All Premier League London clubs will be looking towards the new year with a sense of trepidation for one specific reason.
The Africa Cup of Nations is due to start on January 9, with Cameroon and Burkina Faso opening the tournament.
A host of players all across the league will be vacating in the new year to Africa for the tournament (subject to injuries) as Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez and Algeria look to defend their crown.
Amongst these players that will be leaving England after Christmas is the Chelsea duo of Edouard Mendy and Hakim Ziyech, with the Blues looking likely to rely on Kepa Arrizabalaga during Mendy’s time away.
Arsenal will be losing the important quartet of Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang which spells bad news for Mikel Arteta who has expressed his annoyance in the past about this upcoming international tournament for his key players.
“It’s something that we are talking with the club to figure out exactly the scenario we’re going to be looking at,” he told the official website back in January 2020.
“It’s not only us, there are many other clubs involved but I don’t know. They never ask those questions to us so I’m assuming that we’ll have to accept whatever comes.”
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace will be losing the likes of Jeffrey Schlupp, Wilfried Zaha and Cheikhou Kouyate to the despair of current manager Patrick Vieira.
Another club that will also be sufferers of this mid-season tournament is Premier League newcomers Brentford. The likes of Julian Jeanvier and summer recruit Frank Onyeka will be representing their respective nations at the Cameroon-based competition.
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London duo of West Ham and Tottenham are not going to take as much of a hit as other clubs from the capital, with the latter currently having no African players in the playing squad, meaning they will be completely unscathed compared to their league rivals.
Winger Said Benrahma will be away with Algeria but Arthur Masuaku is set to stay in the capital after DR Congo failed to qualify.