Last Sunday, when Argentina was proclaimed champion, the World Cup in Qatar came to an end. However, the best activity in football has not stopped since then. As the Carabao Cup and Copa del Rey resume play on Tuesday, it has already begun. For top sports betting casinos look no further than CasinoDaddy!
Due to the World Cup’s peculiar schedule, European teams from major leagues have been working throughout the tournament to be ready for their return to their respective seasons. This is also true of the Premier League. Since many clubs have flown to warmer locales for training, friendlies, and critical tweaks, it’s safe to argue that teams in the wealthiest league have used the previous month as a second preseason.
In actuality, however, despite the fact that teams’ travel schedules in recent weeks appeared to be comparable to normal offseason plan for July and August, the stakes in this specific scenario are far higher. There isn’t a fresh start or a new season about to start; rather, what happens next is the second act because there is already a plot to go on or try to turn around.
If this were a Shakespearean play, this would be the point at which the already convoluted story starts to get more challenging. Can Arsenal, led by Mikel Arteta, hold onto their five-point advantage despite losing significant players to injury? What about Newcastle United’s ongoing efforts to intensify the pressure on the top-four race? What actions will Manchester City and Liverpool take, and more significantly, what can we anticipate from the newly reenergized Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah given that they were unable to attend the World Cup?
Before the league resumes play on December 26, here are the most pressing questions.
Will Arsenal continue to be good?
No other fan base may be more excited for the return of the Premier League on Boxing Day than Arsenal’s after witnessing their team defeat AC Milan and Lyon in Dubai before falling to Juventus 2-0 in a friendly. With their best advantage in first place since 2013, Arteta’s squad leads the Premier League by five points and has been playing well. The Gunners are also enjoying their greatest record ever thus far into a season with 12 victories and 37 points.
However, there are urgent matters since, depending on how quickly his recuperation proceeds, Gabriel Jesus’ knee injury will prevent him from working for 10 to 12 weeks. In order to replace the Brazilian’s contributions of five goals and six assists in 14 league games, Arteta will undoubtedly need to find a successor in January.
The good news is that Emile Smith Rowe is getting closer to making a comeback following a protracted layoff due to a groin injury. The 22-year-old was outstanding in 2018, scoring 10 goals from 21 league games, second only to Bukayo Saka in Arsenal’s total. He might be crucial in 2023. Given that only Eddie Nketiah is a center striker and Gabriel Martinelli is still gone following his time with Brazil, the attacking position may need a little assistance.
Arteta has a clear goal: to continue, one match at a time. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially when the Europa League enters the picture and the timetable gets busier. Arsenal needs the entire team to step up and win the Premier League for the first time since their historic Invincibles season in 2003–04.
Will Haaland be the same after a long break?
The previous month has been utilized by Erling Haaland, the Transformers character’s Norwegian counterpart, to psychologically and physically recover. How much time will help Haaland, who spent the first half of the Premier League season scoring at a record-breaking rate of 23 goals in 18 games, is a question that is seldom answered at this point in the season, especially for professional players at this level.
Seven members of the first team and the club’s development group were given a lengthy vacation by Man City boss Pep Guardiola before to their five-day camp in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, and Haaland smartly used it to relax at his house in Marbella, Spain. Man City had 16 players from the first team in Qatar, the most of any Premier League club, so the 22-year-old must have felt rather alone during training sessions until he got back.
Haaland will be more than prepared to face Leeds United on December 28 despite there being no reason to question the fact that he utilized this nearly empty surroundings as fuel. Haaland participated in last week’s match against Girona, the club’s lone friendly during the break, and scored. It will be interesting to watch how much time he spends on the field against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup round of 16 on Thursday night, but it seems like he’s keen to participate in every match.
Haaland played in nearly every game leading up to the World Cup, and this resulted in a minor injury to the striker, necessitating Guardiola’s decision to rest him in some of the last games before Qatar. Haaland must shoulder greater responsibility for Man City now that the Premier League Golden Boot leader is returned and the wonderful Julian Alvarez is out temporarily following his spectacular performance in Qatar, which culminated in Argentina winning the World Cup. It’s a significant role since the team will do every effort to defend its league championship and eventually claim the Champions League.
Are Newcastle possible contender for the title?
With 30 points, Newcastle United were promoted back to the Premier League. Despite having played one more game, they trail Man City by two points and Arsenal by seven this season under manager Eddie Howe. However, what’s more amazing is how they were playing prior to the World Cup break: they were aggressive up forward, solid defensively (they share the best defensive record with Arsenal), and exuded confidence.
Teams are rightfully cautious of the Magpies, and St. James’ Park is once more a fortress. This is a highly powerful squad, and they enjoy financial success as a result of having ownership supported by Saudi Arabia. The first-team players who represented their country at the World Cup didn’t play for too many minutes, so their contributions when they returned shouldn’t be too restricted, which is excellent news for Newcastle supporters. Oh, and Miguel Almiron is now fully rested after missing the World Cup since Paraguay failed to qualify.
The schedule for the Magpies in 2023 is more difficult, and the second half of the season will provide them with their greatest difficulties. However, it is still more than fair to state that Newcastle has a very serious chance of competing for the championship. They also have one edge over Man City and Arsenal: they don’t have to worry about playing against opponents from other continents. Will they make the most of it is the question.
Are any of the bottom half teams a possible surprise?
Nine points separate ninth place from twentieth place in the Premier League standings. There have only been three triumphs. This break has been the ideal opportunity for them to properly recuperate before attempting to make a move up the table, especially given the additional reality that most of those sides didn’t really have that many players in Qatar. It will be interesting to observe if these teams took advantage of the break.
We have already witnessed Unai Emery’s successful start with Aston Villa as the Spanish coach won both of his opening two league games against Man United and Brighton. Since the World Cup break has included exhibition games where we’ve seen a more structured and inventive side, confidence ought to be high at Villa Park now that World Cup champion Emiliano Martnez is back. Emery was guaranteed a budget by the board for January, so there ought to be movement during the transfer window. Possibly not for Atletico Madrid striker Joao Felix, who is valued at €100 million, as some had anticipated, but the goal is real.
In the meantime, not too far away at Wolves, who are also towards the bottom of the standings, Julen Lopetegui, a fellow countryman of Emery, is in command. The former Real Madrid and Sevilla manager has a lot to do to get his team out of the relegation zone, but he is an excellent strategist and is apparently working on a strategy with six transfers in January as one of the goals. We’ll watch his performance in the Premier League to see if he can save them from relegation.
In other news, Ralph Hasenhuttl was replaced as Southampton’s manager by Nathan Jones, a former Luton manager, while the results of West Ham’s next three games may determine David Moyes’ future.