fter six weeks off for the World Cup, Premier League soccer is ready to return subsequent week on Boxing Day.
Right here is the lay of the land forward of the massive restart…
The most important challenge for Arsenal once they resume their title push is how they’ll deal with out Gabriel Jesus.
The Brazilian is anticipated to be out for 3 months with a knee harm and, whereas his targets dried up earlier than the World Cup, he had a key function in maintaining the Gunners high of the Premier League going into the mid-season break.
Eddie Nketiah might want to step up in his absence, however Arsenal need to add firepower to their ahead line with a brand new signing in January and are in talks over a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk.
Arsenal, led on-field by the inspirational Martin Odegaard (proper, in motion in opposition to Juventus at Emirates Stadium on Saturday), had 10 gamers on the World Cup however, apart from centre-back William Saliba (who didn’t play a minute for France), none of them obtained previous the quarter-finals.
That ought to imply that, barring Jesus, supervisor Mikel Arteta ought to have all of them again to face West Ham at Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day evening.
The Bees signed off for the break with a superb 2-1 win over Manchester Metropolis on the Etihad, as striker Ivan Toney scored twice after being neglected of the England squad. The severity of Toney’s cost over alleged betting breaches has since emerged, and the result of an ongoing FA investigation might have main ramifications for Brentford’s season ought to the ahead, who scored from close to midway in a pleasant in opposition to Wolfsburg on Saturday, be discovered responsible.
Thomas Frank ought to have all of his World Cup contributors again for the Boxing Day assembly with Tottenham, however Aaron Hickey, Thomas Strakosha, Pontus Jansson and Kristoffer Ajer — all injured earlier than the event — haven’t featured for the Bees throughout their mini pre-season as they rebuild health.
One change has come within the dugout, with Frank’s assistant Brian Riemer leaving to take over at Anderlecht and Claus Norgaard arriving in his place.
Chelsea badly wanted the mid-season break and can hope it modifications their fortunes. They misplaced 4 of their final 5 video games earlier than the World Cup and have been with out key injured gamers, together with Reece James and Wesley Fofana.
Each at the moment are again in coaching and, with Ben Chilwell hopefully not too distant, Graham Potter must oversee an fast upturn, with Chelsea eighth within the desk and in peril of lacking out on Champions League qualification.
They’ve misplaced Armando Broja to a severe knee harm and N’Golo Kante stays sidelined, whereas Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech are unlikely to function in opposition to Bournemouth on December 27 after taking part in within the third/fourth-place World Cup play-off.
With two matches in opposition to Manchester Metropolis and a visit to Liverpool developing in January, Chelsea shall be below stress right away.
Palace went into the mid-season break with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at struggling Nottingham Forest that has niggled away at supervisor Patrick Vieira during the last 5 weeks. However the Eagles will return to motion glad with their place within the desk.
They may take into account eleventh place a really affordable return within the first half of the season as they aim a top-half end. Beat Fulham on Boxing Day and so they can leapfrog the west London facet and provides themselves a quickfire raise going into the second half of the marketing campaign. Wilfried Zaha will once more take talisman standing, however his contract expires on the finish of the season and his future is unsure, with Borussia Dortmund eager to signal the 30-year-old on a free switch subsequent summer season.
However Zaha is not going to let that uncertainty affect his focus in what might be his remaining six months at his boyhood membership. Having solely had two gamers away on the World Cup, the Palace squad ought to be recent and so they have two winnable video games to complete the 12 months.
Marco Silva’s males will get again into the swing hoping to renew prior efficiency ranges however shake off some irritating outcomes. To sit down ninth with an air of disappointment can solely be to Fulham and Silva’s credit score, however consecutive last-gasp defeats in opposition to each Manchester golf equipment have been robust to take; two tremendous performances each deserving of a minimum of some extent, and but Fulham wound up empty-handed.
In fact, little has to vary going into the second half of the season. Manor Solomon stays out after knee surgical procedure, whereas Neeskens Kebano has an extended rehab street forward after a torn Achilles. However high scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic ought to be again again for his or her journey to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day. He was injured earlier than the World Cup however scored two targets for Serbia.
Tottenham resume in fourth, simply three factors shy of Manchester Metropolis, and with a Champions League last-16 tie in opposition to AC Milan to return. Arsenal’s place makes for uncomfortable viewing, however any fan, in addition to supervisor Antonio Conte, would have taken this place. The most important questions are usually not over outcomes however Conte’s type, and Spurs shall be anticipated to be extra convincing.
The World Cup has taken a toll on the squad, with most of Conte’s internationals both injured or in various states of misery — Cristian Romero apart.
Richarlison, Ben Davies and Rodrigo Bentancur are unlikely to function at Brentford on Boxing Day by means of harm (the Uruguayan is suspended anyway), whereas Harry Kane’s psychological and bodily wellbeing shall be a speaking level following his penalty heartache with England. France captain Hugo Lloris will want choosing up after shedding Sunday’s remaining to Romero’s Argentina.
The break got here at an excellent time for West Ham, who have been in want of a reset after shedding three on the spin within the Premier League. They restart the marketing campaign only a level exterior the relegation zone and, whereas the Boxing Day journey to Arsenal is a little bit of a free hit, the Hammers then face essential video games in opposition to Brentford, Leeds, Wolves and Everton earlier than the tip of January.
In Lucas Paqueta, Declan Rice and Nayef Aguerd, the Hammers had three gamers who excelled on the World Cup, however even that has introduced issues: Paqueta was very good in a deeper function David Moyes has not but tried him in; Rice forged extra doubt over his future with discuss of his Champions League ambitions; and Aguerd’s harm troubles continued throughout Morocco’s dream run to the semi-finals.
With Kurt Zouma out after knee surgical procedure, Moyes could face a headache at centre-back but once more, whereas the Hammers are additionally ready for information on Gianluca Scamacca, who rolled his ankle within the weekend’s draw with Fulham.
Manchester Metropolis have a well-rested Erling Haaland and now now we have all seen that his understudy, Julian Alvarez, isn’t dangerous both. Newcastle have been the shape group going into the break on the again of six straight wins and can absolutely be wanting ahead to flexing some extra monetary muscle in January to cement their top-four push.
Manchester United have washed their palms of Cristiano Ronaldo in the course of the World Cup break, however could also be worst-affected by late returnees. Information of an harm setback for Luis Diaz is a serious blow for Liverpool.
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