How AFCON 2023 and the Asian Cup Will Affect the Premier League?

How AFCON 2023 and the Asian Cup Will Affect the Premier League?

Premier League clubs may miss key African and Asian players for up to four games in January and February due to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. African players will be participating in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, while Asian players will be engaged in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

The potential call-up of over fifty Premier League players for these tournaments could significantly impact teams, with the likes of Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion possibly losing up to four players. In contrast, Newcastle United and Manchester City might remain unaffected, which makes the latter strong favorites to retain the league title in Malawi betting.

It's worth noting that the actual impact may vary, as some players may not be selected, or they could miss the tournament due to injuries. For instance, Nottingham Forest's influential striker Taiwo Awoniyi may be absent, but even without him, Forest could lose six players to AFCON – the highest among all Premier League sides.

The number of missed games depends on each country's progress, with players from teams exiting in the group stage or round of 16 likely to miss two Premier League fixtures. As most Premier League players at AFCON are from the top 13 ranked teams, a significant number may miss more than two games.

The key factor is not just the total count of absent players but specifically the kind of players teams will be without. Six AFCON-bound players, ranking in the top five at their clubs for both minutes played and rating, could be crucial losses for their teams.

Liverpool will certainly feel the absence of Mohamed Salah during AFCON. The last AFCON edition saw the Reds lose the talismanic influence of both Salah and Sadio Mane, as the pair progressed to the finals. Salah’s Egypt will once again be among Betway favorites to go all the way to the semi-finals. Brentford, losing key attackers Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa, may prioritize retaining Ivan Toney in the winter transfer window. Manchester United's Andre Onana, rejoining Cameroon, leaves a gap filled by Altay Bayindir, who is yet to feature since his summer move. Crystal Palace will miss Jordan Ayew and midfielder Cheick Doucoure.

Nottingham Forest faces defensive challenges, with Willy Boly and three other defenders at AFCON. While some absences might offset, clashes against Liverpool without Salah or Spurs without Son are less favorable for most teams.

Although clubs consider these absences when signing African or Asian players, FIFA could ease the impact by aligning the international calendar with AFCON and the Asian Cup. Premier League clubs likely have plans for these absences, but injuries may still leave some teams short-handed in January.

Players at these tournaments lack a winter break, potentially leading to accumulated fatigue affecting performances upon their return. The Asian Cup, coinciding with AFCON, will also see key players like Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan absent for Tottenham and Wolves, along with Brighton's Kaoru Mitoma. These are all key figures for their respective sides, and you can bet with Betway for these teams to struggle during their absence.

For several years, the Premier League and other top European leagues have had to make do without senior African players due to the unfortunate timing of the continent’s premier tournament. There are talks between affiliates to consider shifting the tournament to a more suitable time of the calendar.

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