The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations can make players in the English League who lose their competition feel like they have a windfall.
The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will take place in Cameroon from 9 January to 6 February 2022. Many stars in the Premier League are participating in the highest football tournament in the Dark Continent.
Premier League clubs will be distraught by the African Cup of Nations. Because, they have to release the African players to take part in the tournament.
Watford suffered the most because they lost five players during the African Cup of Nations. Then there are Crystal Palace and Arsenal who lost four players.
On the other hand, the passing of the African Cup of Nations can also be a blessing for a number of players who often sit on the bench. They can get a chance to play by replacing their teammates who participated in the tournament.
Here are five Premier League reserve players who have the opportunity to appear during the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s midfield is now relatively slim. However, they will also lose Thomas Partey (Ghana) and Mohamed Elneny (Egypt) during the Africa Cup of Nations.
That situation made it a blessing for Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The 24-year-old could get more playing time while Partey and Eleneny leave Arsenal.
During this time Maitland-Niles is often played by Mikel Arteta from the bench. The midfielder has only started four of 11 games this season.
Divock Origi (Liverpool)
Divock Origi has defended Liverpool since 2014. However, the Belgian player has never been the first choice in the front lines of the Reds.
Liverpool will miss Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane during the Africa Cup of Nations. The departures of Salah and Mane could make Origi appear more often on the field.
This season, Jurgen Klopp has played Origi in nine games this season. He managed to score four goals and two assists from these appearances.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)
Edouard Mendy has performed outstandingly during his time with Chelsea. However, the goalkeeper will most likely defend Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations.
However, Chelsea doesn’t seem to have to worry about Mendy’s departure. Because, the club based at Stamford Bridge still has Kepa Arrizabalaga on the bench.
Kepa, who used to often make blunders, is now looking pretty good this season. He was a Chelsea hero several times in penalty shootouts.
Kiernan Dewsbury Hall (Leicester City)
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall is a Leicester City academy player. However, the English midfielder still hasn’t had the chance to play regularly in the Foxes’ first team.
This season, Dewsbury-Hall has only appeared 12 times this season. However, Brendan Rodgers has often played the midfielder off the bench.
The African Cup of Nations may change the fate of Dewsbury-Hall at the King Power Stadium. The reason is, Leicester will lose Nampalys Mendy (Senegal) and Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria) during the tournament.
Matej Vydra (Burnley)
Matej Vydra has defended Burnley since 2018. This season, the Czech Rep striker has not been the main choice on the Clarets’ front lines.
Sean Dyche has played Vydra in 14 matches with one goal and two goals. From his appearance, Vydra only once for the full 90 minutes.
Maxwell Cornet is likely to go to the Africa Cup of Nations. It could create opportunities for Vydra to play more often.