Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son and Brighton’s Mat Ryan in squads
Last Updated: 20/12/18 9:42am
Several Premier League players could miss key games for their teams in January as they head to the Asian Cup.
Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son, Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy and Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan are among the players who will be absent during the start of 2019.
We look at how long they might be away for and what games they could miss…
What is the Asian Cup?
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.
Wolves vs Liverpool
December 21, 2018, 7:00pm
When and where is it?
The tournament runs from January 5 to February 1 and will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates.
The last round of group-stage matches are on January 17.
- January 5 – Tournament starts
- January 17 – Group stages finish
- January 20/21 – Last 16 matches
- January 24/25 – Quarter-finals
- January 28/29 – Semi-finals
- February 1 – Final
Who is playing?
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.
Ki said after the World Cup that he was mulling international retirement, but has been included in the Asian Cup squad.
Japan have called up Southampton defender Maya Yoshida while Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki has been omitted.
What games will players miss?
While Son is travelling late to the Asian Cup, he will still miss Spurs’ matches against Fulham (January 20), Watford (January 30) and Newcastle (February 2).
Mooy’s availability for Huddersfield is unclear.
He was originally ruled out until February with a knee injury, which means he will miss the Terriers’ Premier League clash against Burnley on January 2 followed by their FA Cup third-round tie against Bristol City on January 5 and then potentially Premier League matches with Cardiff (January 12), Manchester City (January 20), Everton (January 29) and Chelsea (February 2).
Brighton could be without Ryan and Jahanbakhsh for games against West Ham (January 2), Liverpool (January 12), Manchester United (January 19), Fulham (January 29) and Watford (February 2).
Newcastle have a tough start to the year as they face Manchester United (January 2), Chelsea (January 12), Cardiff (January 19), Manchester City (January 29) and Tottenham (February 2).
Yoshida has only started four Premier League games for Southampton this season but could miss matches against Chelsea (January 2), Leicester (January 12), Everton (January 19), Crystal Palace (January 30) and Burnley (February 2).