Manchester City appears to have a strategic advantage in the Premier League title race in January, escaping disruptions caused by key players participating in the African Cup of Nations and Asia Cup.
As top teams assess contingency plans due to the absence of their star performers, City stands unaffected, with no players heading to either the Ivory Coast or Qatar for the continental tournaments starting in January.
This absence of disruptions positions City favorably compared to rivals like Liverpool, losing Mohamed Salah, and Tottenham Hotspur, without Son Heung-min.
Liverpool, leading the table, will miss Salah, the Premier League's joint-top scorer, and midfielder Wataru Endo, who joins Japan. Meanwhile, surprise challengers Aston Villa lose Bertrand Traore, but Arsenal faces significant setbacks with Mohamed Elneny, Thomas Partey, and Takehiro Tomiyasu heading off to represent their nations.
Tottenham, coping with injuries, now navigates the loss of captain Son and midfielder Yves Bissouma. West Ham, in sixth place, suffers the absence of key midfielder Mohammed Kudus.
Struggling Manchester United, led by manager Erik Ten Hag, faces challenges with Andre Onana, Sofyan Amrabat, and Amad Diallo departing. Nottingham Forest, battling relegation, braces for the absence of six players, including Serge Aurier, Willy Boly, and Ibrahim Sangare.
Brentford, also struggling, loses Saman Ghoddos, Frank Onyeka, and Yoane Wissa. As the Premier League takes a break for the FA Cup third round, the impact of players participating in the Afcon and Asia Cup will become clearer, influencing team dynamics and strategies.