tuesday, which puts the 18th-placed side five points behind Celta.

Atletico are resounding favourites for a fifth victory since the restart but have to guide against complacency against a side that returned to winning ways after five unsuccessful attempts.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

Villarreal, like Atleti, have been near perfect since the campaign resumed and a 2-0 success over Real Betis was their fifth success in six matches.

Zambo Anguissa featured for an hour against Betis and ought to play in some capacity as the Yellow Submarine look to continue Barca’s recent woes.

Quique Setien’s team has played out to stalemates in three of their last four games, thus losing ground on Real Madrid in the title race.

With Barca seemingly tiring and looking out of ideas, Anguissa and Samuel Chukwueze, who was outstanding in his cameo in midweek, will back themselves at El Madrigal to inflict further damage on the Blaugrana.

Kalidou Koulibaly

Arguably this weekend’s biggest game in Italy, Napoli play host to Roma on Sunday night, with both sides vying for fifth spot and automatic Europa League qualification.

Koulibaly and co. are in sixth spot and only three points behind the team from Rome, who lost disappointingly at home to Genoa on Thursday.

Their 2-0 loss came hours after K2 and his teammates were beaten by Atalanta by the same scoreline, so both teams will want to respond in this weekend’s fixture at Stadio San Paolo.

Ismael Bennacer & Franck Kessie

Probably rivalling Napoli vs Roma is the encounter between Lazio, Serie A contenders, and AC Milan, Europa League aspirants.

Stefano Pioli’s troops were surprisingly held by soon to be relegated SPAL on Wednesday and will want to bounce back against Simeone Inzaghi’s team.

Bennacer and Kessie are likely to continue their midfield partnership against the White and Sky Blues as the Milan giants seek to win their third game in four.

For Lazio, who could be seven points behind Juventus before kick off (the Old Lady host Torino earlier in the Turin derby), a win is imperative to cling on to hopes for a first Scudetto since 2000.

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