The Africa Cup of Nations has thrown up some shock results since the tournament started on Saturday, which could be bad news for Arsenal.
The Ivory Coast, who are this year’s hosts, cruised to a 2-0 victory over Guinea Bissau in the first game at AFCON but Sunday produced some surprise scorelines.
Egypt, who finished at runners-up at the last AFCON tournament, were held to a 2-2 draw by Mozambique and needed Mohamed Salah’s 96th-minute penalty to salvage a point.
Ghana, meanwhile, who are without Arsenal star Thomas Partey, were stunned by Cape Verde in their opening match and suffered a 2-1 defeat.
The results have raised questions over the credentials of both Egypt and Ghana in terms of how far they will progress at this year’s tournament.
It was expected that both nations would cruise into the knockouts and with Arsenal set to face Premier League title rivals Liverpool on February 4 – a fixture which roughly coincides with the AFCON quarter-finals – the Gunners had been hoping that Salah will miss the top-flight meeting due to international duty.
But should Egypt crash out in the group stage, Liverpool superstar Salah would become available for the game against Arsenal at the Emirates in a blow to the north Londoners.
A shock early exit for Ghana would also be bad news for Arsenal, who are set to face West Ham on February 11.
That’s because Ghana have West Ham star Mohammed Kudus in their squad who has conjured up seven goal involvements across 16 top-flight games this term.
Ghana would need to reach the AFCON semi-finals for Kudus to miss the Arsenal game with the Gunners hoping he will be unavailable.
Egypt and Ghana face each other in their second Group B match on Thursday with Salah’s side then due to play Cape Verde in their final clash before the knockouts while the Black Stars lock horns with Mozambique on January 22.