Africa Cup of Nations: Who is missing from Premier League?

(left to right) Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, Swansea striker Wifried Bony and Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb
There are 12 clubs without players because of international call-ups in January
Africa Cup of Nations 2015
Host: Equatorial Guinea. Dates: 17 January - 8 February.
Coverage: Live text commentary and reports on every game, plus all the latest news from the tournament, on the BBC Sport website.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure is the highest-profile name among 19 players departing the Premier League this month to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations or Asian Cup.

If Ivory Coast go all the way to the Africa Cup of Nations final on 8 February, Toure would be absent for at least five matches, including the top-of-the-table game against Chelsea on 31 January.

However, the 31-year-old could return for the trip to Stamford Bridge - having missed three matches - if the Elephants fail to reach the knockout stage.

Champions City are not the only side ruing the loss of key men to this month's two international tournaments.

Twelve Premier League clubs are without players who will be at Afcon - which takes place between 17 January and 8 February - and the three-week long Asia Cup, which begins on Friday. A total of 16 players are in Equatorial Guinea and three in Australia.

Champions League-chasing Southampton and relegation-threatened Crystal Palace are the hardest hit, having each lost three players who have played first-team football for them this season.

Palace will continue their battle against the drop without influential duo Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak, both of whom have played more than 1,600 minutes of top-flight football this season.

As well as crucial league matches, there is also a risk that top-flight clubs could be depleted for vital FA Cup and League Cup ties - although the length of a player's absence depends on how far their nation progresses.

Club-by-club - Premier League players set to miss games while at Afcon & Asian Cup
ClubPlayersKey stats (eg goals, chances created, minutes played)
* 2014-15 Premier League stats correct on 8 January
Crystal PalaceYannick Bolasie (DR Congo)1,688 mins; 26 chances
Adlene Guedioura (Algeria)45 mins; 38 passes
Mile Jedinak (Australia)1,617 mins; 5 goals
Kwesi Appiah (Ghana)Has been on loan at Cambridge
EvertonChristian Atsu (Ghana)70 mins; 41 passes
Leicester CityRiyad Mahrez (Algeria)1,216 mins; 23 chances
LiverpoolKolo Toure (Ivory Coast)551 mins; 16 tackles
Manchester CityYaya Toure (Ivory Coast)1,523 mins; 7 goals
Wilfried Bony (Ivory Coast)1,302 mins; 9 goals
Newcastle UnitedPapiss Cisse (Senegal)633 mins; 9 goals
Cheick Tiote (Ivory Coast)898 mins; 34 tackles
SouthamptonSadio Mane (Senegal)934 mins; 7 goals
Emmanuel Mayuka (Zambia)49 mins; 14 passes
Maya Yoshida (Japan)772 mins; 401 passes
Stoke CityMame Biram Diouf (Senegal)1,354 mins; 5 goals
Swansea CityKi Sung-yueng (South Korea)1,728 mins; 16 chances
Tottenham HotspurNabil Bentaleb (Algeria)848 mins; 635 passes
West Ham UnitedCheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)1,328 mins; 45 tackles
West Bromwich AlbionYoussouf Mulumbu (DR Congo)724 mins; 503 passes

The 'medical joker'

Teams competing in the Africa Cup of Nations had to finalise their 23-man squads on Wednesday - but there is room for manoeuvre.

Senegal boss Alain Giresse is still monitoring the fitness of Southampton midfielder Sadio Mane, despite Saints boss Ronald Koeman ruling the player out of the tournament with a calf injury.

Former France midfielder Giresse revealed he may use a "medical joker" - a provision that allows him to call up a player up to 48 hours before the country's first game (against Ghana on 19 January) - in order to give the 22-year-old the greatest chance of recovering in time.

Late withdrawals

There might have been significantly more Premier League involvement in the Cup of Nations but injury forced the late withdrawal of several players.

Diafra Sakho has scored eight league goals for West Ham this season and Senegal wanted to include him in their squad but the 25-year-old suffered a recurrence of a back injury playing against West Brom on 1 January and has not been included.

The Hammers might also have lost the influential Alex Song but after an on-off saga of whether he would play for Cameroon, the 27-year-old announced his retirement from international football.

Versatile Jeffrey Schlupp, with three league goals for Leicester, has pulled out of the Ghana squad through injury, although Kwesi Appiah, who has been on loan at Cambridge from Crystal Palace, has been included.

Newcastle midfielder Mehdi Abeid also misses out, withdrawing from the Algeria squad with a toe injury.

Some notable absentees from the Championship include Bournemouth's Tokelo Rantie (South Africa), Cardiff's Bruno Ecuele Manga (Gabon), Charlton's Frederic Bulot (Gabon), Sheffield Wednesday's Kamil Zayatte (Guinea), Wolves' Bakary Sako (Mali) and Middlesbrough's Emilio Nsue (Equatorial Guinea).

League One players away on international duty include Doncaster's Dean Furman (South Africa), Peterborough's Gabriel Zakuani (DR Congo), Swindon's Massimo Luongo (Australia) and Yaser Kasim (Iraq).

Domestic schedule during Afcon/Asian Cup
DateCompetition
10-11 JanPremier League
14 JanFA Cup third-round replays
17-19 JanPremier League
20-21 JanLeague Cup semi-finals first legs
23-26 JanFA Cup fourth round
27-28 JanLeague Cup semi-finals second legs
31 Jan-1 FebPremier League
7-8 FebPremier League

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