FT 2019 Preview: Africans to continue headlining Premier League title race
Stranger things and customarily premier league things have happened and will continue to happen as one of the world’s most followed club football league comes to a close in May 2019. Manchester United have recently hit new form under the guidance of the baby faced assassin Ole Gunnar Soljaskaer, Pep Guardiola’s “immaculate” City slipped up in the festive period, succumbing to three league defeats in four matches and Unai Emery’s Arsenal served a horror defensive show at Anfield as Liverpool ran out 5-1 winners on the day.
Transfers will come this January, the out of favor troopers will leave for greener pastures, some managers may or may not get the sack and other dedicated sides will have to face the chop of relegation. In all the anticipated uncertainties, there is an anticipated certainty. With Aubameyang, Salah and Kane going at each other, at the top of the scoring charts in December, the first two setting a precedence for the peaking of Africans in the league – more is coming. It’s no secret that Senegal’s Mane and Egypt’s Salah had Liverpool one foot in the title race long before it started. Mahrez could still very much be Man City’s secret weapon as they chase the Reds with the Algerian forward yet to reach top gear under Guardiola and we know what he can do when he does, as was the case with the 2015/16 premier league title winning Leicester City.
It’s not only those who steer their teams to much needed goals or keep the goal from assailants such Aubameyang who matter in the title race; there are others who get points off points contenders in a rare exciting fashion. Ghana’s Jeffrey Schlupp netted an important goal as Crystal Palace handed City their first home defeat of the campaign and quite recently, Adama Traore was unplayable as Wolves came from behind to beat Tottenham 3-1 at Wembley, momentarily putting them out of contention.
This and more will continue in 2019, and we will be there to cover the African stars at the centre of the thrills and spills in the English Premier League.