The field for the 2013 African Cup of Nations is set, so now seems like as good a time as any to take a look at how the 2013 version of the tournament will impact Chelsea FC. The group stage is scheduled to begin on January 19, 2013 and the final will be played February 10, 2013. Chelsea have four Premier League fixtures during that time frame, they are as follows:
- Chelsea vs. Arsenal - January 19, 2013
- Reading vs. Chelsea - January 29, 2013
- Newcastle vs. Chelsea - February 2, 2013
- Chelsea vs. Wigan Athletic - February 9, 2013
Players are usually called away a bit early as well, so the following fixture could also be impacted, but it's up to each country to determine when they call their players in:
- Stoke City vs. Chelsea - January 12, 2013
In addition to those Premier League fixtures, there is the possibility that two more cup ties could fall while the ACoN is underway. The second leg of any Capital One Cup semifinal is scheduled to be played on the weekend of January 21, 2013, while all FA Cup fourth round ties* are due to be played during the week of January 26, 2013.
*Premier League clubs enter the competition in the third round
So why don't we take a quick look at the players from every squad that could potentially be involved in the Cup of Nations. First Chelsea:
- John Obi Mikel - A first choice starter at this point, he will be missed.
- Victor Moses - Valuable depth, but Chelsea are very deep on the wings.
Now for our competition:
Stoke - Stoke only have a single player at the moment that could be involved in the tournament.
- Mamady Sidibe - Unlikely to be involved in either the tournament or this fixture.
Arsenal - Alex Song is in Barcelona now, so Arsenal will only be losing a single player.
- Gervinho - He'll be called up for the Ivory Coast squad if healthy, so don't expect him to play against Chelsea.
Reading - Reading could lose one player from their current squad.
- Jimmy Kebe - Kebe has made a few appearances for his club this year, but wouldn't be a massive loss in the unlikely event that he's called up.
- Chiek Tiote - The Ivory Coast is a favorite, likely to make a deep run. He's therefore unlikely to play against us.
- Mehdi Abeid - Has not yet made his senior debut for Algeria, but could be considered.
Wigan - Wigan have a single player that is eligible for the tournament.
- Arouna Kone - Kone has been a valuable player for Wigan, and there is a very good chance that the Ivory Coast will still be involved in the tournament at this point. We'll see if he gets a call.
It's a bit hard to speculate at this point on any of the cup games, so we'll come back to that at a later time if it's still relevant. This should give you a very preliminary look at what losses Chelsea and their opponents will be dealing with during the ACoN before considering anything that happens during the transfer window.