Will the ACON derail Arsenal’s Season in January/February?

Partey, Elneny, Aubameyang and Pepe will probably play their last game for Arsenal, if picked, on Boxing Day in December and then if they go the distance in the ACoN may not return to Arsenal until the second week of February and if Arsenal do progress on all fronts, as I believe they will, then that could possibly be a total of 10 games missed – if they return fit…?


Dec 28th… Wolves (H)Jan 1st…… Man City (H)Jan 5th…….LCSFJan 8th…… FAC3Jan 12th…. LCSFJan 15th…. Spuds (A)Jan 22nd… Burnley (H)Feb 5th….. FAC4Feb 8th….. Wolves (A)Feb 12th… Chelsea (A)

Two qquestions for you:

How will missing these four African Gunners affect the team?

How should the club mitigate for this temporary loss mid season?

By Allezkev

40 thoughts on “Will the ACON derail Arsenal’s Season in January/February?

  • Good post Kev.

    Key is for Xhaka to be totally fit again. He, Ainsley and Lokonga can carry us through. Maybe Chambers should play in midfield too during the period.

    Attack is a bigger challenge. Bring back Nelson? Buy a CF in anticipation of Eddie and Laca moving on in the summer?

  • For me, the greatest concern is the CF position. Beyond Lacazette(who is more of a 91/2) it does not seem we have a ready replacement. Balogun is clearly not in Arteta’s first team plans yet. Eddie looks like going. Who else do we have for this position?

  • Afternoon Gooners, hey Total, I hope you’re enjoying yourself back in the Old Country, what was the first traditional thing you ate when you got home that you can’t get here in the U.K.?
    Was it a pancake?

    Glad that my musing early this morning could help, as for the question, well TA accepting for unfortunates such as injuries I’d be hoping that the coaching and management staff have had contingency plans in place well in advance of the ACoN. The squad presently has room for two foreign players and one home player, but I’d imagine that everyone will be in the same boat as African players are a major component of every major league in Europe, so we’re all gonna be looking for short term cover.

    Xhaka’s recovery is vital because of the experience he brings to the job, we may also see a couple of debuts over this period, Charlie Patino, Salah Eddine, maybe even Omari Hutchinson on the right wing.
    Arteta will need to rotate in game with some imagination, to save legs especially with his 15 foreign squad members shrunk to 11.

    And what do we do if a considerable bid comes in for either Nketiah or Lacazette in January?
    That is unless Arteta wants them to stay and asks the club to make it happen?

  • Good comment Sunn, I reckon that the foursome of Lacazette, Martinelli, Nketiah and Balogun will have to hold the fort as I honestly can’t see a big move for a striker, that I suspect will come next summer. We could take a striker on loan especially if any of the four above are subject to a bid that Arsenal simply cannot refuse but other than that I reckon it’ll be make do with what we have.

    Liverpool will be losing Mane and Salah so I wonder what they’ll have planned?

  • Good question TA. The coaching staff must have already summed up their choices and I would anticipate that prior to the ACoN they will be using the players they have in mind to as subs to help finalize their choices.

  • The loss of Partey and Auba to ACoN are my biggest concerns. If everyone is fit, I think we have options to cover Thomas, including some of our FBs and CBs. Even Kola has been tried in midfield recently.

    With Auba being almost ever-present up-front, his replacement (if Laca isn’t available) is more problematic. Balogun, Martinelli and Nketiah need to be given more game time in the coming weeks and Laca’s situation needs resolving. Either they should open contract discussions now or take steps to a) identify a suitor in January and b) resolve to buy a viable PL ready replacement. That is unless the club is happy for Laca to leave on a free in the summer which you would think that they would wish to avoid.

  • I’m reading that Daniel Ballard is extending his contract by two years which secures his value and give the Coaching staff more time to assess him as a potential 1st team player for us.

    With the prospect of Saliba being re-integrated into our senior squad next season it’s looking like we may see some more churn among our centre backs next summer leading to decisions being made about the futures of Saliba, Ballard, Chambers, Holding, Mari and maybe Harry Clarke? It could all depend on the type of offers that could be made, if any, for those six defenders?

  • Here’s our latest team news ahead of Sunday’s match against Watford:

    Kieran Tierney
    Left ankle. Kieran sustained bruising to his ankle during the match against Crystal Palace on October 18. He is being assessed ahead of Sunday’s match.

    Granit Xhaka
    Right knee. Granit is making good progress in the initial stages of his recovery from a medial knee ligament injury sustained on September 26. The current aim is for Granit to be back in full training early in the New Year.

    All other players in the men’s first-team squad are currently fit and available for selection.

    As part of Premier League protocol, all members of our first-team squad and support staff continue to be regularly tested for COVID-19.

    Copyright 2021 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

  • Thanks for the team news GN5. So, Xhaka will be missing for the early stages of AFCoN and maybe longer.

  • TA, my opinion is that we missed a trick in the summer by not offloading Elneny and buying another center mid. Even if we werent able to sell Elneny we should have bought another center mid. I did mention this multiple times during the window. Now we do have to make do with Sambi and AMN. Even here we missed a trick by not integrating AMN earlier in the team.
    Thete is rumour of Dusan Vlahovic coming to Arsenal today in the Jan window. That would be huge if that happens and a good deputy for Auba when he is gone for ACON. It wil be intersting to see how this works out. Liverpool missing their front two are the worst hit.

  • GN5, I didn’t even realize a new thread had begun and had posted on the previous one. I shall just go over, copy and paste what I had there on here. Cheers.

  • Hi, guys. I shall only be putting up my predictions, for now. I have to be off to a program next week and have been handed a lot of pre-program work, which is quite demanding. I should be done in a couple of weeks and may have limited time to do much else. Bear with me.

    Manchester United v Manchester City A (1-2)
    Crystal Palace v Wolves. H
    Arsenal v Watford *. H (3-1)
    Everton v Tottenham. A
    West Ham v Liverpool. A
    AC Milan v Inter Milan *. A. (0-1)

  • GN5, not sure how you do it but you’re doing a fantastic job, keeping these records along with the scoring. God bless and keep you, man.

  • GN5, here goes:

    Watford H 3
    Liverpool A 0
    Newcastle H 3
    Man United A 3
    Everton A 1
    Southampton H 3
    West Ham H 3
    Leeds A 3
    Norwich A 3

  • The sooner the world football governing body(its) align the CAF Calendar with the rest of Europe, the better for the club’s who pay the players’ wages. There had been a decision to move the AFCON to the summer, like other international tournaments but it would seem the old order has been reinstated (I forget the reason now).

    The big miss would be Partey and Auba, the latter especially if we are going to be without Laca (sold) and Martinelli is still off the boil, as he appears to have been lately ….(and I do know he is coming back to form gradually). Could that be the reason we are going for Fiorentina’s Duran Vlahovic? I don’t know how good he is (but shall now begin to look out for Serie A games involving La Viola to check him out), so would have to go with Arteta’s judgment on this. If he proves to be as good as imagined, then midfield can cope with Sambi, AMN, Xhaka, if back and a support cast of Academy stars and capable CBs like Chambers, White.

    Unless there is a major injury situation, we are unlikely to miss Pepe and Elneny much.

  • Great comments to a thought provoking post by the King of Cabs. It’s clear that the ACON will impact us unless mitigation is put in place early January. Let us see how Mikel and Co will fix it.

  • Thank you for your complimentary comment Eris – the fact is that I enjoy working with numbers and it keeps my brain active. I understand fully that your assignment must take priority over our competitions.

  • I’m a bit sceptical about the Vlahovic rumours fellas, there’s an array of stories, mostly fictional, doing the rounds and all from the usual spinners of fantasy like Football.London, that doyen of the made-up transfer rumour.

    I’ve read in passing that Vlahovic has a verbal agreement with Man City, I’ve read that Arsenal met with the Fiorentina board in London and not only agreed a deal, they actually ‘thrashed’ out a deal – imagine that! I’ve read that we’ve agreed a fee and I’ve read that Tottenham will gazump us for the Serbian. I’ve also read that the moon is made of cheese (English cheese not Dutch btw) that Father Christmas really exists and that Elvis was last seen in a fish n chip shop last summer in Blackpool, so happy days. 😃

  • Interesting Total to see that Norwich are now only 4 points behind Brentford, the Bees running out of steam perhaps?

    Norwich are actually now only 2 points behind Aston Villa…

    How different things look from August…

  • Yes interesting scores today, including the Norwich one. Any team can take points of any team.

    I like Sean Dyche and the way he does not give up with Burnley. And who knows where it will end for them this season.

  • Yes Total, no easy games in the Prem, puts those draws with Brighton and Palace into perspective

  • U18’s won 1-0 at Reading

    U16’s beat Reading 2-1

    U23’s we’re losing 3-0 at Leicester.

    Scored 3 goals in 5 minutes to draw 3-3.

  • Miguel Azeez played an hour for Portsmouth in their 1-0 win in the FACup today.

    Yes Total, it seems that we sold Joe at just the right time when he was hot. Credit to Edu for that.

  • Kev, good post and question.
    TA might remember that many years ago at the old blog we frequented, I was attacked for criticizing the tournament. Of course you can imagine what they called me, lol.

    Today, I am only more ensconced in my selfish, incorrect views. So I’ll just say that as a football fan in general, the tournament is a great annoyance, even for teams that aren’t short in certain positions because of it. Annoying is the kindest way I can describe it.

  • More to point, how is or was the weather in Old Amsterdam?

    Yes J, the football calendar is increasingly filling up with more and more matches and in particular money making fixtures to fill the coffers of UEFA and FIFA.

    Personally I think, from a fan perspective, that international football has been trivialised, it has little or no interest for me anymore, but the players love it and to most of them it’s the pinnacle of their careers.

    As far as the ACoN is concerned, it’s an opportunity for Africans to see their hero’s live and that’s fine, I’m delighted for them, I just wish that the time of the competition could be in late May and June, but then the temperatures would be at their height causing health issues. Maybe evening kick offs is an option?

    Great result by Newcastle, yes Total just as we could be within touching distance of the leaders we face Liverpool… 🙄

  • Kev, the weather was mixed but I was in five different places last week, including South Amsterdam. It was great to see all my family and best friends, especially my dad who is still going strong despite his illness. It was great to watch footie games with him even though it was boiling hot warm! 😁

  • Need a win against Watford will be 6 points from the top 3 points more than Man U and potentially 3 points away from West Ham if they win theirs. Come on your Gunners, on the course to get 30 points by Christmas.
    Happy days

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