Several Premier League players, including Riyad Mahrez, are set to miss multiple fixtures for their respective clubs with AFCON just on the horizon. The competition is set to take place between 9th January and 6th February in Cameroon.
In form Mahrez scored his 50th goal for Manchester City in their clash against Newcastle United over the weekend. Pep Guardiola’s men bagged an eighth PL victory on the spin at St. James’ Park, with the Algerian winger wanting to maintain his form, entering in 2022.
“The most important thing is to be consistent, sometimes it’s not easy but we have to try to be focused every game and give everything. We know we have the quality to arrive at the end. We’re in a good moment and we have to keep it up and keep going.”
The winger will be one of the biggest names competing in the tournament. Being the winners of the previous edition, the Algeria captain will be looking for another title.
Mahrez absence due to AFCON could hurt Man City
The Algerian is likely to leave after the Boxing Day clash with Leicester City due to FIFA regulations, which state that the players need to leave their two weeks before the competition. The player could miss up to 7 matches if his team manages to reach the AFCON final.
Due to the competition’s group stage, the 30-year-old Algeria international will miss City’s PL games with Brentford (19th Dec), Arsenal (1st Jan), Chelsea (15th Jan), and Southampton (22nd Jan). He will also miss the FA Cup tie with Swindon Town (7th Jan). A victory would lead him to miss the following fourth-round fixture in early February.
Man City’s home game against Brentford (9th Feb) could also see the club miss Mahrez if the player reaches the AFCON Final. This comes due to the fact that the player will have to be in self-isolation after returning from the tournament.
Major Premier League players to miss club games due to AFCON
In comparison to the Cityzens, Liverpool, Chelsea, Leicester, and Arsenal will be hit harder. Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria) will be missed highly. Arsenal will see the absence of Thomas Partey (Ghana), Mohamed Elneny (Egypt), Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), and Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast).
Chelsea will be without their first-choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (Senegal). They will also be without Hakim Ziyech (Morocco), who has managed to get consistent starts recently. Amongst all, Liverpool is likely to suffer most without their attacking duo Mohamed Salah (Egypt) and Sadio Mane (Senegal). Naby Keita (Guinea) will also miss out.
With hindsight, the tournament could see a third postponement due to emerging cases of Covid-19 cases as a result of the new Omicron variant.
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