Africans Abroad: Zaha stars again as Bailly makes unwanted derby history

Wilfried Zaha was Africa's star performer in the Premier League this weekend, as he continues to spearhead Crystal Palace's resurgence under Patrick Vieira, although Eric Bailly made some unwanted derby history as Manchester United were dispatched by Manchester City.

Elsewhere in the English Premier League, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Salah both flattered to deceive, and there were star performances from Nigerian strikers David Okereke and Cyriel Dessers across Europe.

For the second week in a row, Ivory Coast forward Zaha is our star African performer in the Premier League. Zaha appears to be hitting a new gear following the arrival of Vieira at Selhurst Park.

After playing a key role in the evisceration of City last weekend -- and the sending off of Aymeric Laporte -- he was again influential as Palace downed Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at home.

Both Zaha and Odsonne Edouard helped turn the tide in the Eagles' favour after a cagey opening 45 minutes, with both seeking to run at, and stretch, the Wolves backline.

The West African broke the deadlock just after the hour mark when he was played in behind the Old Gold's defence by a deliciously weighted ball by James McArthur, and calmly finished beyond the advancing Jose Sa from a tight angle.

Initially, the goal was ruled off for offside, as the linesman raised his flag, but VAR ultimately overturned the decision, and Zaha wheeled away with his fourth goal of the campaign.

He's certainly enjoying life under Vieira, and his opening goal, following on from his effort against City, represented the first time since October 2020 that he's scored in consecutive Premier League fixtures.

It was also the first time in nine years -- since October 2012 -- that he's netted against Wolves in the league, having previously struck against them in the second tier.

Conor Gallagher, who's also enjoying a remarkable start to the season in this young new-look Palace side, added the secure all three points, as the South Londoners climbed up to tenth.

Zaha will not be travelling to join the Ivory Coast national side for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Mozambique and Cameroon after being omitted by head coach Patrice Beaumelle, although the circumstances around his absence are somewhat murky.

Beaumelle's suggestion that the forward was 'homesick' was dismissed by Vieira, who affirmed that the ex-Manchester United attacker loves playing for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations champions.

It remains to be seen whether he returns to represent the Elephants at the AFCON in Cameroon in January, or whether he sticks around in England to inspire Palace's European push.

The other end of the spectrum

While Zaha enjoyed yet another weekend to remember, the same cannot be said for African trio Bailly, Aubameyang, and Salah.

Zaha's compatriot Bailly -- handed a rare start for United in the Manchester derby -- endured a miserable outing against City as the Red Devils fell to a 2-0 defeat in front of their own fans.

The centre-back stepped in alongside Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof as besieged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer moved to a back three, but he struggled as United failed to contain a rampant City side during the early stages.

In the seventh minute, Bailly comically sliced the ball into his own net... under minimal City pressure... as he hopelessly misjudged a fine cross from Joao Cancelo. The centre-back's reading of the ball was poor, while his body shape and agility were also miserable -- just when it was imperative United withheld their opponents' pressure.

It means an unwanted slice of history comes Bailly's way, as he became the first player in the Premier League era to score an own goal in the Manchester derby. The centre-back was unsurprisingly substituted at half-time following an ignominious first 45 minutes.

His latest error will come as little surprise to consistent Red Devils' observers, although it does beg the question of why the centre-back was handed a new long-term contract in the summer when such fundamental failings persist in his game.

While Aubameyang and Salah have been in fine form recently, neither will be too happy with their performances this weekend.

Auba's Arsenal at least picked up maximum points, although his primary contribution was to miss a weak penalty, saved by Ben Foster, after Danny Rose had brought down Alexandre Lacazette.

The Gabon striker had a similar effort saved against Aston Villa a week before, although while the striker finished off the rebound on that occasion, there was to be no reprieve this time around.

Despite missing both efforts, Aubameyang will retain penalty-taking duties for the Gunners after receiving a show of faith from Mikel Arteta.

"He will stay on penalties if he is happy to do so," the Spanish coach told journalists, as per the Mirror, after the match. "You will miss if you take penalties, that is part of your career and the job and we will try to help him."

It was a frustrating outing for Aubameyang, who also received a booking, as he attempted three shots in total, but failed to beat Foster.

Thomas Partey played no part against Watford as he looks to recover from his latest injury setback [tight groin] although Ghana will be desperate to have him available for their World Cup qualifiers. Arsenal are now only two points behind Liverpool after the Reds were defeated away at third-placed West Ham United, with Salah again failing to score for the 2020 Premier League champions.

Only a fortnight after his hat-trick masterclass against Manchester United, the Egypt wideman has now embarked on an unlikely two-match drought in the top flight -- the first time this season he's gone two matches without scoring.

Including the victory over Atletico Madrid, Salah is without a goal in three matches -- the first time since March he's gone as long without netting.

The North African did earn the free kick from which Trent Alexander-Arnold struck a sublime 41st-minute winner, but this was not a vintage display from the Prem's top scorer so far this season.

Across the channel

In Europe this weekend, two Nigerian strikers -- Okereke and Dessers -- demonstrated their qualities in Italy and the Netherlands respectively.

In Serie A, Okereke heaped further pressure on beleaguered Jose Mourinho and his unconvincing AS Roma side when he struck a fine winner in Venezia's shock 3-2 victory over the capital club.

The Nigerian had earlier sent a delightful effort just wide and failed to capitalise despite being played in one-on-one with Rui Patricio, but he eventually secured all three points for the newly promoted minnows.

Again finding himself up against the Portugal 'keeper, Okereke duped the stopper with a little shuffle, and then slammed home to secure his third goal during an encouraging start to the season.

The 24-year-old is currently on loan at Venezia from Club Brugge, and while he has not yet represented the Super Eagles, he did feature for Nigeria at U-23 level.

Even more impressive than Okereke this weekend was his compatriot Dessers, who came off the bench to strike the winner for Feyenoord as they downed AZ Alkmaar 1-0 at home.

The goal was the striker's third in three appearances -- all of which were match-winners having come from the bench -- as he became the first Feyenoord player to score four goals from the bench in a single season since 1998-99.