News

Which Premier League players will be missing during the Africa Cup of Nations and Asia Cup?


During mid-to-late January and into early February, up to 48 Premier League players will be away on international duty, thereby unavailable for their clubs.

That’s because, the Africa Cup of Nations is taking place in Côte d’Ivoire, with the opening game scheduled for Saturday 13 January, with the final in Abidjan taking place on Sunday 11 February.

Kicking off a day earlier is the AFC Asia Cup in Qatar, with the final of that competition on Saturday 10 February at Lusail Stadium.

Both competitions feature 24 national teams, so that’s 48 in total, with Asian teams naming 23-man squads and Africa sides allowed to name 27-man squads, so that’s 1,200 players from around the world all on international debut for, potentially, up to a month.

So, here’s you comprehensive guide as to which Premier League players will be away, how long they’re likely to be at either tournament for, and which club fixtures they’ll miss.

Arsenal

Which Arsenal players will be away?

  • Takehiro Tomiyasu: Japan.
  • Thomas Partey: Ghana.
  • Mohamed Elneny: Egypt.

Takehiro Tomiyasu and Thomas Partey are both currently out injured, but the pair are expected to join up with their respective national teams so, given that Japan are favourites to win the Asia Cup, Tomiyasu is unlikely to be seen in an Arsenal shirt for quite a while.

Mohamed Elneny will be less of a loss, having seen just 72 minutes of action this season.

Arsenal’s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Saturday 20 January: Crystal Palace (H).

26-27 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Liverpool in round three.

Tuesday 30 January: Nottingham Forest (A).

Sunday 4 February: Liverpool (H).

Sunday 11 February: West Ham United (A).


Aston Villa

Which Aston Villa players will be away?

  • Bertrand Traoré: Burkina Faso.

Bertrand Traoré has made just six substitute appearances this season, seeing a measly 43 minutes of action, so, having spent last season on loan at İstanbul Başakşehir, won’t be much of a loss.

Aston Villa′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Sunday 14 January: Everton (A).

26-27 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Middlesbrough in round three.

Tuesday 30 January: Newcastle United (H).

Saturday 3 February: Sheffield United (A).

Sunday 11 February: Manchester United (H).


Bournemouth

Which Bournemouth players will be away?

  • Dango Ouattara: Burkina Faso.
  • Hamed Junior Traorè: Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Antoine Semenyo: Ghana.

Of the above AFCON-bound trio, Dango Ouattara will certainly be a notable absentee, having featured in 12 of the last 14 Premier League matches, starting the last two at left-back.

As will Antoine Semenyo, who has started the last seven league matches, while Hamed Junior Traorè not so much, having struggled for game time under Andoni Iraola.

Bournemouth′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Saturday 21 January: Liverpool (H).

26-29 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Queens Park Rangers in round three.

Thursday 1 February: West Ham United (A).

Sunday 4 February: Nottingham Forest (H).

Saturday 10 February: Fulham (A).


Brentford

Which Brentford players will be away?

  • Yoane Wissa: DR Congo.
  • Frank Onyeka: Nigeria.
  • Saman Ghoddos: IR Iran.
  • Kim Ji-soo: Korea Republic.

First thing to note is that Bryan Mbeumo would be on the above list, but will miss Cameroon’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign due to the long-term ankle injury he suffered against Brighton earlier this month.

In general, Brentford are currently enduring a bit of an injury crisis, especially in attack, so losing Yoane Wissa, even with Ivan Toney’s ban coming to an end, is far from ideal.

19 year old defender Kim Ji-soo is yet to make his senior debut for the Bees, so Thomas Frank will probably be pleased if the youngster gains some valuable expirence representing South Korea at the Asia Cup.

Brentford′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Saturday 20 January: Nottingham Forest (H).

26-28 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Wolves in round three.

Wednesday 31 January: Tottenham Hotspur (A).

Monday 5 February: Manchester City (H).

Saturday 10 February: Wolverhampton Wanderers (A).


Brighton & Hove Albion

Which Brighton & Hove Albion players will be away?

  • Tariq Lamptey: Ghana.
  • Carlos Baleba: Cameroon.
  • Simon Adingra: Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Kaoru Mitoma: Japan.

First thing to say is that Kaoru Mitoma’s Asia Cup participation is under serious threat; he picked up an ankle injury against Crystal Palace last Thursday, so will be sidelined for six weeks, with Roberto De Zerbi claiming the winger is unlikely to be available for Japan, while Hajime Moriyasu is yet to name a provisional squad.

Tariq Lamptey has not featured since 25 November due to injury, but has been named in Ghana’s provisional 55-man squad, although it remains unknown if former Seagulls boss Chris Hughton will call him up all-together.

Given that Brighton have over ten players out injured, losing both Carlos Baleba and Simon Adingra is far from ideal.

Brighton & Hove Albion′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Monday 22 January: Wolverhampton Wanderers (H).

26-27 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Stoke City in round three.

Tuesday 30 January: Luton Town (A).

Saturday 3 February: Crystal Palace (H).

Saturday 10 February: Tottenham Hotspur (A).


Burnley

Which Burnley players will be away?

  • Lyle Foster: South Africa.

Anass Zaroury’s lack of club minutes has proved costly as he has not been called up by Morocco head coach Walid Regragui.

Lyle Foster meantime is back in the fold, after spending a few weeks on the sidelines to deal with a mental health issue, and is South Africa’s talisman, although Bafana Bafana are unlikely to go very far.

Burnley′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Monday 15 January: Luton Town (H).

26-28 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Tottenham in round three.

Wednesday 31 January: Manchester City (A).

Saturday 3 February: Fulham (H).

Saturday 10 February: Liverpool (A).


Chelsea

Which Chelsea players will be away?

  • Nicolas Jackson: Senegal.

Senegal are amongst the favourites to retain the Africa Cup of Nations, so Nicolas Jackson, who’s featured in almost 80% of Chelsea’s Premier League minutes so far, will be away for a while.

Chelsea′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Tuesday 9 January. Middlesbrough (A). EFL Cup semi-final first leg.

Saturday 13 January. Fulham (H).

Tuesday 23 January. Middlesbrough (H). EFL Cup semi-final second leg.

26-28 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Preston North End in round three.

Wednesday 31 January: Liverpool (A).

Sunday 4 February: Wolverhampton Wanderers (H).

Monday 12 February: Crystal Palace (A).


Crystal Palace

Which Crystal Palace players will be away?

  • Jordan Ayew: Ghana.

Cheick Doucouré will not feature for Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations due to the long-term Achilles tendon rupture he suffered against Luton in November.

Jordan Ayew is set to feature at a sixth Africa Cup of Nations, although his compatriot Jeffrey Schlupp has not been included in Chris Hughton’s provisional squad, which is good news for Palace.

Crystal Palace′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Saturday 20 January: Arsenal (A).

26-27 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Everton in round three.

Tuesday 30 January: Sheffield United (H).

Saturday 3 February: Brighton & Hove Albion (A).

Monday 12 February: Chelsea (H).


Everton

Which Everton players will be away?

  • Idrissa Gana Gueye: Senegal

Abdoulaye Doucouré has decided not to represent Mali at AFCON, despite only switching allegiance as recently as March 2022, so has not been included in Éric Chelle’s provisional squad.

Everton′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Sunday 14 January: Aston Villa (H).

26-27 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Crystal Palace in round three.

Tuesday 30 January: Fulham (A).

Saturday 3 February: Tottenham Hotspur (H).

Saturday 10 February: Manchester City (A).


Fulham

Which Fulham players will be away?

  • Alex Iwobi: Nigeria.
  • Calvin Bassey: Nigeria.
  • Fodé Ballo-Touré: Senegal.

With Tim Ream sidelined, the fact Calvin Bassey and Fodé Ballo-Touré are both going away, even if the latter has made just six appearances this season, leaves Marco Silva short of defensive options.

Fulham′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Wednesday 10 January. Liverpool (A). EFL Cup semi-final first leg.

Saturday 13 January. Chelsea (H).

Wednesday 24 January. Liverpool (H). EFL Cup semi-final second leg.

26-27 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Rotherham United in round three.

Tuesday 30 January: Everton (H).

Saturday 3 February: Burnley (A).

Saturday 10 February: Bournemouth (H).


Liverpool

Which Liverpool players will be away?

  • Mohamed Salah: Egypt.
  • Wataru Endō: Japan.

Almost inarguably, the best player at any Premier League club who will be going away is Mohamed Salah and, given that he’s scored 16 goals already this season, Reds fans will be praying for an early Egyptian exit.

Joël Matip is sidelined long-term but, regardless, he wouldn’t have featured for Cameroon either-way, most-recently representing his country in 2015, due to a falling out with the FECAFOOT.

Liverpool′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Wednesday 10 January. Fulham (H). EFL Cup semi-final first leg.

Sunday 21 January. Bournemouth (A).

Wednesday 24 January. Fulham (A). EFL Cup semi-final second leg.

26-28 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Arsenal in round three.

Wednesday 31 January. Chelsea (H).

Sunday 4 February. Arsenal (A).

Saturday 10 February. Burnley (H).


Luton Town

Which Luton Town players will be away?

  • Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu: DR Congo.
  • Issa Kaboré: Burkina Faso.

Marvelous Nakamba will not be going away next month, after his Zimbabwe were disqualified by FIFA during AFCON qualifying due to government interference.

Luton Town′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Monday 15 January. Burnley (A).

26-28 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Bolton Wanderers in round three.

Tuesday 30 January: Brighton & Hove Albion (H).

Saturday 3 February: Newcastle United (A).

Saturday 10 February: Sheffield United (H).


Manchester City

Which Manchester City players will be away?

  • Manchester City do not have any players going away to the Africa Cup of Nations or AFC Asia Cup.

Manchester United

Which Manchester United players will be away?

  • André Onana: Cameroon.
  • Sofyan Amrabat: Morocco.
  • Hannibal Mejbri: Tunisia.

Despite a high-profile falling out with manager Rigobert Song, André Onana has been called up by Cameroon, so Altay Bayındır will deputise while he’s away, despite the fact he’s still yet to make his Man United debut.

Amad Diallo was named in Côte d’Ivoire’s initial 54-man provisional squad, but did not make the cut, which isn’t surprising, given that he hasn’t played a single minute of competitive football since 16 May due to injury.

Manchester United′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Sunday 14 January. Tottenham Hotspur (H).

26-29 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Wigan Athletic in round three.

Thursday 1 February: Wolverhampton Wanderers (A).

Sunday 4 February: West Ham United (H).

Sunday 11 February: Aston Villa (A).


Newcastle United

Which Newcastle United players will be away?

  • Newcastle United do not have any players going away to the Africa Cup of Nations or AFC Asia Cup.

Nottingham Forest

Which Nottingham Forest players will be away?

  • Serge Aurier: Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Willy Boly: Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Ibrahim Sangaré: Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Cheikhou Kouyaté: Senegal.
  • Moussa Niakhaté: Senegal.
  • Ola Aina: Nigeria.

Taiwo Awoniyi’s long-term groin injury will preclude him from featuring at the Africa Cup of Nations but, even without him on this list, Forest have six players going away, the most of any club in the division.

Nottingham Forest′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Saturday 20 January. Brentford (A).

26-27 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Blackpool in round three.

Tuesday 30 January. Arsenal (H).

Sunday 4 February. Bournemouth (A).

Saturday 10 February. Newcastle United (H).


Sheffield United

Which Sheffield United players will be away?

  • Anis Ben Slimane: Tunisia.
  • Bénie Traoré: Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Yasser Larouci: Algeria.

Ismaila Coulibaly has not been called up by Mali head coach Éric Chelle, having made just a solitary appearance for the Blades this season, this coming in a Carabao Cup defeat to Lincoln.

None of the trio who are going to AFCON are particularly key figures for Chris Wilder, but they do leave the squad looking rather thin.

Sheffield United′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Sunday 21 January. West Ham United (H).

26-27 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Gillingham in round three.

Tuesday 30 January: Crystal Palace (A).

Saturday 3 February: Aston Villa (H).

Saturday 10 February: Luton Town (A).


Tottenham Hotspur

Which Tottenham Hotspur players will be away?

  • Son Heung-min: Korea Republic.
  • Yves Bissouma: Mali.
  • Pape Matar Sarr: Senegal.

Of all 20 clubs, Tottenham might just be most negatively affected by these international tournaments, not least because Son Heung-min, who’s scored 11 times this season, is amongst those jetting off to Qatar.

On top of Son’s absence, their first-choice midfield duo Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr will also be representing their countries over at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Tottenham Hotspur′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Sunday 14 January: Manchester United (A).

26-28 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Burnley in round three.

Wednesday 31 January: Brentford (H).

Saturday 3 February: Everton (A).

Saturday 10 February: Brighton & Hove Albion (H).


West Ham United

Which West Ham United players will be away?

  • Mohammed Kudus: Ghana.
  • Nayef Aguerd: Morocco.
  • Saïd Benrahma: Algeria.

Mohammed Kudus, who’s been exceptional in recent weeks, and first-choice centre-back Nayef Aguerd will certainly be noteworthy absentees for David Moyes.

Maxwel Cornet was named in Côte d’Ivoire’s provisional squad, but ultimately didn’t make the cut which, given that he’s made just seven appearances this season, totalling 120 minutes, isn’t too surprising.

West Ham United′s fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Sunday 21 January: Sheffield United (A).

26-29 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Bristol City in round three.

Thursday 1 February: Bournemouth (H).

Sunday 4 February: Manchester United (A).

Sunday 11 February: Arsenal (H).


Wolverhampton Wanderers

Which Wolverhampton Wanderers players will be away?

  • Hwang Hee-chan: Korea Republic.
  • Rayan Aït-Nouri: Algeria.
  • Boubacar Traoré: Mali.
  • Justin Hubner: Indonesia.

Hwang Hee-chan has been Wolves’ talisman so far this season, scoring ten times in the Premier League, which is 37% of their goals, so his absence will be a huge loss.

Luckily for Gary O’Neil, Mario Lemina’s Gabon spectacularly failed to qualify.

Justin Hubner is yet to make his senior debut, but has been called up by Indonesia head coach Shin Tae-yong.

Wolverhampton Wanderers′ fixtures during AFCON & Asia Cup:

Monday 22 January: Brighton & Hove Albion (A).

26-29 January: Potential FA Cup fourth round tie- subject to beating Brentford in round three.

Thursday 1 February: Manchester United (H).

Sunday 4 February: Chelsea (A).

Saturday 10 February: Brentford (H).

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".