African Cup Of Nations Starts To Bite: Which Premier League Clubs Will Suffer The Most?

Alan Duffy

6th, January 2012


By Alan Duffy

With so many gifted African players now plying their trade in the Premier League, the African Cup of Nations has become something of an issue for managers in the top division, particularly as it is held slap bang in the middle of the season – although, you could argue that the biggest critics of the competition should simply not buy African players in the first place. Problem solved.

Anyway, poor old Roberto Mancini has already seen Ivory Coast block his attempts to field Yaya and Kolo Touré in Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Manchester United, as the Ivorians want all their players present for a team meeting ahead of the ACN. Ever the cynic, wily old Sir Alex is apparently suspicious of all this malarkey and suspects that the Ivorians may well still play in the game on Sunday afternoon.

In particular, the loss of Yaya for the two-month duration of the competition will be a fair old problem for City, despite their big squad and deep pockets. That said, the likes of Nigel De Jong, Gareth Barry and James Milner should able to deputise and minimise the loss to some extent.

Cheik Tiote has been quite literally ‘head and shoulders’ above the rest this season

Newcastle have enjoyed a particularly impressive start to the season, but Alan Pardew won’t be looking forward to the temporary loss of Senegalese goal-machine Demba Ba and Ivory Coast midfielder Cheik Tioté. Indeed, the Ameobi brothers and Leon Best really don’t compare very well to Ba, while Tioté has been key to the Magpies’ good campaign to date. Therefore, the ACN could seriously affect Newcastle’s season.

Arsenal will lose the mis-firing, out of form Moroccan Marouane Chamakh along with Ivorian attacker Gervinho. Despite the latter’s habit of missing sitters, he has still added pace down Arsenal’s left flank and has the precious ability to dribble past defenders with ease. Gervinho has also set up five assists in the league this season so, for all his weaknesses (that’s ironically including his abject lack of physical strength), his absence may be felt by the Gunners.

Wherever his fivehead goes, Gervinho is sure to follow

Chelsea will lose two attackers in the experienced forms of Ivorians Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou. With Fernando Torres continuing to misfire, the pressure will be on Daniel Sturridge to proves the cutting edge, unless AVB makes a move in the transfer market this month.

QPR and Wigan are the only other clubs to potentially lose more than one player, although in Rangers’ case, with Adel Taarabt struggling and Armand Traoré still with much to prove, Neil Warnock’s side shouldn’t be hit too hard. On the other hand, relegation candidates Wigan may well struggle the most, with Mo Diame one of the Latics more consistent performers this season and Steve Gohouri another important player.

Here’s a list of the Premier League clubs who’ll be affected, and the players who’ll potentially be at the ACN. The player in italics are not likely to be involved in the tournament.

Arsenal – Gervinho (Ivory Coast), Marouane Chamakh (Morocco)

Chelsea – Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou (Ivory Coast), Michael Essien (Ghana)

Manchester City – Yaya and Kolo Touré (Ivory Coast), Adbul Razak (Ivory Coast)

Manchester UnitedMame Biram Diouf (Senegal)

Newcastle United – Demba Ba (Senegal), Cheik Tioté (Ivory Coast),

QPR – Adel Taarabt (Morocco), Armand Traoré (Senegal)

Stoke CitySalif Diao (Senegal)

Wigan Athletic – Mohamed Diamé (Senegal), Steve Gohouri (Ivory Coast)

Posted in International football

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  1. Tory says:

    spell check?

  2. Mr. Chopper says:

    No Liverpool..? Something something Suarez something JAZZHANDS.

  3. Scott says:

    I think Newcastle will be hurt the most. Losing their source of goals and their rock in midfield will be crucial.

  4. gamblino says:

    Steve Gohouri at Wolves?

  5. Alan Duffy says:

    @gamblino – good spot! Changed now!

  6. cill says:

    is sesegnon going

  7. Alan Duffy says:

    @cill Nope, luckily for Sunderland, Benin didn’t qualify!

  8. nick says:

    how has abdul razak got in the ivory coast squad bluddy hell. they should probably slow it down to every four years like the copa america, euro’s and world cup if its too hot to just do it the summer

  9. Alan Duffy says:

    @nick I doubt Razak will be going, but he’s mentioned only as a very outside possibility.

  10. Tinez says:

    We, Newcastle, are totally fucked.

  11. Redskywalker says:

    Thank goodness Sessegnon isn’t going, my fantasy team would be in shambles otherwise

  12. human.gps says:

    Spurs are smiling that Togo isn’t participating either…

  13. Nij says:

    Diao and Mame Biram Diouf did not make the Senegal squad

  14. Solihull United says:

    did piennar even make the south africa squad?

  15. Alan Duffy says:

    @ Solihull United South Africa didn’t qualify mate!

  16. Titus says:

    I feel obligated to point out an error… It is mentioned in the article that the tournament is a “two months duration”. I am certain that the ACN is no more than 3 weeks long. And many of these players’ countries will probably be eliminated well before then. So this issue of missing players is way overblown

  17. Steveo says:

    I disagree, this is NOT overblown. We saw today where The Oil lost missing the Toures esp Yaya in the FA Cup. It is bs that FIFA be able to force clubs to release players IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON, not an intl break, not over the summer, in the thick of all competitions. Gervinho will miss a match in 3 different competitions for Arsenal AND will likely return overplayed and exhausted. Africa are being greedy and stupid imposing on clubs and as one poster commented, the solution very well could be, no more signing African players OR we may see stars pressured to declare other countries i.e if Arsenal pressure Frimpong to represent England. I just pray that no injuries are picked up.

  18. Steveo says:

    To put it an ironic perspective, with all the competitions in which teams are currently involved, it is almost equivalent to the 8 match ban placed on Suarez.

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