Amartey, Aubameyang to the rescue
Ghana’s Daniel Amartey struck late to salvage a draw for Premier League champions Leicester, and African Footballer of the Year Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s 16th Bundesliga goal rescued a point for Bayern Munich.
DANIEL AMARTEY (Leicester)
The Ghana midfielder capped a thrilling Leicester fightback with the late equaliser that rescued a 2-2 draw at Stoke on Saturday. Amartey had gone 19 games without a goal as he struggled to make an impact with the Premier League champions following his pre-season move from FC Copenhagen. But the 21-year-old is gradually adapting to his new surroundings and he showed his class with a well-timed run to meet Christian Fuchs’ cross with a bullet header in the 88th minute at the Britannia Stadium. Amartey’s goal came after Leicester had trailed 2-0 and been reduced to 10 men following Jamie Vardy’s red card. Amartey’s intervention was crucial for the spluttering Foxes as it kept them away from the relegation zone.
YAYA TOURE (Man City)
The Ivory Coast midfielder gave a composed display as City fought back to claim a crucial 2-1 win over title rivals Arsenal at Eastlands on Sunday. It has been a difficult season for Toure after his drink-driving charge and early difficulties with boss Pep Guardiola, but the veteran remains an influential figure and he dictated play as City recovered from Theo Walcott’s early opener to win with two second half goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling. Toure played the full 90 minutes and although he was booke for dissent it was a job well done by the former Barcelona star.
VICTOR MOSES (Chelsea)
The Nigeria wing-back maintained his remarkable renaissance this season with another polished performance as Chelsea consolidated first place in a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace. Just 12 months ago, Moses was on loan at West Ham and looked to have no future at Stamford Bridge, but he has managed an impressive return to relevance under new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. Used as an attacking wide man for the majority of his career, Moses has been deployed in a more defensive role on the right flank by Conte, who has also given license to the 26-year-old to get forward whenever possible. With Moses thriving, Conte’s preferred 3-4-3 formation has taken flight and Chelsea are on pole position to win the title.
DIEMERCI MBOKANI (Hull)
The DR Congo striker’s luck was out as he was denied by the woodwork in Hull’s frustrating 1-0 defeat at fellow strugglers West Ham. Mbokani had returned from suspension to take his place in the Hull starting line-up in east London and he delivered a powerful display that should have given the Tigers a crucial three points. But instead Mbokani’s search for his first goal since joining on loan from Dynamo Kiev ended in more woe. He should have scored in the first half when he pounced on Aaron Cresswell’s poor backpass, but instead guided his shot against a post. Then he shot over from another good chance before the interval and was eventually substituted in the 70th minute, six minutes before Mark Noble’s penalty condemned Hull to a defeat that leaves them bottom of the table.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Borussia Dortmund)
The Gabon striker — the German league’s top scorer — netted his 16th Bundesliga goal of the season to rescue a point for ten-man Borussia Dortmund in Friday’s 2-2 draw at Hoffenheim. With Hoffenheim 2-1 up at half-time after goals by Mark Uth and Sandro Wagner, while Dortmund’s Mario Goetze pulled one back, Aubameyang struck just after the break, finishing off a counter-attack following a final pass from winger Ousmane Dembele on 48 minutes. Dortmund played the entire second half with ten men after Germany winger Marco Reus was sent off for two bookings just before the half-time whistle.
NABY KEITA (RB Leipzig)
The Guinea international put Timo Werner into space to fire in RB Leipzig’s first goal in their 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin, which allowed them to replace Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga table for 24 hours. But the defensive midfielder is set to miss Wednesday’s crunch German league showdown at Bayern Munich after suffering a thigh injury and did not come out for the second half.
STEPHANE SESSEGNON (Montpellier)
The Benin international returned from a three-match ban to score his first Montpellier goal in a 4-0 rout of Bordeaux. Sessegnon, who joined on a free transfer in September, tucked home his side’s second goal on 20 minutes after a flick-on from compatriot Steve Mounie.
RACHID GHEZZAL (Lyon)
The Algeria winger netted just his second goal of the season in a crucial 3-1 win at Monaco. Ghezzal swept home from the edge of the area to break the deadlock on 29 minutes. He then crossed for Mathieu Valbuena to volley in Lyon’s second as the visitors edged closer to the top three.
MOHAMED SALEH (Roma)
Salah returned quicker than expected for Roma ahead of Saturday’s trip to Juventus following a recent injury knock, but the Egyptian was fit enough only for a place on the bench. After he replaced Brazilian midfielder Gerson at half-time, Salah was given few opportunities to turn on the style but, with Juventus leading 1-0, he produced some great footwork late on to squirm between two defenders and set up Diego Perotti for a tame shot that Gianluigi Buffon easily collected. Roma lost 1-0, dropped to seven points in arrears and will say goodbye to Salah on Friday when he departs for the Africa Cup of Nations.
KEITA BALDE (Lazio)
A sign of Keita’s progress under Simone Inzaghi at Lazio came when he hit the opener in an entertaining 3-1 win over Fiorentina that saw La Viola forward Josip Ilicic miss a penalty. Brazilian playmaker Felipe Anderson set up Keita on 23 minutes with a perfect pass that allowed the Senegal striker to control, move past his marker and beat Ciprian Tatarusanu with a fine angled drive. Keita’s fifth league goal of the season saw the striker match his personal best.