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Africans in the Premier League: Ranking the title contenders

Published by on September 10th, 2020.

#6 Tottenham Hotspur

The cautious optimism that accompanied Jose Mourinho’s arrival gave way to apathy as Spurs struggled to find an identity under the Portuguese coach, even if results did improve towards the end of the season.

Serge Aurier has enjoyed the faith of the manager during the early part of his tenure, even if Mourinho has been unable to iron out the right-back’s defensive failings and the problems with his decision making at crucial moments.

The arrival of Matt Doherty could eventually mean the end of Aurier’s time at the club, but could the competition also spur the West African on?

#5 Manchester United

It was a testing end to the season after all the good work that was achieved under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has brought positivity back to Old Trafford.

The Norwegian coach is getting the best out of his forwards—Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood—although what exactly does that mean for Odion Ighalo?

The Nigeria international enjoyed success—initially—in cup competitions for the Red Devils, although he failed to net across a series of brief cameos in the Premier League.

Can he help United before his current loan from Shanghai Shenhua comes to an end in early 2021?

#4 Chelsea

The arrival of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax ensures high-profile African representation at Chelseaonce again.

The Morocco international has registered 40 assists across his last three Eredivisie seasons, and will now be charged with bringing the form he enjoyed in the Netherlands to the Premier League.

Having already starred in the Champions League, there’s optimism that Chelsea will be set to benefit from the 27-year-old’s peak years, although with so many new faces at Cobhan, Frank Lampard has a tricky task ensuring all of his new arrivals gel together

#3 Arsenal

There’s optimism back at the Emirates Stadium once again, with Arsenal already winning two pieces of silverware since Mikel Arteta replaced Unai Emery at the helm.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks like he’ll remain at the club, for now at least, and expect him to top the 20-goal mark as he goes in search of a second Golden Boot in English football.

He now appears to have a competent supporting cast, with the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka all demonstrating their class—in patches at least—under Arteta so far.

What role could Mohamed Elneny, back in from the cold after starting the Community Shield final, have in the heart of the park this term?

#2 Liverpool

A slight drop-off in form since the restart and a lack of summer arrivals have dampened expectations around Liverpool ahead of their title defence.

There’s a concern that a squad which was largely untroubled by injury last term remains somewhat threadbare, and injuries to the likes of Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane could do significant damage to the Reds’ hopes of retaining the title.

Can the duo retain their exceptional high standards after three demanding seasons, and can Jurgen Klopp finally get the best out of Naby Keita, who’s yet to show his best form on Merseyside?

#1 Manchester City

If Pep Guardiola has truly addressed the issues that plagued City last season, then they may well have enough to overhaul Liverpool and return to the pinnacle of the English game.

He’ll have to replace the bubbling creativity of David Silva, but will hopefully be able to count on Riyad Mahrez despite appearing to lose faith in the wideman ahead of the club’s crucial Champions League quarter-final defeat by Lyon.

The Algeria international is entering his third season at the Etihad Stadium, and he may well be primed to help the club overcome a difficult 2019-20

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