How much will AFCON impact Premier League sides?

Many football fans will be wondering “How much will AFCON impact Premier League sides?” ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) starting in January. The tournament will run from the 13th January until the 11th February, meaning there is a potentially large chunk of Premier League (PL) fixtures players could miss.

A number of clubs will be particularly affected by the tournament, as we analyse how current outrights and odds involving them could change.

Bryan Mbeumo of Brentford
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Potential players missing: Bryan Mbeumo (Cameroon), Yoane Wissa (DR Congo), Frank Onyeka (Nigeria)

Brentford are likely to be one of the most affected sides from AFCON, as two of their forward line are likely to go to the tournament. That would be top scorer Mbeumo with seven league goals this season, and Wissa who has three.

The pair have scored over 40% of Brentford's goals in the PL, and with Ivan Toney out through suspension too, they suddenly look very light up front. Toney has been linked with a January move away from the club as well, so a lot of onus will be on Neal Maupay to try and get the goals for the Bees.

Brentford are currently 28/1 ninth-favourites to be relegated from the PL, and do not look in any real danger of that happening, but if goals dry up, they are likely to fall down the table.

Salah is our FC 24 Premier League October POTM pick
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Potential players missing: Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

With Joel Matip of Cameroon likely to miss the rest of the season with injury, Liverpool are only likely to lose one player to AFCON, but he is arguably their most important one in Salah.

The winger has been a consistent source of goals over the last few seasons, and has 11 to his name in this campaign so far. With Liverpool chasing the title this season, Salah missing any number of games will be a big blow, and record seven-times AFCON winners Egypt will be expected to go far in the tournament.

Liverpool are currently 3/1 third-favourites to win the PL title behind Manchester City and Arsenal, and Salah is 5/1 second-favourite to finish as top scorer, behind Erling Haaland. Both odds would no doubt drift should Salah miss a significant number of matches.

Andre Onana
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Manchester United

Potential players missing: Andre Onana (Cameroon), Hannibal Mejbri (Tunisia), Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco)

Manchester United are likely to lose three players to AFCON, including number one goalkeeper Onana and midfield anchor Amrabat. Onana especially will be a miss, given that he has kept the joint-most clean sheets in the league out of all goalkeepers so far with six, and understudy Altay Bayindir is yet to play for the club since joining this summer.

Amrabat has also made 10 appearances so far this season, and his national team Morocco are one of the tournament favourites, so they will be expected to miss him for a few games.

United are currently 9/1 seventh-favourites to finish in the top four, and those odds may drift even further if Onana and Amrabat especially miss a significant number of matches.

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Nottingham Forest

Potential players missing: Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast), Willy Boly (Ivory Coast), Ibrahim Sangare (Ivory Coast), Moussa Niakhate (Senegal), Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal), Ola Aina (Nigeria)

Nottingham Forest could miss as many as six players during AFCON, and it would have been a seventh if Taiwo Awoniyi did not pick up an injury to rule him out of playing for Nigeria.

The majority of them are also defenders, and with Joe Worrall and Scott McKenna banished from first-team training, they are going to be very short at the back. Forest have conceded 30 goals in 17 PL games so far, with only the bottom three conceding more, so this many absences could significantly affect them.

The Tricky Trees are currently 11/4 fourth-favourites to get relegated, but those odds could shorten should they struggle defensively during AFCON.

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Adam Clancy

Adam is a lead writer on Football Whispers. He is a big Arsenal fan, and also follows his local club Wealdstone, made famous by The Wealdstone Raider, of whom he has interviewed. Adam also follows darts, boxing, cricket and tennis, among many other sports.