English Premier League: Liverpool on top of the EPL as Africans shine in the foreign land

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EPL - English Football League
EPL - English Football League

The English Premier League action returned on the field of play during the weekend of 30th March – 1st April after a one week break of international action and all players including Africans were geared up to help their teams earn three points with seven games to end the 2018-19 season.

Manchester City v Fulham
On Saturday 30th March, Fulham played against Manchester City in an early kick off of the day at Craven Cottage.

For Manchester City, the Algerian Riyad Mahrez did not have much time to showcase his skills as he was introduced late in the 88th minutes replacing Raheem Sterling in a game Manchester City defeated Fulham by 2 goals to 0 to go top of the English Premier league with 77 points before Liverpool, with whom they are competing for the top spot played their game on Sunday.

Manchester v Watford
The same day saw Manchester United defeating Watford at Old Trafford by 2 goals to 1 to put the iceing on the cake for the celebrations that started on Thursday at the club after an announcement was made that Ole Gunner Solskjaker who has been caretaker manager since December 2018 has signed a three years contract as coach for the club.

For Manchester United, the Ivorian Eric Bailly was not in the teams squad for the day while Watford had the Nigerian Isaac Success introduced in the 81st minute which gave him little time and no chance to grab a late glory goal and save the day for Watford.

Leicester City v Bournemouth
Leicester City also played on Saturday against Bournemouth at the King Power Stadium and on the day, the Nigerian Wilfred Ndidi was in the starting line up for Leicester City while the Nigerian Kelechi Iheanacho who is struggling for a place in the starting team and the Algerian Rachid Ghezzal were on the bench.

The Nigerian Ndidi was strong and brilliant in midfield as he commanded well and started movements for his team to go forward while also providing the much needed cover for the teams back four while the Algerian Ghezzal and the Nigerian Iheanacho had no time to prove their worth as they were introduced in the 89th and 90th minutes respectively in a game Leicester City won by 2 goals to 0 with goals from Wes Morgan and Jamie Vardy.

Crystal Palace v Huddersfield Town
Crystal Palace invited Huddersfield Town at Selhust Park on Saturday and with goals from Milivojevic and Van Aanholt, Palace made sure they pocket the all important three points on the day.

Crystal Palace had the Ivorian Wilfred Zaha was in the starting line up while the Ghanaian Jordan Ayew and the Senegalese Cheikhoue Kouyate were on the bench.

The Ivorian Zaha used his energy and pace on the left hand side of Crystal Palace’s attack and his pin pointing crosses were pissing a threat to Huddersfield Town on a day he forgot his scoring boots as he squandered a few scoring chances .

With ten minutes before the end of the game, Palace introduced the Senegalese Kouyate for Townsend. Kouyate killed the game for Palace as with his fresh legs he edged the team to keep attacking and could able frustrate Huddersfield Town to kill time while the Ghanaian Jordan Ayew watched the whole game on the bench.

West Ham United v Everton
Another African was involved in another Saturday encounter between West Ham United and Everton at London Stadium.

The Senegalese Idrissa Diop started in midfield for his team Everton and on the day, he impressively worked hard going forward. His passing was amazing as he could release the ball on time and was an important figure on the pitch as he could also go back in time to help his defence.

Cardiff City v Chelsea
Action in the English Premier League continued on Sunday 31st March with an early kick off between Cardiff City and Chelsea at Cardiff City Stadium.

The match had the Gabonese Bruno Manga starting in defence for Cardiff City and defensively he did his business with calm especially in the first half as he kept an eye on every danger Chelsea posed on Cardiff City but was later in the second half exposed and troubled as Chelsea attached more.

The Gabonese Manga and his team Cardiff City, had a bad day in office as his team lost by 2 goals to 1 after they took the lead in the 46th minute through a Camarasa goal before Chelsea strike twice with 6 minutes to the end of the game to win in a controversial way with goals from Azpilicueta in the 81st minute and Loftus – Cheek in the 90+1 minutes.

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur
In another game on Sunday,  Liverpool invited Tottenham Hotspur to Anfield for a battle for three points.

For Tottenham Hotspur, the Kenyan Victor Wanyama was part of the travelling teams but was not given a feel of the game while the Ivorian Sergio Aurier failed to make it into the final squad for the day.

For Liverpool, coach Jurgen Kloop made sure that the Egyptian Mohammad Salah and the Senegalese Sadio Mane were part of the starting front three while the Guinean Naby Keita was on the bench and no game time was given to him.

The Senegalese Mane was dangerous going forward with his crosses and curling shots and his game was up as he was at the right place at the right time.

The Egyptian Salah was tightly marked by Tottenham Hotspur’s defenders as they didn’t want him to have more time on the ball.  Salah’s decisions in the game were a bit questionable as he at times failed to pass the ball in time but was a hero when his header in the 90th minute forced a blunder from Tottenham Hotspur’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris leading to Alderweireld scoring an own goal for Liverpool to collect three points in a game that ended 2-1.

The win made Liverpool to go top of the English Premier League with 79 points, 2 more of Manchester City.

Arsenal v Newcastle
Day 32 of action in the EPL ended on Monday 1st April with a game between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium.

On the day, the Nigerian Alexi Iwobi started in midfield for Arsenal with the Gabonese Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and the Egyptian Mohammad Elneny being on the bench while for Newcastle United,  the Senegalese Mohammed Diame was in the starting team but the Ghanaian Christian Atsu failed to make it into the final squad for the game.

The Nigerian Iwobi,  who is having a good run of form at Arsenal,  was brilliant to watch with his penetrating passes and intelligent runs.  Iwobi also combined well with Ozil and Ramsey in midfield a thing that made Arsenal dominate play and keep possession.

The Gabonese Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was introduced in the 61st minute replacing the Nigerian Alexi Iwobi and he used his pace to press Newcastle United and that made it difficult for Newcastle United to throw more men forward in search of a goal.

The Egyptian Mohammad Elneny, replace Aaron Ramsey in the 67th minute and did all that could be expected of him,  working hard to press the ball and close spaces for Newcastle United.  Elneny was also quick and accurate with his passes and fresh legs Newcastle had trouble to contain him.

For Newcastle United,  the Senegalese Mohammed Diame got through fair amount of dirty work in front of his teams defence when failed to provide the much needed cover.  Diame also failed to contain Arsenal’s midfield of Ramsey and Guendouzi in a game Arsenal secured 3 points with goals from Ramsey and Lacazette  with Newcastle United failing to get even a single goal.

The win takes Arsenal to position three of the EPL with 63 points with only 6 games to finish the season.

League Table Points

# Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 32 24 7 1 72 19 53 79
2 Manchester City 31 25 2 4 81 21 60 77
3 Arsenal 31 19 6 6 65 39 26 63
4 Tottenham Hotspur 31 20 1 10 58 34 24 61
5 Manchester United 31 18 7 6 60 41 19 61
6 Chelsea 31 18 6 7 52 34 18 60
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 31 12 8 11 38 38 0 44
8 Leicester City 32 13 5 14 42 43 -1 44
9 Everton 32 12 7 13 45 42 3 43
10 Watford 31 12 7 12 43 46 -3 43
11 West Ham United 32 12 6 14 41 48 -7 42
12 Bournemouth 32 11 5 16 43 58 -15 38
13 Crystal Palace 31 10 6 15 38 41 -3 36
14 Newcastle United 32 9 8 15 31 42 -11 35
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 30 9 6 15 32 43 -11 33
16 Southampton 31 8 9 14 35 50 -15 33
17 Burnley 32 9 6 17 37 59 -22 33
18 Cardiff City 31 8 4 19 28 59 -31 28
19 Fulham 32 4 5 23 29 72 -43 17
20 Huddersfield Town 32 3 5 24 18 59 -41 14

What is the Premier League?

The Premier League, normally referred to as the English Premier League [EPL] or sometimes the Barclays Premiership after the title sponsor. The EPL is the top level of the English football system. Contested by 20 clubs. The 2018 / 2019 season includes these clubs; AFC Bournemouth, Arsenal, Brighton & Hove Albion, Burnley, Cardiff City, Chelsea FC, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham FC, Huddersfield Town, Leicester City, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Southampton FC, Tottenham,  Hotspur, Watford FC, West Ham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers

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