Africans Abroad: Eberechi Eze, Victor Osimhen begin to fulfil expectations

It was a weekend to remember for many of Africa's biggest stars in European football, with the likes of Victor Osimhen and Eberechi Eze delivering performances that had been expected from them since high-profile summer moves.

It wasn't all plain sailing for the continent's top players, however, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang proving that his penalty against Manchester United last weekend was a false dawn, and Ademola Lookman enduring ignominy from the spot that he'll be desperate to put behind him as soon as possible.

Osimhen had faced criticism in recent weeks, with his meagre goalscoring record since arriving at Napoli having received considerable scrutiny.

He was always going to need a settling-in period, as a 21-year-old player arriving at a new club in a new league in a new country, but, equally,the eye-watering €70 million initial fee that saw him move from Lille to the Italian Serie A was always going to weigh heavy on his young shoulders.

Leading the line for Napoli against Bologna, however, Osimhen impressed and netted the only goal of the game when he met a Hirving Lozano cross to take all three points.

The goal doesn't transform his scoring record dramatically -- he has scored only two goals in eight games in all competitions for his new club, but being the match-winner could do wonders for his confidence as he looks to settle at one of Europe's biggest clubs.

Including his assist against Genoa, he's now had a hand in a goal every 155 minutes for his new club -- an encouraging return -- and, perhaps remarkably for a player standing 185cm (6ft 1in), his goal was his first headed effort in a major European league.

- Marcotti: Liverpool and Manchester City look exhausted
- Ogden: Why more injuries and more games is no coincidence

- Olley: Arsenal's attacking woes deepen as Arteta seeks balance

Arsenal's victory over Manchester United in the English Premier League at Old Trafford had offered hope that the Gunners were back on the right track following an underwhelming run of form, and Aubameyang's penalty had prompted optimism that he could return to his best after his worst run of goalscoring form since 2014.

That promise of Old Trafford dissipated entirely at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, when the Gunners, bereft of the verve and dynamism that have characterised their performances under Mikel Arteta to date, were blown away by Aston Villa.

The Villains' previous 7-2 triumph over Liverpool was perhaps a freak success in a season full of bizarre results, but the same was not the case here, as the Londoners were outclassed, outfought and outplayed.

Aubameyang can't be blamed either for Arsenal's maddening desire to play aimless crosses into the box or the presence of a primary creator -- Willian is not that man, nor perhaps substitute Dani Ceballos -- but his application and work rate can certainly be questioned. Contrast his ambling, directionless display with that of Villa's Egyptian wideman Trezeguet, who deserves credit for pressuring Bukayo Saka into scoring a pivotal own goal.

Aubameyang now failed to score from open play since the opening day of the season -- against Fulham -- and his ongoing malaise suggests that something may be fundamentally broken, both for him and his teammates.

Thomas Partey, outshone by Douglas Luiz during the opening 45 minutes, was replaced at the break due to injury, and he will now miss Ghana's Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double-header against Sudan.

Cameroon's Karl Toko Ekambi was Lyon's outstanding offensive talent in October, netting doubles in the 3-2 victory at Strasbourg and the 4-1 thumping of AS Monaco as his team moved into the top quarter of France's Ligue 1.

This month, it may well prove to be Tino Kadewere after the Zimbabwean built on his impressive showing in the 1-1 draw at Lille with a brace as Lyon defeated Saint-Etienne 2-1 on Sunday.

Entering the field for Moussa Dembele as the match approached the hour-mark -- with Lyon trailing 1-0 -- the forward required just eight minutes to level the scores when he turned home a fine Maxwel Cornet cross.

He added his second nine minutes later, shimmying through the ASSE backline before firing home, and Lyon clinched bragging rights on derby day when Denis Bouanga missed a late penalty.

"I dreamed that I scored two goals in the derby," Zimbabwe's Kadewere told Telefoot after the match.

"We're very happy with the derby triumph, both for us and for the supporters."

It's pretty hard to make the genial Scott Parker angry.

Here's a man whose head was stamped -- twice -- by Mario Balotelli while in action for Tottenham Hotspur, yet he held his composure, dusted himself off, and even offered to shake the then-Manchester City forward's hand at the final whistle.

Parker was fuming, however, after watching Ademola Lookman send a weak panenka into the grateful chest of Lukasz Fabianski during the dying moments of Fulham's 1-0 defeat by West Ham United.

The miss at such a late stage, when a valuable point was in Fulham's grasp, must have been galling, and the nature of Lookman's fumbled penalty attempt -- you won't see many worse -- must have been sickening for a head coach whose playing career was marked by professionalism to the death.

"My emotions are one of disappointment, anger a little bit," Parker said after the match.

"He's a young player and when you are young you make mistakes, and you need to learn from them.

"That's where Ade is tonight. Anyone can miss a penalty but if you decide to take a penalty like that you need to hit the back of the net. He needs to understand that.

"He's been fantastic since he's been here; we'll see the character of him now as he'll need to dust himself down. He needs to learn."

Lookman, to his credit, took to social media to take full responsibility for his lapse in judgement, but Parker is correct that this will be a genuine test of his character.

There was always going to be a period of transition for Eberechi Eze as he swapped the Championship and Queens Park Rangers for life in the big time with Crystal Palace.

Still, the disappointment was reasonable when he failed to make a single decisive contribution in his first six outings for the Eagles having scored 14 goals and weighed in with eight assists in the second tier last term.

In fact, he hadn't been seen since the defeat by Chelsea before being drafted back into the starting line-up on Saturday, manager Roy Hodgson desperate for an impact after his side's limp defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers the weekend beforehand.

Hodgson certainly got a reaction, both from his team -- Jordan Ayew netted his first of the season -- and new boy Eze, who was at the heart of Crystal Palace's 4-1 victory over Leeds United.

Eze's corner led to Scott Dann's 12th-minute opener, and the Nigerian also earned and dispatched a sumptuous free kick 10 minutes later as Leeds failed to keep him under wraps.

Operating on the left side, he created two goalscoring opportunities and was a lively presence during a very pleasing Palace display, showcasing both the creative instincts and killer touch that make him such an exciting prospect.

While the likes of Eze and Osimhen have endured stuttering starts at their new clubs, the same can't be said for Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy, both of him have hit the ground running at Chelsea.

They both impressed again as Chelsea defeated Sheffield United 4-1.

While Mendy conceded, his previous run of keeping clean sheets in five consecutive matches in all competitions was the club's best since October 2010, during the reign of the legendary Petr Cech.

Ziyech, too, ended his goalscoring run, but the former Ajax playmaker nevertheless produced a virtuoso display.

The Moroccan provided two assists, and would have had a third but for Timo Werner fluffing his lines, and his six chances created during the match was more than any other player in a single game this season.

There were some questions about Frank Lampard when he allowed Willian to leave Chelsea on a free for Arsenal during the summer, but Ziyech is proving that it was a gamble worth taking.