The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) takes place in January and February, bringing us drama, high-quality football and the inevitable sound of managers moaning about absent players.

How many games will Premier League players miss if selected for the tournament? It might be more than you’d expected.

However, it will be the importance of Kepa Arrizabalaga being able to step up to become the Chelsea number one goalkeeper in the absence of Edouard Mendy, who has been absolutely colossal between the sticks for The Blues since he arrived last summer.

But the African Cup of Nations is fast approaching, and according to a report from The Athletic, players playing in this competition will be leaving soon after the final whistle on Boxing Day and some may not fly back until the second week of February.

Mendy and Ziyech could end up missing Chelsea important games. A total of six Premier League fixtures are doubtful, starting with Brighton and Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on December 29th.

This is followed by another home clash with Liverpool, an away trip to Manchester City and then a London derby with Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.

However, not just league fixtures that are under threat though. The Carabao Cup semi-finals, as well as the third and fourth round of the FA Cup are scheduled at the same time as AFCON.

Mendy will be off with Senegal, and Hakim Ziyech could be off with Morocco. It will be a great chance for Kepa to show what he can do though.

(Picture: Javier Garcia/Shutterstock/SIPA)

This is the full list of fixtures Mendy and Ziyech could miss here: Brighton & Hove Albion (h) – December 29, Liverpool (h) – January 2, FA Cup third round (tbc) – January 8, Carabao Cup semi-final second leg (tbc) – w/c 10 Jan, Manchester City (a) – January 15, Tottenham (h) – January 22, FA Cup fourth round (tbc) – February 5, Brighton & Hove Albion (a) – February 8, FIFA Club World Cup (tbc)

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