In this column, we track the best Arab football talents plying their trade in the Premier League and round-up their accomplishments every week.
Liverpool star Mohamed Salah is never far from the headlines after a series of devastating displays for the Reds, and he features this week following Jurgen Klopp side’s 4-0 win against Bournemouth.
Meanwhile, Riyad Mahrez failed to fire in Leicester’s defeat at home to Crystal Palace and Ahmed Hegazi performed well against Manchester United at the Hawthorns.
Here’s a look at how these Arab footballers fared this weekend.
MOHAMED SALAH | BOURNEMOUTH 0-4 LIVERPOOL
The Egyptian ace was instrumental at the Vitality Stadium, setting the grass alight with his smoking footwork and tireless workrate.
The 25-year-old stands out because of his ability to dribble and cause problems, and he weighed in with a superb first-half goal as Klopp’s men stormed to a 4-0 victory.
Incredibly, Salah is now the fastest Liverpool player to reach the 20-goal mark than former Reds’ legends Luis Suarez, Robbie Fowler and Fernando Torres.
Rating – 9/10
Minutes – 70
Goal – 1
Shots – 4
Shots on target – 2
Key Passes – 1
Passing Accuracy – 80%
Touches – 47
Passes – 30
RIYAD MAHREZ | LEICESTER 0-3 CRYSTAL PALACE
Had a quiet day at the office as Palace tightened the midfield, cutting down his ability to move inside and play his usual attacking game.
His one notable contribution was at the start of the second half when he raced past former team-mate Jeffrey Schlupp and fired a shot that Julian Speroni tipped wide.
With Arsenal and Roma reportedly battling for his signature, the Algerian needs to step up to prove his €50 million price tag.
The 26-year-old was linked with a host of clubs over the summer, but is yet to replicate his stellar form from the Foxes’ Premier League title winning campaign 19 months ago.
Rating – 6/10
Minutes – 90
Shots – 1
Shots on target – 1
Key Passes – 1
Passing Accuracy – 72.7%
Touches – 62
Passes – 33
AHMED HEGAZI |WEST BROM 1-2 MAN UNITED
The Egyptian was rewarded for his recent solid displays by penning a permanent deal at the Hawthorns until 2022.
Against Manchester United, the 26-year-old looked hesitant and nervous for large parts of the contest with his deflection gifting the visitors’ second goal.
Jesse Lingard found space around 20-yards from goal, and Hegazi’s leg deflected the ball to Ben Foster’s right – with the goalkeeper already committing to the opposite side.
Overall, though, Hegazi stood up well against Romelu Lukaku and has been a totemic presence at the back this season for Alan Pardew’s side with commanding displays against West Ham and Arsenal.
Rating – 6/10
Minutes – 90
Tackles – 2
Clearances – 3
Blocks – 1
Interceptions – 2
Passing Accuracy – 86.8%
Touches – 52
Passes – 38
City are 11 points clear of nearest challengers Manchester United, are on a record run of 16 consecutive wins in England’s top flight and through to the Champions League knockout phase after comfortably winning their group.
Guardiola said last month that he was happy at City and his contract, which expires in 2019, was “not a big issue”.
City failed to mount a serious title challenge in Guardiola’s much-hyped first season in England, finishing a disappointing third. They also exited the Champions League in the first knockout round.
But the club invested heavily in new players during the summer and look certain to romp away with the Premier League title even though the season still has five months to run.
The Times newspaper said there was an acceptance that when Guardiola arrived in Manchester last year he might not stay beyond his three-year deal but there is optimism he will make a longer-term commitment.
The report said Guardiola was enjoying working with chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain, both of whom previously worked at Barcelona.
Guardiola quit Barcelona in 2012 despite four trophy-laden seasons to recharge his batteries.
Following a sabbatical with his family in New York, he returned to management in Germany, leading Bayern to three consecutive Bundesliga titles before moving to City in 2016.
Provided by AFP Sport
West Brom have completed the signing of Egypt international defender Ahmed Hegazi on a permanent deal.
The 26-year-old has been on loan from Al Ahly, joining Albion in July, and the option has been taken to prolong his stay at The Hawthorns.
An undisclosed fee has been agreed between the two clubs and Hegazi has signed a contract until the summer of 2022.
Hegazi was brought to the club by former boss Tony Pulis but new manager Alan Pardew has welcomed the decision to keep the player.
He told the club’s official website: “This is great news for the club. Ahmed has been absolutely terrific for me since I arrived and I am sure there is even more to come from him in the future.
“He is one of the players we can build around on the road ahead. He has a big role to play and it is good for the player and the club to remove any doubts and make the transfer permanent.
“I’m sure it is something the supporters will also welcome.”
“I am very happy with the club and very happy to be part of this group of players,” he said.
“I know the results are not what we would want at the moment. But there is great spirit here and I am sure that we will turn the results in our favour before long.”
Hegazi marked his West Brom debut by scoring the only goal in a home victory over Bournemouth on the opening day of the season and has gone on to make 19 appearances for the club.