Grading the Africans in England: The Bad


Following on from Kick Off’s feature Grading the African Players in the Premier League: The Good, we take a look at the players who have struggled over the last 12 months.


Yaya Sanogo (D+): No goals and a muted impact for the young forward in his debut Premier League campaign. This grade may be a little harsh considering he only moved to England in the summer, but the 21-year-old was wholly unable to relieve the pressure from Oliver Giroud, and Arsene Wenger was ridiculed for turning to the forward in the Champions League defeat to Manchester City.


Aston Villa

Karim El Ahmadi (C+): A dire season for Villa and an unhappy second season for El Ahmadi. The Moroccan did average 3.4 tackles-per-game, however, putting him in the Premier League’s top six.

Yacouba Sylla (C-): Another anonymous Paul Lambert signing. Sylla played his part in victories over Manchester City and Cardiff, but the manager has largely lost faith in his midfielder and the Malian has been reduced to only four substitute appearances since the New Year. Sky Sports report that he is already seeking a move back to France.



John Obi Mikel (C): Has this season been Mikel’s last at Chelsea? If so, it was an ignominious ending. Despite the return of Jose Mourinho, the Nigerian’s former mentor, Mikel slipped from prominence and was all-but usurped by Nemanja Matic, a far superior player. Where does the Super Eagle hero go from here?

Mohamed Salah (C): Admittedly, he only arrived in January, but Salah has taken longer than expected to adapt to English football. He only scored one goal and has been criticised by Mourinho. Few doubt the forward’s talent, but Egyptians have struggled, notoriously, in the Premier League.

Demba Ba (C+): Ba never had the faith of Jose Mourinho and has appeared to be heading towards the exit door since the summer. His performance against Liverpool was, at times, painfully clumsy, but he did score an important goal against the Reds to go with his winner against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-final. Everton have recently been linked with a £10million move by the Daily Mail.


Crystal Palace

Adlene Guedioura (C-): Hasn’t made the impact many (myself included) expected following his move from Nottingham Forest. A rib injury suffered in early November didn’t help, but at least the midfielder has the World Cup to look forward to.



Arouna Kone (D-): Injured for almost all of the season, this may seem a cruel grade, but Kone hadn’t impressed in his five Premier League appearances for Everton and, at 30, faces an uncertain future.

Lacina Traore (D): He arrived injured, managed to make a brief cameo against Swansea, scored, and has been out of action ever since. In the end, he was fortunate to even make the Cote d’Ivoire World Cup squad, but I suspect he may get another bite at English football in the future.

Magaye Gueye (D-): The Senegalese forward is 23 now and can no longer rely on the excuse of youth. Martinez has seemingly been unable to work his magic and the former Strasbourg man has not featured at all in the Premier League. The Europa League may provide increased opportunity for squad rotation next term. If not, Gueye could be off.



Mahamadou Diarra (D+): Given a short-term deal by Felix Magath after having proved his fitness, Diarra is no longer the player who once graced the midfields of Lyon and Real Madrid, and was largely helpless as Fulham floundered.

Derek Boateng (F): Having battled to get their man, Fulham have proceeded to all-but ignore Derek Boateng during his time at the club. Three league appearances under Martin Jol, and none under either Rene Meulensteen or Magath. A dreadful turn of fortune for the 30-year-old.


Hull City

Yannick Sagbo (C+): The Ivorian ran the lines well for the Tigers and provided a decent physical presence up-front. It was a decent debut season, but more refinement is needed if Sagbo is to establish himself as a threat at this level. Two goals in 28 appearances is testament to his limitations.

Abdoulaye Faye (D+): A fading force, now 36, who hasn’t played in the Premier League since October. Should leave this summer.



Victor Moses (C): Things didn’t quite go to plan for Victor Moses at Anfield. He started only six games, scored only once, and largely struggled to make an impact in an otherwise fantastic season for the Reds. Needs a good World Cup to prove his capabilities once again.


Newcastle Utd

Papiss Cisse (D-): The year began with a controversy and ended two goals later with people questioning whatever happened to the Senegal striker that burst onto the scene so exceptionally in early 2012. A broken kneecap will leave him on the sidelines for sometime.

Massadio Haidara (D+): Injuries (again) affected the early portion of his season and he was used almost exclusively as a substitute during the second half of the campaign. Not progressing as hoped.

Gael Bigirimana (n/a): Hasn’t featured for the Magpies since late August due to an ankle injury.

Shola Ameobi (C): Another frustrating campaign for Shola, who struggled to feature regularly in Alan Pardew’s plans. Features in the Top 20 for aerial battles won-per-game, but only two goals all campaign doesn’t bode well for the summer.

Sammy Ameobi (D-): One excellent showing in the League Cup aside – when the young Nigerian set up both of Newcastle’s goals – it’s been a poor campaign for the younger Ameobi. A peripheral figure who looks set to leave with his brother this summer.


Norwich City

Sebastien Bassong (C-): Another career relegation for Bassong who, despite his immense physical qualities, was unable to stem the tide.

Joseph Yobo (C+): Things started well for Yobo at Norwich City as the club took four points from Tottenham and Manchester City, keeping two clean-sheets in the process. At that point in time, one could believe that the defensive partnership of Bassong and Yobo could keep the Canaries in the division. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, as injuries took their toll and a record of two wins, two draws and four defeats represents a disappointing Premier League return for the Super Eagles veteran.



El-Hadji Ba (D-): Another recent Sunderland signing that – to put it politely – hasn’t worked out. Recruited by Paolo di Canio last summer, Ba didn’t play until January, long after his mentor’s departure. After scoring on his debut, against Sunderland in the FA Cup, he managed only 20 minutes of Premier League action.



Leroy Lita (E-): The Congolese hitman moved to Wales in 2011 after a £1.75 million transfer from Middlesbrough. He has rarely looked like value for money and started only four games for Swansea before being released at the end of the season. Another drop down to the Championship looks likely for the former Reading man.

David N’Gog (F): Fans were perplexed when Michael Laudrup signed Cameroonian forward David N’Gog from Bolton for an undisclosed fee during the January transfer window. The striker was a disappointment at Liverpool and arguably worse at Swansea – he played only 42 minutes for the club, over three substitute appearances, and has since been released.


West Bromwich Albion

Stephane Sessegnon (C): The Beninois playmaker still flatters to deceive at the Hawthorns, but his five goals pushed The Albion away from the relegation trapdoor.

Thievy Bifouma (C+): He came with a reputation of being Balotelli-like and while Thievy was much lighter on the headlines, he did manage a debut goal against Crystal Palace. Only one more followed, however, as injury affected his stay in England. He is unlikely to be kept on by The Albion following the end of his loan deal.


West Ham United

Guy Demel (C): It wasn’t a vintage campaign for West Ham, nor their defence, who suffered greatly after an injury suffered by New Zealand defender Winston Reid. Demel is a solid worker but, now 32, probably doesn’t have much more in the tank.

Mohamed Diame (C+): Diame has struggled to replicate his impressive 2012/13 form and the transfer rumours linking him to Liverpool have gone a little quiet in recent times. 

By Ed Dove
Twitter: @Eddydove