Seven Africans To Watch As The EPL Kicks Off

One of the worlds most watched leagues, the English Premier League kicks off its 2020/21 season on September 12.

With the big kickoff comes massive expectation from a teaming audience across the world and most especially the African continent. Once again, the continents legion of stars will be on show.

Here are seven players we have picked to make a real impact this term.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt)

Salah is one of two Liverpool players on this list and has been a big hit since joining the Anfield club in 2017.

He finished with 19 Premier League Goals last season, his lowest total since joining the club after netting a massive 32 goals in his first season and 22 the following year.

The Egyptian superstar heads into the new season with renewed vigor and with fellow African Sadio Mane by his side, you cannot bet against the mercurial Pharaoh reenacting his form from his first season at Anfield.

Sadio Mane (Liverpool/Senegal)

Mane is the other half of the Liverpool pair on this list and enjoyed a super season last term as Liverpool were crowned EPL champions.

The Senegalese star made the PFA Team of the Year and was voted PFA Fans’ Player of the Year last season crowning a brilliant individual effort from one of the continent’s most consistent performers.

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Mane bagged 18 goals in the Premier League last season and will certainly be one to watch as he looks to continue to live up to his tag as one of the most difficult forwards to play against in world football.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal/Gabon)

The Gabon striker has earned a reputation as one of the best finishers in the game and has proved a valuable asset to Arsenal. He is expected to sign a new contract that will keep him at the Emirates past the end of this season.

Aubameyang finished second behind Jamie Vardy by one goal as his 22 league goals weren’t enough to win the golden boot. He was however named in the PFA Team of the Year and also claimed the Arsenal Player of the Season Award.

He lifted the FA Cup with the Gunners as captain in August and will be looking to lead a rejuvenated Arsenal team under new manager Mikel Arteta to an unlikely title challenge and most of all a top four finish.

Wilfried Ndidi (Leicester City/Nigeria)

The hard-tackling Nigerian midfielder has built a big reputation for himself since arriving in the Premier League in 2017 with then reigning champions Leicester City.

Ndidi finished last season as the joint top tackler with 129 successful tackles alongside Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka, cementing his place as a standout player in England.

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His Leicester side just missed out on Champions League football on the final day of the season but will fancy their chances of making a big push for the top four places with the impressive Ndidi at the heart of the team.

Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace/Ghana)

Jordan Ayew enjoyed his most prolific season in England last term with a nine-goal return for Crystal Palace who finished well clear of the relegation places.

The Ghanain star was voted Crystal Palace Player of the Year last season and has become an integral part of Roy Hodgson’s team.

The imminent arrival of Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi will mean that Ayew cannot afford to have a dip in form. The signs from last season look good and Ayew looks set to show his class once again in a Palace shirt.

Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal/Ivory Coast)

Arsenal’s club-record £72 million signing struggled early on at the Emirates last season but looked to be close to his best form following the departure of Unai Emery and the arrival of new boss Mikel Arteta.

Pepe played a key role as Arsenal lifted the FA Cup and also showed some glimpses of his quality with some super goals.

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Much is expected from the 25-year-old Ivorian International who seems to be coming into his own and could be one to set the EPL alight this season.

Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City/Algeria)

Mahrez began last season by leading his Algerian national side to their first AFCON title in 19 years and the stage looked set for a big year for the 29-year-old.

Fast forward 12 months and it hasn’t quite gone according to plan, Mahrez has shown glimpses of his quality but was never quite able to consistently lift the City team.

The Algerian tested positive for the coronavirus and is a doubt for the opening weeks of the season. If Mancity are to wrestle their Premier League crown back from Liverpool, they will need the magical Mahrez to step up to the plate.

EPL Opening Weekend Fixtures

Saturday 12 September

Crystal Palace vs Southampton
Fulham vs Arsenal
Liverpool vs Leeds Utd
West Ham vs Newcastle Utd

Sunday 13 September

Tottenham vs Everton
West Brom vs Leicester City

Monday 14 September

Brighton vs Chelsea
Sheffield Utd vs Wolves

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