Five Chelsea games Nicolas Jackson may miss as AFCON announcement hits Mauricio Pochettino plan


Nicolas Jackson could miss up to five Premier League games for Chelsea this season due to the Africa Cup of Nations. Originally scheduled to be played earlier this summer, Ivory Coast will host the tournament over the winter due to weather concerns.

The AFCON will kick-off on January 13 2024 before coming to a conclusion on February 11. First and foremost, the Chelsea striker will be hoping that he's named in the Senegal squad but, more importantly, defend his country's crown.

Edouard Mendy guided Senegal to AFCON glory in 2022, making a crucial save in a penalty shootout against Egypt in the final. The former Blues goalkeeper stopped Mohanad Lasheen from 12 yards, granting Sadio Mane the chance to score the winning spot-kick – which he duly took.

Senegal have the chance to retain their title this winter and Jackson will be desperate to play a starring role. Drawn from Pot One alongside the likes of Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt at Les Parc des Expositions in Abidjan, Senegal have just found out who they have in their group.

Jackson's side will lock horns with Cameroon, Guinea, The Gambia over a place in the knockout stages. Should Senegal progress to the final, which is set to be played on February 11, then the 22-year-old striker will miss some huge games for Chelsea.

On January 13, Chelsea will host Fulham at Stamford Bridge before facing Liverpool at Anfield two-weeks later. Then, on February 3, the west Londoners will play Wolves on home-turf, then lock horns with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on February 10.

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Now, the dilemma which Mauricio Pochettino faces is whether or not to rush Jackson back into the starting lineup against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on February 17 – arguably Chelsea's toughest and most unforgiving fixture of the season.

The Blues will need to be at their best to even stand a chance of snatching a point from Pep Guardiola's side, and Jackson's services may be required. However, if for whatever reason the striker misses the clash then Pochettino will be left two choices – sign Ivan Toney or throw Armando Broja into the deep end.

Nevertheless, Chelsea will be dealt a major blow by Jackson's potential absence this winter. However, the west Londoners will not be the only Premier League outfit sending their players off to the AFCON, with Tottenham set to be without Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr and Arsenal likely to lose Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey.

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