How the Africa Cup of Nations Will Affect the Premier League

The battle to win the English Premier League is a close one this season. Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all have short odds to win the title. It’s a busy schedule over the coming weeks but those betting on the title winners need to consider many factors. One includes the Africa Cup of Nations tournament that takes place in January and February 2022.

Sportsbooks will tell you that it’s a three-horse race between defending champions Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea. After the games played on Saturday December 11, City lead the table, a point ahead of Liverpool, with Chelsea a further point behind.

Liverpool won the title two seasons ago, the only time they’ve been crowned Premier League champions. Last season’s title defence was ruined by an unimaginable run of bad results at Anfield. That’s been turned around now, and the Reds just can’t stop scoring. 

Mo Salah and Sadio Mane already have over 20 Premier League goals between them.

Mo Salah and Sadio Mane already have over 20 Premier League goals between them. Salah is already a heavy odds-on favourite to win the Golden Boot for most Premier League goals. However, he’s Egyptian and January and February are not going to be about how many goals he can score for Liverpool.

Salah will be in Cameroon for the delayed Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Worse news for Liverpool is that Mane will be trying to win the trophy for Senegal.  Also, on his way to Cameroon will be Naby Kaita who plays for Guinea The odds on Liverpool winning the Premier League title may lengthen if, as expected, both Senegal and Egypt go deep into the tournament.

The tournament begins on January 9, so that means their African players are likely to play in the vital away game at Chelsea on the second day of January. One saving factor for Liverpool might be the FA Cup. There are two rounds of that competition scheduled for January.

Aside from the Chelsea game, Liverpool are also scheduled to face Brentford at home and travel to Crystal Palace in the Premier League. The hope will be that the African players might be back in time for the tricky home league game against Leicester City on February 9, three days after the final of the African tournament.

Sportsbooks have Manchester City as the favourites to win the English Premier League. Their fixture schedule isn’t as hectic as some of their rivals after being knocked out of the EFL Cup. They won’t be badly affected by the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Only Riyad Mahrez of Algeria will be making his way to Cameroon.

Algeria are the defending champions and one of the favourites for the 2022 tournament.

Algeria are the defending champions and one of the favourites for the 2022 tournament. Mahrez has undoubtable talent but he’s one of many players struggling to get first-team appearances with the English champions.

City have a difficult January with opponents including Arsenal and Chelsea. The latter comes in mid-January, and it could well be a good time to face the Londoners. If you want to be betting on the English Premier League, check out all the William Hill offers.

Chelsea made a strong start to the new season but have had some disappointing results of late. They will see Edouard Mendy and Hakim Zevich playing in the Africa Cup of Nations. Their January fixture list is not an easy one. Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham all must be played. They’ll be hoping that Romelu Lukaku can finally get back into the first team and start repaying that massive transfer fee spent in the summer.

West Ham United are in the top four at the time of writing this article but long odds at sportsbooks to win the Premier League title. They have no players who will be absent during January and February.

Their toughest game in January looks to be a visit to Manchester United. They did beat the odds and win at Old Trafford in the EFL Cup but lost to them at home in the Premier League. The Hammers should have made it into the Champions League last season, a top four finish will be their main aim this season.

All of which brings us to Manchester United and interim boss Ralf Ragnick. The odds on them winning the Premier League are high indeed with a gap of over 10 points to make up. Their target will be to finish in the top four and have a better second half of the season than the first. Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo will be off to Cameroon in January, that’s not the biggest of losses for them as they have a strong (if often ineffective) squad.

When betting on the English Premier League, December and January are always important months with so many games played. The Africa Cup of Nations is just another problem that must be considered, especially if you want to back Liverpool.

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Having worked in the marketing department at two online sports betting sites, John brings his love of sports to serve BigOnSports as chief writer. He will be researching and writing about the sports betting community to improve your experience as a sports bettor.