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Afcon & Asia Cup: Major Test for Premier League Clubs

Analysing the Impact of Afcon and Asia Cup on the Premier League

The Influence of International Tournaments on Club Football

The Telegraph’s analysis, which examines the impact of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and the Asia Cup on the Premier League, highlights a significant challenge faced by clubs during international tournaments. With key players leaving for national duty, teams must adapt to maintain their competitive edge.

Arsenal: Coping with Key Absences

Arsenal’s challenge lies in the absence of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny. Tomiyasu’s versatility and defensive strength are particularly missed, while Elneny’s role, though less pivotal, still impacts squad depth. The absence of Thomas Partey, albeit due to injury, provides a slight reprieve. However, with critical fixtures lined up, Arsenal’s depth and adaptability are tested.
Players Missing: Takehiro Tomiyasu (Japan), Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)
Fixtures: Liverpool (FA Cup), Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Liverpool, West Ham United

Aston Villa and Bournemouth: Varied Degrees of Impact

Aston Villa’s Bertrand Traore, with minimal season involvement, poses a lesser concern. The focus may shift to the possibility of using him more effectively post-tournament
Players Missing: Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso)
Fixtures: Everton, Newcastle, Sheffield United, Manchester United

Bournemouth, on the other hand, feels the absence of Dango Ouattara and Antoine Semenyo more acutely, particularly in their wide attacking options.
Players Missing: Dango Ouattara (Burkina Faso), Antoine Semenyo (Ghana)
Fixtures: QPR (FA Cup), Liverpool, West Ham United, Nottingham Forest, Fulham

Brentford and Brighton: Injury Crisis and Key Wingers

Brentford’s situation is exacerbated by an existing injury crisis, making the loss of Frank Onyeka, Yoane Wissa, Saman Ghoddos, and Kim Ji-soo more challenging. Wissa’s absence is particularly impactful due to Bryan Mbeumo’s injury.
Players Missing: Frank Onyeka (Nigeria), Yoane Wissa (DR Congo), Saman Ghoddos (Iran), Kim Ji-soo (South Korea)
Fixtures: Wolves (FA Cup), Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Wolves

Brighton faces the loss of Simon Adingra and Kaoru Mitoma, worsening their existing injury woes.
Players Missing: Simon Adingra (Ivory Coast), Kaoru Mitoma (Japan)
Fixtures: Stoke City (FA Cup), Wolves, Luton Town, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur

Burnley, Chelsea, and Crystal Palace: Managing Squad Dynamics

Burnley, without significant losses, can capitalize on this period.
Players Missing: None
Fixtures: Spurs (FA Cup), Luton, Man City, Fulham, Liverpool

Chelsea’s Nicolas Jackson’s departure puts additional pressure on their attacking lineup.
Players Missing: Nicolas Jackson (Senegal)
Fixtures: Preston (FA Cup), Boro (EFL Cup), Fulham, Boro (EFL Cup), Liverpool, Wolves, Palace

Crystal Palace will miss Jordan Ayew’s effectiveness, although the return of Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze could mitigate this loss.
Players Missing: Jordan Ayew (Ghana)
Fixtures: Everton (FA Cup), Arsenal, Sheffield United, Brighton, Chelsea

Everton and Fulham: Midfield Challenges and Defensive Gaps

Everton’s loss of Idrissa Gana Gueye affects their midfield dynamics.
Players Missing: Idrissa Gana Gueye (Senegal)
Fixtures: Aston Villa, Fulham, Tottenham, Manchester City

Fulham must contend with the absence of Calvin Bassey, Alex Iwobi, and Fode Ballo-Toure. Bassey’s defensive prowess and Iwobi’s attacking contributions are significant losses.
Players Missing: Calvin Bassey (Nigeria), Alex Iwobi (Nigeria), Fode Ballo-Toure (Senegal)
Fixtures: Rotherham (FA Cup), Liverpool (League Cup), Chelsea, Liverpool (League Cup), Everton, Burnley, Bournemouth

Liverpool: Navigating Without Salah and Endo

Liverpool, losing Mohamed Salah, faces a more substantial challenge. Salah’s influence and goal-scoring prowess are integral to Liverpool’s attacking threat. The club’s ability to sustain momentum without one of their star players is crucial in the title race.  Liverpool’s task of maintaining their competitive edge without Salah and Wataru Endo is daunting. Klopp must rely on Diogo Jota and other squad members to fill the void.
Players Missing: Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Wataru Endo (Japan)
Fixtures: Arsenal (FA Cup) Bournemouth, Fulham (Carabao Cup, two legs), Chelsea, Arsenal, Burnley

Luton Town, Manchester City, and Manchester United: Diverse Effects

Luton Town’s Issa Kabore’s absence is a blow.
Players Missing: Issa Kabore (Burkina Faso)
Fixtures: Bolton (FA Cup), Burnley, Brighton, Newcastle United, Sheffield United

Manchester City, unaffected by the tournaments, maintain a stable squad.
Players Missing: None
Fixtures: Huddersfield (FA Cup), Newcastle, Burnley, Brentford, Everton

Manchester United lose Sofyan Amrabat and Andre Onana, posing challenges in defensive midfield and goalkeeping.
Players Missing: Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco), Andre Onana (Cameroon)
Fixtures: Wigan (FA Cup), Spurs, Wolves, West Ham, Villa

Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest: Contrasting Fortunes

Newcastle United remain unaffected, giving them an edge in this period.
Players Missing: None
Fixtures: Manchester City, Aston Villa, Luton Town, Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest’s squad depth is tested with the absence of six key players. Nuno Espirito Santo faces a challenging period, especially in games against Arsenal and Newcastle.
Players Missing: Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast), Willy Boly (Ivory Coast), Ibrahim Sangare (Ivory Coast), Ola Aina (Nigeria), Cheikou Kouyate (Senegal), Moussa Niakhate (Senegal)
Fixtures: Brentford, Arsenal, Bournemouth, Newcastle United

Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur: Strategic Adjustments Needed

Sheffield United must adapt without Yasser Larouci and Anis Ben Slimane.
Players Missing: Yasser Larouci (Algeria), Anis Ben Slimane (Tunisia)
Fixtures: Gillingham (FA Cup), West Ham, Palace, Villa, Luton

Tottenham’s loss of Son Heung-min, Pape Sarr, and Yves Bissouma poses significant midfield and attacking challenges.
Players Missing: Son Heung-min (South Korea), Pape Sarr (Senegal), Yves Bissouma (Mali)
Fixtures: Burnley (FA Cup), Manchester United, Brentford, Everton, Brighton

West Ham United and Wolves: Adapting to Key Losses

West Ham’s Mohammed Kudus and Nayef Aguerd are crucial absences.
Players Missing: Mohammed Kudus (Ghana), Nayef Aguerd (Morocco)
Fixtures: Bristol City (FA Cup), Sheffield United, Bournemouth, Manchester United, Arsenal

Wolves will miss Rayan Ait-Nouri, Boubacar Traore, Hwang Hee-chan, and Justin Hubner, affecting their attacking and defensive setups.
Players Missing: Rayan Ait-Nouri (Algeria), Boubacar Traore (Mali), Hwang Hee-chan (South Korea), Justin Hubner (Indonesia)
Fixtures: Brentford (FA Cup), Brighton, Man Utd, Chelsea, Brentford

Conclusion

The Afcon and Asia Cup significantly impact the Premier League, with teams like Arsenal, Liverpool, and others facing strategic challenges. How clubs navigate these absences could be pivotal in the title race and relegation battles, underscoring the importance of squad depth and adaptability in modern football.

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