Big Premier League Players lost to AFCON

Football Wednesday January 10, 2024 By: Duncan Hughes

Two years on from Senegal’s triumph in 2021, the Africa Cup of Nations returns, with countries all over the African continent battling out for the prized trophy. Hosted by Ivory Coast this year, the 2023 competition promises to be an exciting one. However, unlike the European Championships played in the summer, AFCON is played midway through the Premier League campaign causing headaches for many clubs who lose players called up to international duty. So which key players are Premier League clubs losing in this year’s tournament?

Liverpool will be without Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian superstar will once again be called up for the African tournament leaving Liverpool without their star player and the league without the top goalscorer. Salah has scored 14 goals and grabbed 8 assists in the Premier League so far this season, playing a pivotal role in Liverpool’s position at the top of the table.

His absence could be a huge blow to the Reds’ title hopes, especially if Egypt make the final as Salah would miss four Premier League games. Liverpool will also be affected by the Asian Cup with the loss of Wataru Endo to Japan. The defensive midfielder has been a key player for Jurgen Klopp and will also be another big miss in their fight for the title.

Similarly, Tottenham will also lose Heung-Min Son to the Asia Cup as he will be called up for South Korea. Ange Postecoglou will also be without regular starters Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr as they are called up to AFCON for Mali and Senegal. With Spurs very much in the title race, you can’t help but wonder how losing three key players will affect them and their good run of form having won four of their last five games.

Nottingham Forest will take the biggest hit out of the Premier League clubs as they will lose six key players to AFCON when the tournament starts on the 13th January. After the departure of manager Steve Cooper and the appointment of former Wolves and Spurs manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, they have been in good form.

Wins away at Newcastle and at home to Manchester United have seen them move 5 points clear of the relegation zone. With that said, could the loss of Willy Boly, Serge Aurier and other senior players be detrimental to their survival hopes allowing the teams around them to catch them up?

With Manchester City being the only team in the current top 6 to not have any first team players involved in either competition, could this give Pep Guardiola’s side a chance to fight back after a poor start to the season?

The Citizens have been in unusually disappointing form this campaign dropping points to seven teams including Wolves, Crystal Palace and Chelsea. The task at hand for Guardiola seems a big one this season, however, only 5 points off the top spot with a game in hand, AFCON may give them that chance to close the gap.

Ariel shot of the Emirates Stadium with the London skyline in the background

Premier League Hospitality

In the battle for European places, West Ham may have their hopes of another European adventure dented as they see two players depart who have played vital roles in their success so far this season. The Irons are currently 6th in the league but will be without Mohammed Kudus and Nayef Aguerd as the pair travel to their respective countries for international duty.

Kudus has scored 6 goals for the London side and Aguerd will be a huge defensive miss for David Moyes. The departure of both players could see West Ham struggle to match the pace of the other sides challenging for Europe.

With up to 46 Premier League players expected to be missing due to AFCON as well as several others attending the Asia Cup, how badly will it affect clubs? It may benefit some teams who have less absentees while for others it may give the opportunity for new stars to step up and make a name for themselves. Want to find out how the Premier League will be affected by the two tournaments? Watch it live from the best seats in the house with Engage Hospitality.

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