Odemwingie tames Wolves with hat-trick
Nigerian Peter Odemwingie rediscovered his scoring touch with a hat-trick as West Bromwich Albion crushed Wolves 5-1 at the weekend in a clash of English Premier League battlers.
Odemwingie, who missed several Super Eagles matches last year after rows with then coach Samson Siasia, had netted only once in his previous seven outings for the Baggies.
Togolese Emmanuel Adebayor was another African in top form, creating four goals before scoring himself as third-place Tottenham Hotspur routed Newcastle United 5-0 at White Hart Lane.
PETER ODEMWINGIE (West Brom)
The Nigerian striker scored his first Premier League hat-trick as Albion thrashed local rivals Wolves 5-1 at Molineux. Odemwingie opened the scoring in the 34th minute when his shot trickled under Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. He struck again in the 77th minute with a cool finish to put Albion 3-1 up and completed his treble with a typically predatory strike in the 88th minute. Odemwingie, who had scored just once in his previous seven matches, now has eight for the season.
EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR (Tottenham)
The Togo striker gave a masterclass as Tottenham routed Newcastle 5-0 at White Hart Lane. Adebayor, on loan from Manchester City, set up his side's first four goals for Cameroonian Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Louis Saha (two) and Niko Kranjcar. He then capped a superb display by scoring Tottenham's fifth goal with a powerful volley in the 64th minute.
AYEGBENI YAKUBU (Blackburn)
The Nigeria forward celebrated his return from suspension by setting Rovers on the way to a crucial 3-2 win over fellow strugglers QPR at Ewood Park. Yakubu had been sidelined for three matches following his red card against Fulham and he made up for lost time with a 15th-minute strike from Steven Nzonzi's pass. It was the former Everton star's 14th goal of the season.
STEVEN PIENAAR (Everton)
The South Africa midfielder bagged his first goal since his return on loan to Everton as the Toffees clinched a shock 2-0 win over Chelsea at Goodison Park. Pienaar, making his second appearance for David Moyes' team following his transfer deadline-day move, scored in the fifth minute from inside the Chelsea penalty area.
MICHAEL ESSIEN (Chelsea)
The Ghana midfielder suffered his first defeat since returning from injury as Chelsea crashed 2-0 at Everton. Chelsea had not lost any of the five matches Essien had featured in since his return from a serious knee problem but he came off in the 69th minute as the Blues produced a miserable display to slip to fifth in the Premier League.
YOUNES BELHANDA (Montpellier)
Making his first league start since returning from Africa Cup of Nations duty with Morocco, playmaker Belhanda broke the deadlock in Montpellier's 3-0 win at home to Ajaccio with an impudent, chipped penalty in the 53rd minute. It was his sixth league goal of the season, while victory briefly took Montpellier to the top of the table.
MAMADOU SAMASSA (Valenciennes)
Malian striker Samassa scored a stoppage-time winner to give Valenciennes a 1-0 victory over Nancy in their mid-table battle at Stade du Hainault. Valenciennes had knocked holders Lille out of the French Cup in mid-week but Daniel Sanchez's side looked destined to miss out on the three points against Nancy until Samassa pounced on a loose ball in the visitors' box to beat Cameroonian goalkeeper Guy N'Dy Assembe with a left-footed shot in the 92nd minute.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Saint-Etienne)
Aubameyang returned to action for Saint-Etienne at Toulouse after lighting up the Africa Cup of Nations for co-hosts Gabon and took little time to make his mark, netting the only goal in a 1-0 victory with a fine, dipping effort from 25 yards in the 71st minute at a snowbound Stadium Municipal. It was the 22-year-old's seventh league goal of the campaign -- all of which have been scored away from home.
MEHDI BENATIA (Udinese)
It was another disjointed performance from the Morocco centre-back, who has been out of sorts since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations. Last week he gave away two penalties in a 3-2 defeat at Fiorentina and this time around he was error-prone and at fault for the first Milan goal in Udinese's 2-1 home defeat.
DJAMEL MESBAH (AC Milan)
The versatile AC Milan midfielder and full-back has quickly settled in at his new team and made the left-back slot his own. He was unspectacular in the crucial 2-1 win at Udinese as he failed to get forward much in the first half. However, the Algerian was more effective that Milan's other full-back, Ignazio Abate.
MOHAMED ZIDAN (Mainz 05)
Egypt striker is enjoying a new lease of life after joining Mainz from Borussia Dortmund in January's winter break and has now scored in each of his two games for his new club. The 30-year-old needed just seven minutes to fire Mainz into a 1-0 lead at home to Hanover having also netted the week before on his debut at Schalke, but the guests' scored a late equaliser to share the points.
PAPAKOULI DIOP (Racing Santander)
The Senegalese produced a battling performance in the middle of the pitch for Racing, who managed to draw 0-0 at home to a much improved Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone, but they remain in trouble, third from bottom and a point from safety. Diop's tough tacking did see him receive a needless yellow card for a foul on Tiago Cardosa just after the half-hour mark.
AROUNA KONE (Levante)
The Ivory Coast striker has become a key player for Levante this season and his goals are one of the main reasons why the team are in among the European places, but while he scored against Real Madrid he could do nothing to avoid a resounding 4-2 defeat. They were always likely to struggle against Real at the Bernabeu, but Kone's strength and pace were a constant danger for the home side's defence and he got his reward with a second half header.
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