Arsenal are one of few Premier League clubs that aren’t getting hit particularly hard by Afcon 2023. Africa’s premier tournament was due to being played last summer during the break between Europe’s top domestic club seasons.

But the tournament, hosted by the Ivory Coast was put back to January 2024 because of extreme weather conditions. That naturally has caused some unwanted mid-season disruptions to Premier League teams.

Whether it’s the latest Premier League or Saudi Arabia League odds in the picture, when a host of teams from the same division lose players to international duty, it can shake things up for betting and match outcomes.

Familiar EPL faces like Man Utd’s Andre Onana and Chelsea’s Nicolas Jackson enter the Afcon 2023 fray. The Gunners meanwhile have only Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny heading to the tournament, which begins on January 13th.

So how could the tournament affect Arsenal’s EPL fixture list while it’s on?

The fixtures

During Afcon 2023, Arsenal have four league fixtures lined up. After some blips during December where they posted only a W1 D2 L3 record in their last five league fixtures of 2023, the Gunners desperately need to get up a head of steam.

Arsenal won’t return to league action until January 20th, thanks to the mini Premier League winter break, when they face Crystal Palace.

Further games follow against Nottingham Forest, Liverpool, and West Ham while the Afcon tournament is ongoing. Here we look at what the international tournament has done for each of those opponents, and whether the Gunners can gain an advantage from it.

Crystal Palace (home – January 20th)

The Gunners pick things up in the Premier League against Crystal Palace at the Emirates. Arsenal beat the Eagles 1-0 earlier in the season, and there’s not too much difference in the Palace side they will face.

Like Arsenal, Palace have only one player heading to Afcon 2023. That’s Jordan Ayew who has chipped in with two goals in 19 league appearances this season. That’s not the most impactful of losses that will swing any extra kind of advantage to the Gunners.

Coming into the fixture off a long break of action, this, hands down, looks to be a very tough game for the Gunners.

Nottingham Forest (away – January 30th)

It’s often tricky to keep up to date with the ins and outs of the seemingly huge Nottingham Forest squad. After sacking Steve Cooper though, Forest have had a mini-revival under new boss Nuno Espírito Santo, who immediately guided them to back-to-back wins against Newcastle and Man Utd.

But no team will lose more players to Afcon than Forest, who have six players heading out, including Willy Boly, Ola Aina and their top two biggest signings, Anthony Elanga and Ibrahim Sangaré.

Forest are being hit hard here, which is great timing for Arsenal, and it could help the Gunners in their quest for three points out on the road.

Liverpool (home – February 4th)

Despite dominating Liverpool for large parts of their recent FA Cup Third Round tie, the Gunners just couldn’t score and were punished at the end of the game. They didn’t face Mo Salah in that one, and they won’t for the league meeting in early February.

Liverpool’s top scorer is a huge loss for them, as they turn to the likes of Diogo Jota and the wayward Darwin Núñez to fill in the gaps. Liverpool’s loss of Salah, who has scored in three of his last five EPL games against the Gunners, to Afcon, is much bigger than Arsenal’s loss of Elneny.

Salah has faced Arsenal 16 times before, scoring 10 goals and producing four assists. In the Premier League, he has only scored more goals against Tottenham, Man City and Man Utd than Arsenal.

This is the big, crunch fixture for Arsenal during the Afcon period, and one they can’t afford to be as profligate in front of goal, as they were in their FA Cup tie against the Reds.

West Ham (away – February 11th)

On the day of the Afcon 2023 Final, Arsenal will face a tough London derby away at West Ham. Arsenal have already lost twice against the Hammers this season (EFL Cup and EPL) and so will be grateful for any kind of crack to exploit.

They may get a narrow one as well. The Hammers have two players, Mohammed Kudus and Nayef Aguerd, heading to the Ivory Coast for Afcon 2023 action.

They are both players that have made regular appearances this season for West Ham. But it’s the loss of stalwart defender Aguerd that’s definitely eye-catching and leaves a sizable hole in the Irons’ defence. Can the Gunners take advantage?