Despite stocking three players hailing from eligible constituencies, Chelsea will not be represented at January’s African Cup of Nations.
Ivorian legend Didier Drogba won’t be in the Elephants’ participating party having retired, while Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel and Mohamed Salah of Egypt are absent on account of their countries’ failure to qualify.
Such good fortune suggests the Blues’ luck is well and truly in, so if all of the other statistical factors hadn’t coerced you to make the bet already, get on the 4/25 about Chelsea winning the Premier League this term.
The west Londoners aren’t the only team to benefit from the international failures of others though, with Stoke, Crystal Palace and West Brom all poised to keep key men to help duel against the difficulties posed by January and February.
On account of Peter Odemwingie’s knee injury, Victor Moses is the only Potters player who could’ve been part of the Nigerian delegation had they booked a place, which is also true of West Brom duo Brown Ideye and Victor Anichebe.
With games against fellow basement battlers Hull, Burnley and Swansea taking place alongside the ACoN, Baggies boss Alan Irvine will be ecstatic that his attacking ranks haven’t been raided, while he’ll also have Stephane Sessegnon to call upon on account of Benin’s inability to qualify.
Stoke counterpart Mark Hughes will be equally chuffed to have hung on to one of his more creative talents with games against both Manchester clubs and Arsenal to prepare for, especially given that he’ll have Moses’ understudy, Oussama Assaidi, at his beck and call too.
The Moroccan wide man will not be present after the country’s expulsion from the tournament courtesy of administrative complications, which is good news for Crystal Palace, who will keep hold of the industrious Marouane Chamakh, too.
Much to Harry Redknapp’s chagrin, though, Adel Taarabt has no additional motivation to shed his Christmas pounds.
Arguably the biggest benefactor, however, is Championship club Middlesbrough.
On-loan Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo regularly impresses at the heart of the Boro rearguard and has already been forced to miss games on account of internationally duty-induced tiredness this term.
Should the north east club realise their promotion aspirations, Omeruo’s availability throughout the winter months will be key.