Five African stars of the Premier League season

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We are around a third of the way through the 2023/24 Premier League season and there have been no shortage of star performers from the African continent to date.

We have selected five as early contenders for our Premier League African Player of Year.

MOHAMED SALAH

Club: Liverpool

Starts/Goals/Assists this season: 12/10/4

Starts/Goals/Assists last season: 37/19/12

Premier League career Starts/Goals/Assists: 243/149/63

Egyptian star Salah may be 31, but he appears to be at the peak of his powers and continues to break record after record at Anfield.

Following his brace against Brentford this past weekend, Salah was described by Bees boss Thomas Frank as the best player in the Premier League and it is hard to argue with that.

He has now scored in 15 of the last 16 home games for The Reds and has 14 goal contributions (10 goals, four assists) in 12 matches in the Premier League this campaign. Only Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (13 goals, three assists) has more.

It is so far an improvement on last season, when he managed 31 contributions (19 goals, 12 assists) in 37 starts. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain the incredible rate through the dead of the English winter and when fatigue sets in later in the campaign.

His unerring left foot off the right wing is a danger to any side and he even managed a rare headed goal against Brentford, one to treasure.

Salah is still rapid across the grass and it is clear to see why Liverpool fought tooth and nail to keep him amid interest from Saudi Arabia at the start of the campaign.

He alone could be the difference between success and failure this season.

NICOLAS JACKSON

Club: Chelsea

Starts/Goals/Assists this season: 9/6/0

Starts/Goals/Assists last season: –

Premier League career Starts/Goals/Assists: 9/6/0

Jackson had a slow start to his Premier League season after joining Chelsea from Spanish LaLiga side Villarreal in June for a reported £32-million.

By his own admission it took him some time to get the pace of the league, which is a big step up from Spain, but there are signs in the last 10 days that he is beginning to find his feet.

He netted a superb hattrick in the 4-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur last Monday, and then followed it up with another goal in the epic 4-4 draw with Manchester City.

Unlike others on our list, he is not in the team to create goals, but rather to be a fox-in-the-box style striker who can get on the end of passes, crosses and loose balls, and finish from six yards.

That was also true of his time in Spain, where he scored 12 goals in 26 appearances (16 starts) last season, leading to his move to Stamford Bridge.

As the age of only 22, the Senegal international has plenty of growth left in him and if his recent showings are anything to go by, he will become some striker.

BRYAN MBEUMO

Club: Brentford

Starts/Goals/Assists this season: 12/6/2

Starts/Goals/Assists last season: 36/9/8

Premier League career Starts/Goals/Assists: 85/19/17

There were signs towards the end of last season that Cameroon international winger Mbeumo was maturing into a top-quality Premier League player and his start to this campaign has only underlined that.

It has not been the easiest season to date for Brentford with four wins in 12 games as they sit in mid-table, but there is no doubting their star performer, who has almost single-handedly carried their attacking threat to this point.

Mbeumo has six goals and two assists in his 12 matches, a goal contribution every 1.50 matches. That is a big improvement on his average last season (2.12) and his career record in the Premier League (2.36).

The 24-year-old is on an upward trajectory and well on course to trump last season’s tally of nine Premier League goals.

He has probably also suffered a bit in the assists realm with the absence of Ivan Toney through suspension, with the big forward the perfect target for Mbeumo to aim at with his pace, excellent wing-play and crossing ability.

TAIWO AWONIYI

Club: Nottingham Forest

Starts/Goals/Assists this season: 8/4/2

Starts/Goals/Assists last season: 17/10/1

Premier League career Starts/Goals/Assists: 37/14/3

Awoniyi almost single-handedly kept Nottingham Forest in the Premier League with his goals at the back-end of the last campaign when he netted six times in their final four games.

Forest picked up eight points from a possible 12 in a difficult run-in, mostly thanks to Awoniyi and ended up four points above the relegation zone. Had he not been firing, it could have been a very different story.

He started this season in a similar vein with goals in his first three games, but has now only netted one more since the end of August.

That did come this past weekend in a 3-2 loss at West Ham United, and he will be eager to get back on track, though it is hard to argue with six goal contributions in eight games (four goals, two assists).

He has pace, power and an unerring ability to be in the right place at the right time to get on the end of chances.

His overall Premier League record is 17 contributions (14 goals, three assists) in 37 starts, which is pretty good among his peers in the Premier League.

SIMON ADINGRA

Club: Brighton & Hove Albion

Starts/Goals/Assists this season: 7/3/1

Starts/Goals/Assists last season: –

Premier League career Starts/Goals/Assists: 7/3/1

Ivory Coast winger Adingra is a new arrival in the Premier League this season after spending last season on loan at Brighton’s sister club Royale Union St Gilloise, where he was superb with 11 goals and nine assists in 26 starts (and 10 sub appearances).

Abidjan-born Adingra is a product of the Right to Dream academy in Accra, Ghana, which also produced West Ham star Mohammed Kudus.

Adingra’s goal against Sheffield United on Saturday, his third in the Premier League for Brighton, showed everything he is about.

He picked up the ball out wide on the left wing, used his pace and ball skills to slalom past three defenders before finishing following a neat one-two on the edge of the box. Brighton will do well to score a better one this season.

It was his fourth of the season in all competitions and second in as many matches having netted against Ajax Amsterdam in the Uefa Europa League just days earlier.

It is also a fourth goal contribution in seven starts in the Premier League, averaging below one every two games, which is an excellent return for a 21-year-old in his first season in arguably the best league in the world.

Source: Mzansi Football

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