Which Premier League clubs will be affected most with AFCON departures?

Kwamena Egyir
By Kwamena Egyir
6 Min Read

The 33rd edition of the AFCON tournament would take place in Cameroon from 9th January to February 6th, 2022 with six venues across five Cities. A total number of 30 African players in the English Premier League are obliged to depart their various clubs to their respective national teams.

Clubs like Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brentford, Brighton, Burnley, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Southampton, Watford, West Ham United and Wolves are the 16 clubs that would be losing players due to the AFCON tournament.

The players in each club could miss up to one month of club football action if their national teams progress to at least the semi-finals of the competition. This would be a huge loss to the English clubs as some of their important players wouldn’t be available.

Premier League News Now takes a look at some of these clubs that could be massively affected due to the Africa Cup of Nations.

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Leicester City, who sit 10th on the league table will be the club that could be affected the most due to the AFCON.

They’ll be affected greatly because they will be missing Daniel Amartey, Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Namplays Mendy. All these players are key figures for Brendan Rodgers’ side though Mendy has lacked the majority of the minutes.

Amartey has been on fine form at the back in recent weeks and his absence could be a huge headache for the Foxes in the coming weeks.

Ndidi is one of the most important figures in Leicester’s squad as he is heavily involved in their build-ups, transitions as well as breaking up opponents’ play. They will have to cope without his absence.

Ihaenacho, who looks to have found his scoring form once again will be leaving the team as well and it could be an opportunity for Zambia’s Patson Daka.

In Pursuit of securing European football spots next season, they will need to cope and produce good results without these players.

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For Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp will need to solve a puzzle attacking wise to find the right players who would produce goals for Liverpool with the AFCON period in the absence of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.

The staggering numbers of Salah, the huge turn-up of Mane and the versatility of Keita will be missed by the Reds with the title race in full fashion.

A front three of Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi may not be as fearsome as having Salah and Mane available but going forward in this crucial time of the season, Klopp has very few options.
The last time Mane left for AFCON in 2017, Liverpool won just one of seven games.

Salah has been in a form of his life since the commencement of the season and has produced 16 goals in the English Premier League and currently leading the top-scorers chart in the league. Liverpool would be missing a key figure in their Premier League title race.

Another Premier League team whose case might be similar to Leicester City is Crystal Palace.

Patrick Vierra’s side will also be missing players both in the defence and attack of his team and a quick reaction would be needed to help his team maintain their form in the league.

Jordan Ayew, Wilfred Zaha and Cheikhou Kouyate are all off to Cameroon for the championship.

Brighton will be without Yves Bissouma, who was linked with a move away from the club prior to the start of the season. He’s a key figure in their midfield and will be missed a lot. He makes a lot of tackles for them, breaking opponents play and is among of the top 5 tacklers in the English top-flight League

Wolverhampton Wanderers is another team missing two key figures at the back. Willy Bolly and Romain Saiss will all be absent for this AFCON period.

For Chelsea, the only concern will be their goalkeeping department as Edouard Mendy departs to the AFCON but in recent matches that Kepa Arrizabalaga has been in post, he has commanded much more respect than in the past for Thomas Tuchel’s men.

Other teams like Arsenal, Aston Villa, Burnley, Brentford, Everton, Watford, Manchester City and Manchester United will not be affected as much as the above-mentioned teams may suffer.

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Here is a full list of Premier League players who will be participating in the continental showpiece:

Arsenal – Aubameyang, Elneny, Pepe, Rekik

Aston Villa – Traore, Trezeguet

Brentford – Onyeka

Brighton – Bissouma

Burnley – Cornet

Chelsea – Mendy

Crystal Palace – Ayew, Kouyate, Zaha

Everton – Iwobi

Leicester – Ndidi, Amartey, Iheanacho, Mendy

Liverpool – Salah, Mane, Keita

Man City – Mahrez

Man United – Bailly, Mejbri

Southampton – Djenepo

Watford – Sarr*, Masina, Louza

West Ham – Benrahma

Wolves – Saiss, Boly

(*Set to undergo knee assessment before a decision will be made).

The tournament kicks off on Sunday, January 9.

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