At the moment Chelsea is on top of the English Premier League table and are looking to clinch the title at the end of the 2021/2022 season, but at the moment there is no clear gap between the EPL top four teams who are still in the race, clubs like Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United are still very much in the race to clinch the EPL title. Chelsea is leading the table with 16 points, Liverpool is 2nd with 15 points, Manchester City is 3rd with 14 points, while Manchester United is 4th with 14 points.
With the club football going on an international break, the coaches will be hoping that the players come back to their clubs with a renewed sense of confidence as they approach the winter season, in the EPL the winter period is between December and February, this period is considered to be a very stressful time for teams because of the number of games they will have to play. During this time every team in the EPL needs their best players to deliver, it is said that any EPL team that can stay at the top of the English Premier League at the end of the winter period should win the league.
By January teams like Chelsea and Liverpool may be affected badly because they will lose their key players to the CAF African Cup of Nations competition, this may affect their team's EPL plans badly, let's check out the players and teams that will miss key players by January;
Mendy and Ziyech
UEFA Champions League title holders Chelsea will not be finding it funny by January because they will be without the services of 2 key players who will leave the club to represent their countries at the CAF African Cup of Nations tournament that is scheduled to hold in January, Chelsea coach, Thomas Tuchel will not find it funny because he will have to find a way for the club to function without the services of their ace goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy, and winger, Hakim Ziyech.
Mendy will be in goal for Senegal at the AFCON tournament in January and will be missed by his Chelsea teammates, Mendy is currently an important member of Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea team, he is the blues first-choice goalkeeper this season has played 6 EPL games out of 7 for Chelsea this season, he has also kept 3 clean-sheets for the club, he is Chelsea's last line of defense and has saved the team from concerning goals many times.
Ziyech will be on duty for Morocco at the AFCON tournament, although he is not a regular for Chelsea, he is also an important member of Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea team, and should players like Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, or Christian Pulisic be injured in January, Chelsea would miss the services of Ziyech.
Liverpool will be the club that will be most affected by the CAF AFCON tournament in January because most of their key players will be playing at the tournament, Liverpool coach, Jurgen Klopp will be without the services of Cameroon's Joel Matip, Senegal's Sadio Mane, Egypt's Mohammed Salah, and Guinea's Naby Keita, all these player are important players to Liverpool's first-team squad, player's like Matip who has formed a strong partnership with Van Dijk in defense, Mane and Salah who are the major source of goals for Liverpool, their absence could cripple the Liverpool team.
Mane and Salah
Matip and Van Dijk
At this time teams like Manchester United and Manchester City who will not be affected by the AFCON tournament could take advantage of the lapses these teams have in January to grab as many points as they can and capitalize on the situation.
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