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 0-0 draw against Manchester United.
Meanwhile, Riyad Mahrez scored in Leicester’s 1-1 draw at home to West Brom and Ahmed Hegazi performed well at the King Power Stadium.
Here’s a look at how these Arab footballers fared this weekend.
Not his best day in a Leicester jersey, but still looked solid in the Foxes 1-1 draw against West Brom at the King Power Stadium.
Although he missed the home side’s best chance of the game from eight yards out, he took his goal well to force a draw with ten minutes remaining.
Receiving possession 12-yards-out, Mahrez stroked the ball from home with a powerful right foot effort for his first goal of the season.
With Arsenal and Tottenham 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 17 months ago.
Minutes – 90
Goal – 1
Shots – 2
Shots on target – 1
Key Passes – 0
Passing Accuracy – 86.5%
Touches – 67
Passes – 37
After firing to Egypt to a first World Cup since 1990 last week, it was no surprise that Salah started full of confidence against United, showing plenty of class and pace.
The 25-year-old stands out because his ability to dribble and cause problems, but he failed to engineer any breakthrough from dangerous attacking positions.
He did offer a threat when collecting the ball from deep but didn’t get into the right positions to trouble the United defence.
Worked himself into the ground and should have been named man-of-the-match, but instead it was awarded to Joe Gomez.
Minutes – 77
Shots – 4
Shots on target – 1
Key Passes – 2
Passing Accuracy – 90%
Touches – 52
Passes – 20
It took time for the Egyptian to get into the contest but he recovered well to produce a solid performance.
His only key error during the game – besides an early yellow card for two tackles – was a sloppy back pass which nearly led to a goal from Jamie Vardy, but the Englishman’s touch took the ball too far.
Overall, though, Hegazi has been a totemic presence at the back this season for Tony Pulis’s side with commanding displays against West Ham and Arsenal.
Minutes – 90
Tackles – 1
Clearances – 8
Blocks – 1
Passing Accuracy – 70.6%
Touches – 48
Passes – 34
Aerials Won – 3
Jose Mourinho has said he does not plan on signing a new contract with Manchester United imminently, but has played down suggestions he will leave for Paris Saint-Germain.
In an interview conducted with French television that aired at the weekend, the 54-year-old Portuguese dismissed the possibility of ending his managerial career at Old Trafford.
He also spoke of his interest in PSG’s bid to shake up the established order in Europe with their recent recruitment.
After that interview, speculation emerged that Mourinho was about to put pen to paper on a lucrative new contract with United.
However, speaking in Portugal ahead of United’s Champions League clash with Benfica, Mourinho told a press conference that as far as he was concerned, nothing was about to change with his employment.
“I think you (in the) English media, you have the answer for that,” Mourinho said, when asked about how he saw his future.
“Because in one day it says that I’m going to sign a five-year contract, one-billion pounds per season and then the next day you say that I’m leaving and I’m going to Paris Saint-Germain.
“I think that’s the answer – the answer is that nothing is happening. I’m not signing a new five-year contract and I’m not leaving for Paris Saint-Germain. I’m at Manchester United, I have a contract and that’s it.”
Mourinho joined United in 2016 on a three-year contract with the option to stay until at least 2020.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 17, 2017
Pep Guardiola thinks Kevin De Bruyne will have to help Manchester City win trophies before he can be regarded as one of the greats like Lionel Messi.
But the City manager feels such comparisons with the Barcelona star could put too much pressure on his Belgian forward.
De Bruyne has been in outstanding form for the Premier League leaders in the early part of the season and he delivered a passing masterclass in Saturday’s 7-2 rout of Stoke, helping set up four goals.
That came after another commanding performance, and match-winning goal, against champions Chelsea prior to the recent international break.
Asked if De Bruyne, 26, could currently be regarded as the best player in Europe, Guardiola said: “The best is just one (player). If he wants to be considered one of the best, you have to win titles and we are here to help him to achieve that.
“The best is just one, but he is of course one of the best.”
Guardiola, who was speaking at a press conference to preview Tuesday’s Champions League Group F clash with Napoli, was obviously referring to Messi when he spoke about the best.
The former Barca boss regularly expresses his admiration for the Argentinian five-time world player of the year, with whom he won two Champions League trophies and three LaLiga titles.
Asked if De Bruyne could ever reach Messi’s level, Guardiola said: “It would be a dream for me.
“I would love, not only for Kevin, but all the players I have had in the past to achieve the level of Messi. It would be a massive thing for my teams because we would win a lot of games.
Kevin De Bruyne’s Man City career by numbers:
100 games 🏃
38 assists 🅰️
25 goals ⚽
The master creator. pic.twitter.com/lowbUAPykr
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 15, 2017
“But I don’t want to put pressure on Kevin’s shoulders. Kevin is an outstanding, amazing player. He is a humble guy and all his team-mates love him.
“He wants to play every single game, he fights until the end but I don’t help him by comparing him with Messi.
“Messi is apart. He is a guy who has scored 60 goals every season for eight or nine years.”
Another of City’s star men, Sergio Aguero, could return against Napoli. The striker has made a rapid recovery from the broken rib he sustained in a car crash three weeks ago and he was an unused substitute against Stoke.
“Day by day he is much better,” Guardiola said. “Yesterday he had an amazing training session.”
Napoli’s form is almost as impressive as City’s. They top Serie A with a 100 per cent record after eight games, having scored 26 goals in the process.
Guardiola said: “I am sure it will be a fascinating game and I hope Manchester City fans can come again to help us. We need their support. I am pretty sure it will be a massive game.”
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 16, 2017