The dreaded time for the majority of Premier League managers is just around the corner.
A plethora of African talent will be leaving England after Christmas to compete in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which is being hosted in Cameroon this year.
As a result of this tournament being rescheduled for the club mid-season due to Covid-19 disruptions, the decision that has been made to host the tournament in the new year has caused a lot of uproar from various Premier League managers.
The biggest losers from this decision that was made a while ago are Liverpool and Arsenal who both could lose a combined eight players between themselves due to this international festival of football.
Both managers have come out in disgust to explain their views on the situation.
Per Sky Sports, Jurgen Klopp said it was an “obvious problem” hosting the Africa Cup of Nations mid-season, suggesting clubs will be less inclined to buy African players who “won’t play for a month in January”:
He said back in 2020: “These tournaments are played by players, they don’t have a break! I feel massively for Harry Kane, he might miss Euros because of too many games. It is not easy. No one thinks of players’ welfare. All authorities need to come together to sort these things.
“No one talks to each other, they just make a decision. Ask one of the teams what they think playing another game.
“Everyone has reasons to keep competitions and bring in new competitions. That’s the problem. For us, it’s a catastrophe.”
Additionally, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta just like Klopp doesn’t understand the decision for the tournament to be played out during the busy period of the club season.
“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.”
Arsenal will be losing the important quartet of Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, while Chelsea will lose Edouard Mendy and Hakim Ziyech.
Tottenham are set to get away unscathed from the situation due to the fact that the Lilywhites have no African players in their squad.
With all of this in mind regarding the current nightmare presented to Arsenal and Chelsea, here’s how many games each player will miss for their respective team.
The tournament kicks off on January 9 with the hosts Cameroon hosting Bertrand Traore and Burkina Faso.
Fast forward from the group stages to the showpiece final itself which takes place on February 6, 2022.
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Furthermore, here are the fixtures the London duo’s players will miss.
Arsenal players at AFCoN will miss- Spurs (a), Burnley (h), Wolves (a) and potentially more or less depending on when the quartet arrive back post their involvement in the tournament coming to an end.
Chelsea players at AFCoN will miss- Man City (a), Spurs (h), Brighton (a) and potentially more or less similar to the Arsenal situation.