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November 28 2021 3.07pm

Which players will Palace be without during Africa Cup of Nations?

November 19 2021

Jeffrey Schlupp

Jeffrey Schlupp

The Africa Cup of Nations returns in January, which means almost all the Premier League clubs will be without some of their players just after Christmas, writes Sean Kelly.

Here is a look at the players Patrick Vieira will be losing during that period and how this absence may impact the Eagles.

Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)

Senegal international Cheikhou Kouyate has been in the heart of Vieiraís midfield this season and, once again, he is proving to be a very reliable figure. The 31-year-old is in his fourth season at the club, having moved from West Ham in 2018.

As a vital member of the squad, Kouyate has contributed towards Palace's current impressive standings. The club are priced at 13/8 odds in the Paddy Power football betting for a top ten finish this season on the back of some excellent early results.

Undoubtedly, the temporary loss of Kouyate for up to six weeks is a big blow. The Eagles boss does have cover in this area of his squad, but they will need to step up to the level Kouyate has shown if they are to continue their hot start.

Senegal will be one of the main contenders for the trophy in Cameroon. The further they go, the longer Palace will be without the towering central midfielder.

Jordan Ayew (Ghana)

Palace forward Jordan Ayew was named the Ghana Player of the Year in 2020. He is a huge figure for the national team and they will be hoping he can help steer them to their fifth success in the Africa Cup of Nations next year.

Ayew has played ten games in all competitions this season so far, though he is still waiting for his first goal. Nonetheless, thatís not to say he has not played an important role in Palaceís impressive attack. The Ghanaian has often had to settle for a spot on the bench this season as Vieira has preferred to start with Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and new summer signing Odsonne Edouard.

Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)

Any team in the Premier League would miss a player of Zahaís ability so this is the player who Vieira will struggle to replace for the time he is away.

Zaha has been at the top of his game this season. He has so far scored four Premier League goals from his opening ten games in the campaign. The three-time Palace Player of the Year will be playing in his third Africa Cup of Nations as he also featured at the 2017 and 2019 editions.

The loss of Zaha and Ayew will leave Vieira short in his attacking options. It could force him to change his formation, while there is also the option of adding to his squad once the January transfer window opens.

Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana)

Versatile defender/winger Jeffrey Schlupp has played 20 times for Ghana. He is not regular in their squad, but he has featured in 2021, which indicates he is in contention for a call-up to the Black Starsí squad. As Vieira will know, Schlupp can play in a number of positions which makes him a great asset for tournament football.

Good luck to all four of the above players at the African Cup of Nations. Hopefully at least one of them can help their team lift the trophy in Cameroon.

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