Arsenal stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe and Mohamed Elneny could potentially miss four key games due to AFCON in January and February next year.
The Confédération Africaine de Footbal (CAF) have announced the groups for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) that is set to begin early next year.
Aubameyang’s Gabon and Partey’s Ghana have been drawn together in Group C along with Morocco and Comoros. Pepe’s Ivory Coast are set to face Algeria, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea in Group E, while Elneny’s Egypt find themselves in Group D alongside Nigeria, Sudan and Guinea Bissau.
African Arsenal stars could miss four big PL games due to AFCON
According to Football London, the upcoming edition of AFCON is scheduled to take place between January 9 and February 9, 2022. Players who go all the way in the tournament will miss over a month of football for their clubs, which is a blow.
Aubameyang will likely miss the fewest number of games if history is to be believed. Gabon have only reached the quarter-finals of AFCON twice, in 1996 and 2012, and with strong Morocco and Ghana sides to get past in the group stage, it does look like it’ll be a short stay for our skipper.
As for Pepe, Partey and Elneny, it won’t be a surprise to see them go all the way in the competition. That could see them miss four very important Premier League games for the Gunners next year.
Arsenal travel to Tottenham Hotspur for the North London derby on the 15th of January. We host Burnley a week later, before difficult away games against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea in the following weeks.
We all know how tough the two London derbies will be, especially away from home. However, the games against Wolves and Burnley – who were unbeaten against us last season – will not be easy either.
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These fixtures are subject to changes in the coming months, but as things stand, Arsenal have been dealt a big blow. Hopefully, Mikel Arteta can find a way to deal with this for about a month early next year.