AFCON 2017: Premier League loses stars to Africa’s Premier tournament
Riyad Mahrez leads a slew of African players representing their countries at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Premier League returns today after a week break because of the FA Cup and for the first time this season, it will be without some of its finest African exports.
As Leicester City host Chelsea on Saturday, January 14, they will be without their star forward Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) who leads a slew of African players representing their countries at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2017) kicking off on the same day in Gabon.
Only five clubs, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea City and Middlesbrough will not be affected by the AFCON 2017 with others set to lose 27 players to the tournament.
Sunderland and Leicester City have been hit the most with each club losing four players to the tournament.
According to an analysis of statistics by bookmaker bwin Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (Senegal) is the most player that will be missed by a Premier League clubsidde.
The forward has been impressive for Liverpool since he joined in the summer from Southampton, having started 19 games, scoring nine times and providing four assists.
Next player is Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha (Côte d’Ivoire) who has scored four goals and assisted 18 times in 18 starts this season.
Nordin Amrabat (Morocco) and Adlene Guedioura of Algeria who have combined 30 appearances are next on the list.
It will be a hard time for Leicester City without Mahrez and his Algerian compatriot Islam Slimani who have combined 44 appearances and 13 goals for the Foxes.
Sunderland players who have left for the AFCON have played a total of 35 games this season
The Premier League is, however, less affected than the France Ligue 1 while La Liga is the least affected.
Premier League players at AFCON 2017
Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City and Egypt), Eric Bailly (Manchester United and Ivory Coast), Mohamed Elneny, (Arsenal and Egypt), Arouna Kone (Everton and Ivory Coast), Brice Dja Djedje (Watford and Ivory Coast), Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace and Mali) Idrissa Gueye (Everton and Senegal), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast), Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City and Egypt), Dieumerci Mbokani (Hull City and DR Congo), Andre Ayew (West Ham and Ghana), Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham and Senegal), Diafra Sakho ( West Ham and Senegal), Kwesi Appiah (Crystal Palace and Ghana), Max Gradel (Bournemouth and Ivory Coast), Nordin Amrabat (Watford and Morocco), Adlene Guedioura (Watford and Algeria), Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City and Senegal), Wilfried Bony (Stoke City and Ivory Coast).
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