The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is a tournament played by African nations. It has previously taken place in January but starting this year has been moved to the off season and is being played over the summer. It started on June 21st and ends July 19th Just 3 weeks before the start of the premier league season.
There are 8 teams with no players competing in the tournament. These are; Bournemouth, Burnley, Chelsea, Man United, Norwich, Sheffield United, Southampton and Watford, whilst there are 19 premier league players competing in the tournament.
There are 6 groups of 4 teams and 16 teams progress from the groups to the knockout stage. These are the top 2 teams and the 4 best 3rd placed teams. Egypt and Senegal are the two favourites for the tournament. This article will go through every premier league player involved and discuss the implications the tournament will have on both their personal and their teams performance.
The groups are displayed below:
Group A: Egypt, Zimbabwe, DR Congo and Uganda
Group B: Nigeria, Guinea, Burundi and Madagascar
Group C: Senegal, Algeria, Tanzania and Kenya
Group D: Morocco, Ivory Coast, Namibia and South Africa
Group E: Tunisia, Angola, Mauritania and Mali
Group F: Ghana, Cameroon, Guinea Bissau and Benin
Elneny – Elneny has played half the amount of minutes that he did for Arsenal last season in just the opening two games of AFCON for Egypt. Egypt are top of the group with 6 points and are likely to stay in the tournament for most of its duration meaning he will be away from the Arsenal squad until late July. Elneny is priced at £4.5m in FPL, but he is unlikely to be an option for anyone’s teams as there are players at his price who will play more minutes, for example Stephens of Brighton.
Iwobi – Iwobi has started both of Nigeria’s games so far in the AFCON. They are currently top of group B with 6 points and will qualify through to the round of 16. Iwobi is yet to score in this tournament. Iwobi is priced at £6.0m in FPL this season which seems a high price for the winger. Arsenal’s current system does not really allow for wide players and so Iwobi could see his minutes managed as we saw in the 2018/19 campaign. However, if through pre-season there is a shift in set up then £6.0m could be a very cheap route into what can be a very lethal attack.
Ahmed Elmohamady – Elmohamady is a right back priced at just £4.5m in FPL this season and could be a real cheap defensive option where there are not many others. He has started both of Egypt’s matches as they top their group with 6 points, also contributing with one goal in this time showing his attacking threat. However, in the Championship campaign returned 2 goals and 7 assists in 38 matches, one every 4 games. He could miss part of Aston Villa’s pre-season as he stays with Egypt until the end of the tournament. However, this is unlikely to keep him from the start of the season and should not be a worry for managers.
Kodjia – Kodjia is £5.5m in fantasy and plays for Ivory Coast who are currently top of their group after just one match winning 1-0 with a goal from Kodjia. Kodjia is the only forward listed on FPL for Aston Villa, however, they have just signed Wesley for a club record fee who is likely to take the starting position in their 4-3-3 formation. Kodjia is therefore likely to remain on the bench and so even with his impressive goal scoring record he should not be a top priority for FPL managers.
Bong – Bong was an unused substitute in Cameroons opening group stage win over Guinea. Bong is priced at just £4.5m in defence from Brighton where he made 22 appearances in the 2018/19 campaign. Bong is a serious option for managers if he can secure a starting place in the team as even though he is away with Cameroon he will be rested well.
Balogun – Balogun was an unused substitute in Nigeria’s first match but started the second at CB. He is priced at just £4.5m, but is currently not starting for Brighton due to the partnership of Duffy and Dunk. He made 8 appearances for Brighton and is their 3rd choice CB and so if there is an issue with either Duffy or Dunk he could be a cheap way into their defence. He scored 1 goal in these 8 appearances and so does have some goal threat as well.
Zaha – Zaha came off the bench in Ivory Coast’s opening win in the AFCON. He has been moved back to a midfielder in FPL and is priced at £7.0m and now scores an extra point per goal and clean sheet. Ivory Coast have the potential to go very far in the tournament and so could return to the squad late with some fatigue. However, if he continues to be used only as a substitute then there should be no issues and it will keep Zaha on the ball and so should definitely be considered by managers.
Kouyate – Kouyate was a used substitute in Senegal’s first match and started the second as they are second in the group stage. He plays CB for Senegal despite being listed as a £5.0m midfielder for Palace. He made 31 appearances for Palace last season and measured just 3 assists in this time. This shows that Kouyate is not the best option for managers if looking for a cheap bench player, or a route into the Palace line-up.
Gueye – Gueye has started both matches for Senegal so far in the AFCON as they are second in their group. Gueye fills a similar role to Kouyate for Everton and priced the same at £5.0m. This shows that again, there are better options than Gueye for your FPL teams and he is likely to be fatigued as Senegal are expected to progress far into AFCON.
Ndidi – Ndidi has started both of Nigeria’s two opening wins in AFCON as a CDM, the same position he plays for Leicester. Ndidi is again a similar player to both Gueye of Everton and Kouyate of Palace, as he returned just two goals in the 38 appearances he made last season and is priced at £5.0m. Ndidi is the most nailed out of these three options if managers are looking for a cheap safe bench player.
Salah – Salah has started both matches for Egypt so far in AFCON playing 90 minutes in both. He scored in the second as they picked up maximum points and are top of their group and so continuing on into the round of 16. Egypt are favourites in the tournament and Salah is highly likely to return late from AFCON to pre-season training and this could cause fatigue. Salah is priced at £12.5m and even with these extra matches should be heavily considered by managers.
Keita – Keita has started one match and made one sub appearances in Guinea’s opening 2 AFCON matches where they picked up just 1 point. This means they are unlikely to progress to the knock out stage of the competition. Keita has recently started to find his way into the Liverpool line-up and an early knockout could help him fit in a strong pre-season and make his position in the team permanent. However, Keita is priced at £6.0m which is a stretch before knowing if he will make the Liverpool starting line-up.
Mane – Mane has started one match for Senegal who are placed second in their group having picked up 3 points. They are likely to progress to the next round of the competition and so Mane, like Salah, could return late to pre-season. However, there are still 3 weeks between the end of the tournament and the start of the season and it is unlikely that this will impact their performance in the league as Liverpool chase the desired Premier League Trophy. He is priced as an £11.5m midfielder.
Mahrez – Mahrez has started both wins for Algeria in the AFCON. He Scored in the first of the two matches. Mahrez is priced at £8.5m and at the end of last season was favoured in the line-up over Sane. However, it is yet to be seen who Pep will favour out of Bernado, Mahrez and Sane for the third forward position with Aguero and Sterling. He is showing strong form in AFCON which could help his case significantly for the start of the season and so is definitely one to consider.
Atsu – Atsu started in Ghana’s opening 2-2 draw in AFCON. He made 28 appearances for Newcastle last season scoring just one goal. This has earned himself a price tag of just £5.5m for a winger. This in combination with it being unclear as to who their new manager and whether Atsu will then get minutes, should cause concern for FPL managers considering Atsu.
Aurier – Aurier started Ivory Coast’s opening 1-0 win against South Africa in group D. Aurier is priced at just £5.0m due to the competition for places with both Foyth and Tripper who can both occupy the RB spot. However, if there are injuries to these players then Aurier should be considered by every manager. However, Tripper will have a much stronger pre-season as Aurier stays away with the Ivory Coast squad in AFCON meaning the chance he starts at the beginning of the season is low.
Wanyama – Wanyama has recently come back from injury and has started just one of the two matches for Kenya despite being one of their most high profile players. Kenya are unlikely to progress from the group stage having picked up one point from two matches. This means Wanyama will return to Spurs to make sure he is fully fit for the start of the season. He is priced at just £5.0m and is similar to the likes of Ndidi, however it is unclear if he will be played most games as he competes for places with Eriksen, Dier and Sissoko.
Masuaku – Masuaku has started just one of the DR Congo 2 matches so far in AFCON. They have picked up 0 points from these games and so Masuaku will be returning back to West Ham earlier than most others at AFCON to take part in pre-season.
Saiss – Saiss played at CB in Morroco’s opening group win over Namibia as they won 1-0 keeping a clean sheet. Saiss is priced at just £4.5m in defence for Wolves, However, Saiss is not a first choice CB and only makes appearances when rotation is required or injuries hit. This means managers will not be assured of starts.
Written by FPL Tipz (@FPLTIPZ)