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Africans Abroad: Traore masterclass underpins Ajax rout

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Ajax demolish VVV Venlo with league-record 13-0 win (2:00)

Seven Ajax players combine for 13 goals as they secure a record-setting win. Watch the Eredivisie on ESPN+. (2:00)

Several African stars were in action across European football again. There were some characteristically solid performances, but none more so than Lassina Traore's record-breaking showing.

Ajax Amsterdam broke a Eredivisie record on Saturday, when they dismantled VVV-Venlo 13-0 to register the biggest win in the history of the Dutch top flight.

At the heart of the triumph was Burkina Faso's Traore, who netted five times during a sensational individual performance.

Not only did the 19-year-old score five goal but he also weighed in with three assists -- moving to joint second in the Eredivisie scoring charts in the process despite not netting in his previous five matches for the Amsterdam giants.

While Ajax have long enjoyed a position of dominance in the Dutch top flight, Traore's haul is nonetheless a rare achievement; not since Marco van Basten in 1985 has a player netted five goals or more in a single Eredivisie game.

Similarly, Traore's hat-trick of assists -- overshadowed by his quintuple -- is the first time an Ajax player has set up three goals in a single league game since Frenkie de Jong in 2017, and we know what happened to him next.

These were meant to be exciting new times for Arsenal, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had ended months of speculation to commit his future to Mikel Arteta's new-look Gunners.

It was meant to be the defining moment in this exciting new dawn, yet five matches later Aubameyang is looking a shadow of his former self.

The striker hasn't scored since netting against Fulham on the opening day of the English Premier League season -- his longest run without a goal since November 2014, when he was playing for Borussia Dortmund -- and he missed a big chance late on as Leicester City claimed a 1-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.

In stark contrast to match-winner Jamie Vardy, Aubameyang lacks the intensity and hunger that characterised his performances during Project Restart, while his work rate -- never the most impressive even during the best of days -- appears to have dropped a notch or two.

"Since he signed that new contract, it might be a coincidence, but he's looked a shadow of himself," ex-England striker Darren Bent told talkSport. "He's missed big opportunities in games, he's not working with the same intensity, he doesn't look like he's enjoying it as much.

"Confidence is massive in a striker. It's [the same] with any player, but particularly with a centre-forward; when you're used to scoring as many goals as he is and then you suddenly stop scoring, it can be a little bit of a concern."

Arteta's tinkering with his side's approach and formation -- Aubameyang was shifted to the right flank against Leicester, with Bukayo Saka moved to the left of Alexandre Lacazette -- may also be contributing to Aubameyang's lack of a regular scoring contribution.

Similarly, Arsenal's broader approach -- they took just one shot during the second half against Leicester -- lacks the zip and dynamism they demonstrated earlier in Arteta's tenure.

Tellingly, Tottenham Hotspur talisman Harry Kane has had a hand in 13 league goals -- five scored, eight assists -- since Aubameyang last netted in the Premier League, and Arsenal have now lost three of their past four games in the top flight.

Victor Osimhen is naturally going to find himself the subject of extensive scrutiny having joined Napoli for $96 million during the transfer window.

He ended his wait for a first Napoli goal in a headline-grabbing performance against Atalanta on Oct. 17, but his performance was much less impressive against Italian Serie A minnows Benevento on Sunday.

The Partenopei ultimately got the win, courtesy of two goals in seven second-half minutes, but Osimhen missed two big chances during the opening 10 minutes and struggled thereafter to impose himself leading the line in Napoli's 4-2-3-1 formation.

He failed to hit the target with either of his two shots, and lost the ball on several occasions; this performance was a reminder of how far away he is from the finished article.

These are still early days for Osimhen at Napoli, but he may attract criticism from the domestic heavyweights' demanding fans unless he improves on a goalscoring ratio of one every five games.

The delight around Edouard Mendy's strong start to life at Chelsea is rooted, to some extent, in the fact that he is not Kepa Arrizabalaga.

So undermined is the Spaniard's standing in West London that Frank Lampard even deemed fit to register retired 38-year-old goalkeeper coach Petr Cech in his Premier League squad as emergency cover.

Mendy has kept clean sheets in his first top-flight outings -- the first Chelsea keeper since Cech to do so 16 years ago -- and his performances in the 0-0 draws against Sevilla and Manchester United in the past week have fuelled optimism that the Senegal stopper could prove to be a key figure in a successful Chelsea team.

He was particularly influential in the 0-0 draw against the Red Devils, denying both Juan Mata and, notably, Marcus Rashford, while patrolling his area with authority and conviction.

After four appearances, he's conceded just once -- averaging one goal conceded for every 360 minutes of action; that's a dramatic improvement -- albeit from a brief sample size -- on Kepa's average of a goal conceded every 77 minutes.

Mendy's footwork isn't as strong as Kepa's, and his passing accuracy of 74.3% is notably lower than the Spaniard's 81.8%, but apart from one wayward pass towards his own goal he was a refreshingly assured presence.

Particularly encouraging is Mendy's burgeoning understanding with Thiago Silva; the latter brings experience and leadership to the Chelsea defence, while the keeper's aerial quality and commanding presence help to compensate for the ex-Paris Saint-Germain man's smaller stature.

Together, they have brought calm to the Blues' backline.

Last season, Dutch-Nigerian youngster Joshua Zirkzee was Bayern Munich's shining hope for the future.

This term, Anglo-Nigerian Jamal Musiala is making waves in Bavaria.

Only 17, the youngster came off the bench to score his second goal of the German Bundesliga season as the reigning champions trounced Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 at home on Saturday.

Musiala played only two minutes in the league last term but already he has 82 minutes under his belt this term, and he became Bayern's youngest scorer in his first outing of the campaign -- the 8-0 demolition of Schalke 044 in September.

Born outside Frankfurt, Musiala has been capped at youth level by both England and Germany.

A graduate of Chelsea's academy, he moved to Bayern in 2019 and his form for the heavyweights' youth side prompted his debut last term, when he became the second-youngest player in the history of the Bundesliga.

Chelsea may be purring after the acquisition of the aforementioned Mendy, but, in time, they may need an inquest to understand how a magnificent talent such as Musiala was allowed to depart.

Bayern are unlikely to make the same mistake.

Legendary French side Stade de Reims -- European Cup finalists in 1956 and 1959 -- had been waiting 42 years for a Ligue 1 hat-trick when Senegal's Boulaye Dia took to the field last weekend.

Argentina winger Santiago Santamaria, in 1978, was the last player from the club of the Champagne region to have scored three times in one game, against ESTAC Troyes, but Dia ended Reims' wait for a top-flight hat-trick in some style as his side ran out 4-0 winners against Motpellier.

He opened his account in the ninth minute with a penalty he had won, scored his second goal four minutes later, and competed the treble with a powerful left-footed effort.

The 23-year-old, who made his Senegal debut in the 3-1 defeat by Morocco during the recent international break, has been one of the stand-out players during the early portion of the French Ligue 1 season.

His goals-to-shots ratio of one every 1.2 efforts through the opening six rounds of the campaign represents the most efficient finishing rate of any player with three goals, and he now has six goals in six outings this season.

He's currently atop the French Ligue 1 scoring charts, tied with compatriot Ibrahima Niane and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.