Newcastle United contributing two of the six and a half Premier League players at Asian Cup
Sky Sports have given an update on the Premier League players who are set to miss club action due to involvement at the Asian Cup.
The Asian Cup finals involves 24 countries and covers obviously a huge area geographically, as well as a massive proportion of the World’s population.
However, unlike the African Cup of Nations which has now moved to a summer slot so it doesn’t clash with the major European league seasons, due to the high number of players from the Premier League and others taking part, there are surprisingly few PL players involved.
Altogether, there appears to be seven Premier League players in total heading off for next month’s tournament, although Sky Sports obviously missed Tuesday’s update (see below) with NUFC confirming Yoshinori Muto was a late addition to the Japan squad.
Those set to travel are:
Ki Sung-yeung (Newcastle United and South Korea)
Yosinori Muto (Newcastle United and Japan)
Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield and Australia)
Maya Yoshida (Southampton and Japan)
Mathew Ryan (Brighton and Australia)
Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Brighton and Iran)
Son Heung-min (Tottenham and South Korea)
In reality though there is even less Premier League involvement than that.
The headline of the article refers to six and a half Premier League players and that is because Tottenham have an arrangement whereby Son will only travel once Spurs have played Man Ud on 13 January.
Sky say his departure then will mean he will be there in time for the third South Korea group game but whilst he will be there, surely he will be not be risked as they play that third and final group game on 16 January. The plan/arrangement must surely be that he is travelling then in anticipation of South Korea being involved in the last 16 matches which take place between 20-22 January.
As for Aaron Mooy, when he missed the Newcastle match, David Wagner was talking about him being out until February, but Sky Sports are saying the player is going to get a second opinion, in the hope he can still play some part for reigning champions Australia.
The Asian Cup is the second oldest continental football tournament, held every four years with teams qualifying from around Asia.
It has previously been a 16-team format, but for the first time this year it will feature 24 teams. Those 24 teams are divided into six four-team groups.
From a Premier League point of view, the most relevant teams are Australia, South Korea, Japan and Iran.
Australia are the defending champions and will be expected to contend again.
Huddersfield midfielder Mooy has been included in the Socceroos squad even though he has suffered an injury which was expected to rule him out of the tournament.
It has been reported Mooy will be assessed again, and Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold said recently: “He wants to go to the Asian Cup and he wanted the second opinion. I expect Aaron to be there.”
Brighton goalkeeper Ryan is also in the squad, along with Celtic’s Tom Rogic and QPR’s Massimo Luongo.
As well as losing Ryan, Brighton are set to see club-record signing Alireza Jahanbakhsh join up with Iran, who will announce their final squad on December 26.
The most high-profile departure will be Tottenham’s Son.
However, Spurs agreed a compromise with South Korea over Son which will see him miss the first two matches at the Asian Cup in exchange for releasing him for the Asian Games in the summer.
That means Son will be available for Spurs’ match against Manchester United on January 13. He will then head to the Asian Cup in time for South Korea’s final group match.
Newcastle could lose Ki Sung-yueng for up to a month as he is set to feature for South Korea, but Yoshinori Muto has been left out of Japan’s squad.
Japan have called up Southampton defender Maya Yoshida while Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki has been omitted.
The Mag – Tuesday 18 December 2018:
People have said Rafa Benitez deserves a medal if he repeats last season’s mid-table finish.
Well maybe you should make it a big medal, judging by the obstacles being thrown in his way.
Mike Ashley is obviously by far the biggest of those obstacles and has caused untold problems/issues for the manager – but now even his small squad of players are being hit by outside forces.
Ki Sung-yeung was confirmed as going to the Asian Cup some time ago, Newcastle set to lose the midfielder for up to nine games, seven in the Premier League and a possible two FA Cup ones.
However, Rafa was relieved to see Yoshinori Muto not named in Japan’s squad.
A Tuesday morning update has changed all that though, with the club confirming that the striker has now being a very late addition to Japan’s squad, Muto also set to be missing at this crucial stage of the season, just as he was coming back to full fitness.
The Asian Cup most definitely proving to be the new African Cup of Nations for NUFC when it comes to squad disruption.
Newcastle United official announcement:
‘Yoshinori Muto has been called up to the Japan squad for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
The Newcastle forward was not named in Hajime Moriyasu’s initial 23-man squad, but has now been called up for the tournament, which will take place in the United Arab Emirates from 5th January to 1st February 2019.
He will join up with his international colleagues after the Magpies’ home game against Manchester United on Wednesday, 2nd January and could miss four league games as well as the Emirates FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers.
The 26-year-old – who joined Newcastle from Mainz 05 in the summer after playing in the 2018 World Cup finals for his country – has scored once in 11 appearances (five starts) so far for Rafa Benítez’s side.
Japan have won the Asian Cup a record four times.
Muto’s Magpies team-mate Ki Sung-yueng will represent South Korea in the competition. He was captain of the squad which finished as runners up to Australia in 2015.’
The 2019 Asian Cup runs from 5 January to 1 February and the group matches for Ki Sung-yeung are 7-16 January and for Yoshinori Muto they are 9-17 January
FIFA rules state players should usually be released two weeks before their first game, which would be 24 December, meaning they are definitely available against Fulham as it stands.
Ki Sung-yeung said that Newcastle were trying to delay his departure beyond that date but no confirmation as yet.
As you can see, the club are claiming that Muto will still be at NUFC until after the Man Utd game, which is only a week before their first game in the Asian Cup.
If either or both players got all the way to the final then they could be set to miss up to seven/nine matches, starting with potentially Liverpool on Boxing day and the last one being Tottenham away which is on Sat 2 February, that would be seven Premier League matches and two FA Cup games, if NUFC beat Blackburn in the third round.
Even if either/both got knocked straight out in the group stages, it wouldn’t make a great deal of difference, as the only extra Premier League matches they could maybe get back for are Man City at home (22 Jan) and Spurs away (2 Feb).
The reality is though anyway, that both Japan and South Korea are seeded to get through the group stage with ease.
With Jonjo Shelvey having a thigh injury that Rafa won’t even assess again until after Saturday’s game with Fulham, the manager could clearly do with a helping hand in the January transfer window to strengthen his squad in pretty much any position apart from goalkeeper and centre-back.
After the group stages the knockout games are played:
Last 16 matches are 20-22 January
Quarter finals are 24 and 25 January
Semi finals 28 and 29 January
Final is 1 February
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