Arsenal, Liverpool and six clubs who will suffer most from AFCON in January

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With the Africa Cup of Nations on the horizon, Premier League clubs are bracing themselves for a very difficult January.

The tournament, which is going to be held in Cameroon, was originally scheduled to be held between June and July, however the Coronavirus pandemic forced it to be rescheduled to January 2022.

Many of the Premier League’s finest stars, including Liverpool'sMohamed Salah, Arsenal's Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, and Chelsea's Edouard Mendy, will be jetting off to Cameroon for the competition which kicks off on January 9.

Up to four Premier League gameweeks are expected to clash with the tournament’s running, and the absence of the division’s many African stars could have a huge impact.

Daily Star Sport considers the Premier League sides who will suffer most from AFCON in January.

Out of the so-called big six, Arsenal will be missing the most senior players when the tournament gets underway.

Club captain Aubameyang and midfield anchor Thomas Partey are the most notable players who will be absent from Mikel Arteta’s side as they will likely be representing Gabon and Ghana respectively.

Meanwhile, £72m man Nicolas Pepe will likely feature on the right wing for the Ivory Coast, while midfielder Mohamed Elneny will likely be called up by Egypt.

However, Liverpool will arguably feel the tournament's effects the most as they will be without their two main goal-scorers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, as well as much-improved Guinea midfielder Naby Keita.

Which team will be effected the most by the Africa Cup of Nations? Comment below

Salah is currently steamrolling the Premier League golden boot race with ten goals and six assists in 11 appearances, and his absence will be felt when he leaves to captain Egypt.

Mane will also be a huge miss as the Senegalese star has contributed six Premier League goals for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season.

Together they have been involved in 23 of Liverpool’s 31 league goals this season, and Reds’ fans will be ruing their absence.

Chelsea could also struggle during the AFCON months, as imperious goalkeeper Mendy will be away from the sticks, meaning Kepa Arrizabalaga will likely deputise.

Hakim Ziyech will also be away from Thomas Tuchel’s side, as he will likely be a huge part of Morocco’s tournament.

Defending champions Algeria will be led by a reigning Premier League champion, as Riyad Mahrez will be captaining Djamel Belmadi’s side.

The Manchester City star will be Pep Guardiola’s side only absentee during the tournament.

Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo will both be missing from Manchester United, as both stars will likely be selected by the Ivory Coast.

Tottenham Hotspur are the only team in the ‘Big Six’ who will not be affected by the tournament, as none of their players will be part of the competition – this could be a huge factor in their chances of finishing in the top four.

However, Watford are the team who will be worst affected by the AFCON.

Claudio Ranieri’s side will be without first team players Peter Etebo (Nigeria), William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria), Adam Masina (Morocco), Ismaila Sarr (Senegal), and Emmanual Dennis (Nigeria).

Their absence from Vicarage Road could be decisive for the Hornets who are fighting to avoid relegation for the second time in three years.

Crystal Palace will also greatly feel the effects of the tournament, as they will be missing Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal), Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana), and Jordan Ayew (Ghana).

Patrick Vieira’s side will also likely be without star winger Wilfried Zaha, however, his participation in the tournament was thrown into doubt by Ivory Coast manager Patrice Beaumelle who said the 28-year-old “wants to reflect on the rest of his international career” because “he comes home sick after each meeting.”

Below is a list of all of the players the 20 Premier League clubs will likely be without when the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on the 9th January.

1. Arsenal:

Thomas Partey (Ghana)

Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)

2. Aston Villa:

Mahmoud Trezeguet (Egypt)

Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso)

Marvelous Nakamba (Zimbabwe)

3. Brentford:

Frank Onyeka (Nigeria)

Tariqe Fosu (Ghana)

4. Brighton:

Yves Bissouma (Mali)

5. Burnley:

Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast)

6. Chelsea:

Edouard Mendy (Senegal)

Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)

7. Crystal Palace:

Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)

Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana)

Jordan Ayew (Ghana)

Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)

8. Everton:

Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Ivory Coast)

Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)

9. Leeds United:


10. Leicester City:

Daniel Amartey (Ghana)

Nampalys Mendy (Senegal)

Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria)

Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)

11. Liverpool:

Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

Naby Keita (Guinea)

Sadio Mane (Senegal)

12. Manchester City:

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

13. Manchester United:

Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast)

Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast)

14. Newcastle United:


15. Norwich City:


16. Southampton:

Moussa Djenepo (Mali)

Mohammed Salisu (Ghana)

17. Tottenham Hotspur:


18. Watford:

Peter Etebo (Nigeria)

William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria)

Adam Masina (Morocco)

Ismaila Sarr (Senegal)

Emmanuel Dennis (Nigeria)

19. West Ham United:

Said Benrahma (Algeria)

20. Wolves:

Romain Saiss (Morocco)

Willy Boly (Ivory Coast)

  • Premier League
  • Liverpool FC
  • Arsenal FC
  • Chelsea FC
  • Manchester City FC
  • Manchester United FC
  • Watford FC
  • Crystal Palace FC

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