Absent players ensure African Nations Cup can impact on the Premier League

The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations gets underway in South Africa on 19th January and a number of Premier League clubs will be without several of their star players for the best part of a month. Many of the players are en-route to South Africa ahead of the tournament, which concludes with the final on 10th February.

Tournament hosts, South Africa, are currently 8/1 to win the tournament outright with PaddyPower but it is Ivory Coast who are 13/8 favourites. The Ivory Coast have plundered a number of the Premier League teams for players and it could have an influential impact on the outcome of this year's top division in England....

TeamPlayers at African Nations Cup Impact?
ArsenalGervinho (Ivory Coast)The much-maligned Gervinho is the only Arsenal player to receive a call-up to South Africa and the misfiring striker is unlikely to be missed by most Gunners fans. He has gone 12 games without a goal and has struggled for form all season.
Aston VillaKarim El Ahmadi (Morocco)A youthful Villa squad is woefully short of experience and El Ahmadi's call-up by Morocco is a blow. The midfielder has played in 18 matches this season, although he has been overlooked by Paul Lambert in recent matches.
ChelseaJohn Obi Mikel (Nigeria), Victor Moses (Nigeria)Nigeria have called up two of Chelsea's players and it could have a significant impact on their season. Mikel has been used as the midfield linchpin, while Moses has been increasingly influential under Rafa Benitez. They could miss as many as six league games, as well as the Capital One Cup semi-finals with Swansea, depending on how far Nigeria progress in South Africa.
EvertonNoneSteven Pienaar's retirement from international football ensures he will remain on Merseyside.
FulhamMahamadou Diarra (Mali)The loss of Diarra is a blow to an already small Fulham squad, although his appearances for the Cottagers have been limited of late and his absence should not be felt too keenly by Martin Jol.
LiverpoolOussama Assaidi (Morocco)Liverpool's only absentee will be Oussama Assaidi and the young winger has found first-team football hard to come by at Anfield. He has made just three league appearances all season and could find himself further down the pecking order when he returns from South Africa.
Manchester CityYaya Toure (Ivory Coast) Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast), Abdul Razak (Ivory Coast)The African Nations Cup looks likely to effect the Premier League champions most significantly. The loss of Kolo Toure and Abdul Razak is manageable as they have been on the fringes all season but the absence of Yaya Toure could prove disastrous. The big Ivorian remains their driving force and his presence in South Africa could provide Manchester United with crucial impetus in the title-race.
Manchester UnitedNoneSir Alex Ferguson will be hoping Ivory Coast go all the way to the final, thus ensuring City are without Yaya Toure for as long as possible.
NewcastleCheick Tiote (Ivory Coast)A struggling Newcastle side will be dealt a massive blow by the loss of Cheick Tiote, who could potentially be away for a significant period of time if Ivory Coast perform well. It leaves a gaping hole in the Magpies midfield as they battle to avoid relegation. That news is tempered by the fact Shola Ameobi has been overlooked by Nigeria after he ignored their phone calls, while Papiss Cisse will remain after Senegal failed to qualify for South Africa.
NorwichNoneChris Hughton is boosted by the fact Cameroon failed to qualify so Sebastian Bassong remains in East Anglia.
QPRSamba Diakite (Mali)Harry Redknapp should be able to cope comfortably with the loss of Diakite, while he will have been delighted to hear that Morocco have overlooked the controversial, but influential, playmaker Adel Taarabt as they bid to avoid relegation.
ReadingNoneReading's survival hopes are boosted by the knowledge that Jimmy Kebe failed to make the Mali squad.
SouthamptonEmmanuel Mayuka (Mali)Mayuka has failed to score in eight appearances for the Saints since joining from Young Boys and Nigel Adkins will be confident he can cope with his absence.
StokeNoneUnaffected, but they do have fixtures coming up against clubs missing African players, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Wigan.
SunderlandNoneSunderland's survival hopes will be aided by the fact that Stephane Sessegnon's Benin failed to qualify for South Africa.
SwanseaNoneUnaffected, but they will hope Chelsea are without Mikel and Moses for both legs of their Capital One Cup semi-final.
TottenhamEmmanuel Adebayor (Togo)Adebayor has received a call-up from Togo but the striker is yet to decide whether to travel to South Africa due to concerns over team security. Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas has left the final decision to Adebayor, whose form has been patchy at best as he has scored just three goals all season.
West BromYoussuf Mulumbu (Congo)Steve Clarke will have to do without Mulumbu after his call-up by Congo. Mulumbu has proven to be an important figure in midfield but Clarke will be confident he can cope and the manager was further boosted by the news that Peter Odemwingie has been left out of the Nigeria squad.
West HamModibo Maiga (Mali)The Mali striker has proven to be a useful performer for the Hammers off the bench. He has been limited to substitute appearances mainly, scoring four goals, but he could find himself down the pecking order at Upton Park with Andy Carroll and Ricardo Vaz Te coming back to full fitness, while loanee Marouane Chamakh has been overlooked by Morocco.
WiganArouna Kone (Ivory Coast)Arouna Kone is potentially one of the most damaging losses to the Africa Cup of Nations. The Ivorian striker has weighed in with six goals and his absence does nothing for Wigan's survival hopes. Roberto Martinez will need Angelo Henriquez, on loan from Man United, to hit the ground running.

Latest 2012/13 Africa Cup of Nations Odds

13/8 Ivory Coast
7/1 Ghana
8/1 South Africa
8/1 Nigeria
12/1 Zambia
12/1 Algeria
14/1 Mali
14/1 Tunisia
16/1 Morocco
33/1 Angola
33/1 Burkina Faso
40/1 BAR

Odds supplied by PaddyPower.com, who provide live betting in-running for all Africa Nations Cup matches.

Posted: Monday, 7th January 2013
Author: Chris James

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