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AFCON 2017: Which Premier League team will be hit the most?

Friday 30th December 2016
The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is here again. It's that time when almost every Premier League managers will be sobbing over losing some of their best legs to their national team counterparts, possibly for up to a month depending on how far they go.

More than 20 players from the Premier League alone will certainly be making the trip to Gabon for the 31st edition of the biennial tourney. What this means is that an average of one team will lose a little above one player each between January 14 and February 5, 2017.
League leaders, Chelsea, will definitely be chuckling at their title rivals with all of Antonio Conte's players staying put during this period. Mikel Obi and Victor Moses won't be present after Nigeria failed to qualify for the competition. Similarly, Manchester City, Tottenham, and Swansea coaches have nothing to bother at this time with none of their lads leaving for Gabon.

However, three teams will be mostly hit with about four players certain to feature at the tournament. They include reigning Premier League champions, Leicester City, West Ham United, and Sunderland. Daniel Amartey, Yohan Benalouane, Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani will be unavailable for the Foxes while Andre Ayew, Sofiane Fehgouli, Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho will be away for the Hammers. Absentees for the Black Cats consists of the quartet of Papy Djilobodji, Wahbi Khazri, Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong.

The three clubs are closely followed by Stoke City, Watford and Crystal Palace with three apiece whereas Hull City have two players leaving. The other teams will lose just one player each including Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Eric Bailly (Manchester United) and Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal).

With the AFCON edging closer, here's a hint of how many players each Premier League club will miss.

LEICESTER - 4

Players leaving: Daniel Amartey (Ghana), Yohan Benalouane (Tunisia), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Islam Slimani (Algeria)

WEST HAM - 4
Players leaving: Andre Ayew (Ghana), Sofiane Fehgouli (Algeria), Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal), Diafra Sakho (Senegal)

SUNDERLAND - 4

Players leaving: Papy Djilobodji (Senegal), Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia), Lamine Kone (Ivory Coast), Didier Ndong (Gabon)

CRYSTAL PALACE - 3

Players leaving: Kwesi Appiah (Ghana), Bakary Sako (Mali), Wilfred Zaha (Ivory Coast)

EVERTON - 3

Players leaving: Idrissa Gueye (Senegal), Arouna Kone (Ivory Coast), Oumar Niasse (Senegal)

STOKE - 3

Players leaving: Wilfried Bony (Ivory Coast), Mame Biram Diouf (Senegal), Ramadan Sobhi (Egypt)

WATFORD - 3

Players leaving: Nordin Amrabat (Morocco), Brice Dja-Djedje (Ivory Coast), Adlene Guedioura (Algeria)

HULL - 2

Players leaving: Ahmed Elmohamady (Egypt), Dieumerci Mbokani (DR Congo)

ARSENAL - 1

Players leaving: Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)

BOURNEMOUTH - 1

Players leaving: Max Gradel (Ivory Coast)

BURNLEY - 1

Players leaving: Tendayi Darikwa (Zimbabwe)

LIVERPOOL - 1
Players leaving: Sadio Mane (Senegal)

MAN UNITED - 1

Players leaving: Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast)

MIDDLESBROUGH - 1

Players leaving: Adama Traore (Mali)

SOUTHAMPTON - 1

Players leaving: Sofiane Boufal (Morocco)

WEST BROM - 1

Players leaving: Brendan Galloway (Zimbabwe)

CHELSEA, MAN CITY, TOTTENHAM & SWANSEA - 0
Toby Prince

If the sport has 11-men on each side, a ball and lasts for 90 minutes then I'll write about it. Simply put, I'm an unrepentant soccer freak that other freaks will, however, call a geek. I do find time for music when not watching the beautiful game, though and have been known to produce the odd track. 


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