Premier League teams face a crucial test with AFCON 2024: In-depth analysis reveals the impact of missing star players like Salah.

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, starting on January 13, 2024, poses a significant challenge for several Premier League teams as key players will be called up for international duty, impacting team dynamics and strategies.

The tournament’s timing, often a headache for managers, brings a mid-season shake-up, with only Manchester City and Newcastle United remaining unaffected.

Liverpool: Coping Without the Star

Liverpool v Newcastle United – Premier League – Anfield
Mohamed Salah has been in outstanding form for Liverpool

Liverpool face a major challenge with Mohamed Salah’s departure for AFCON.

Salah’s 22 goal involvements are critical for the team, and his absence is a concern for Liverpool, who are competing at the top of the league and in domestic cups.

Jürgen Klopp must navigate the period with other attacking players but without his primary goal scorer.

Notable Absences Across the League

  • Arsenal faces challenges without Mohamed Elneny, potentially impacting their midfield stability.
  • Nottingham Forest is one of the most affected, missing seven players, including key figures in their defence and attack.
  • West Ham will be without four players, including Mohammed Kudus and Nayef Aguerd, crucial for their offensive strategies.
  • Manchester United will miss first-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana, among others, leading to potential defensive vulnerabilities.
  • Wolves, Everton, Fulham, and others also face significant player absences, testing the depth and adaptability of their squads.
Player Club National Team
Mohamed ElnenyArsenalEgypt
Bertrand TraoreAston VillaBurkina Faso
Dango OuattaraBournemouthBurkina Faso
Antoine SemenyoBournemouthGhana
Frank OnyekaBrentfordNigeria
Yoane WissaBrentfordDR Congo
Simon AdingraBrightonIvory Coast
Nicolas JacksonChelseaSenegal
Jordan AyewCrystal PalaceGhana
Idrissa GueyeEvertonSenegal
Fode Ballo-ToureFulhamSenegal
Calvin BasseyFulhamNigeria
Alex IwobiFulhamNigeria
Mohamed SalahLiverpoolEgypt
Issa KaboreLutonBurkina Faso
Sofyan AmrabatManchester UnitedMorocco
Andre OnanaManchester UnitedCameroon
Ola AinaNottingham ForestNigeria
Serge AurierNottingham ForestIvory Coast
Willy BolyNottingham ForestIvory Coast
Cheikhou KouyateNottingham ForestSenegal
Moussa NiakhateNottingham ForestSenegal
Ibrahim SangareNottingham ForestIvory Coast
Yasser LarouciSheffield UnitedAlgeria
Anis Ben SlimaneSheffield UnitedTunisia
Yves BissoumaTottenhamMali
Pape Matar SarrTottenhamSenegal
Nayef AguerdWest Ham UnitedMorocco
Mohamed KudusWest Ham UnitedGhana
Rayan Ait-NouriWolvesAlgeria
Boubacar TraoreWolvesMali

Teams Unaffected by AFCON

Manchester City and Newcastle United stand out as unaffected, which could be advantageous in the league standings.

City, in particular, has managed to avoid the absence of key players like Riyad Mahrez, thanks to timely transfers.

Premier League’s Strategy Amid AFCON

Teams must strategically navigate this period, potentially exploring the transfer market for temporary replacements or relying on squad depth. The challenge lies in maintaining performance levels and league positions despite these significant absences.

Let the AFCON tournament begin!


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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