Africans shine in Premier League Boxing Day action

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace celebrate with hes team mate Mamadou Sakho after scoring goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Ham United at Selhurst Park on December 26, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace scores his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Ham United at Selhurst Park on December 26, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

The Premier League’s busy festive period kicked off on Thursday as teams begin playing a string of games in a limited number of days. African players featured prominently as the league approaches the halfway mark.

In the early game, Côte d’Ivoire defender Serge Aurier provided an assist for England midfielder Dele Alli to score and seal a 2-1 come-from-behind victory for Tottenham against Brighton. Spurs moved up to fifth following the win.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on December 26, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Gabon captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted a second-half equalizer as Arsenal drew 1-1 away at Bournemouth in Mikel Arteta’s first game in charge.

Ghanaian forward Jordan Ayew inspired Crystal Palace to rally from 1-0 down to defeat West Ham 2-1 at Selhurst Park. Ayew’s header back found Senegal’s Cheikou Kouyate in space in the penalty area to smash home the equalizer. Ayew then produced a moment of magic at the end of the match dribbling past four players to score a superb solo winner.

Michael Obafemi, whose origins are Nigerian, got on the score sheet as Southampton stunned Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Obafemi, who represents Ireland, became (19 years and 173 days) became the youngest player to score a Premier League goal away at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea since James Vaughan for Everton in May 2007 (18y 303d).

The final two games of the game week will see a host of other African players, such as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Kelechi Iheanacho and Riyad Mahrez in action as Leicester host Liverpool later on Thursday and Wolves welcome defending champions Manchester City on Friday.