The Premier League campaign is about to go into a mid-season hiatus. The 2022 World Cup is here and after this weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures, club football – for the top two leagues in England at least – will cease for more than a month.
It is a season like no other with the Qatar World Cup sandwiched in the middle of the domestic football calendar. For many clubs it will be an anxious time. Will players return from the big tournament fresh, or will they come back with injuries and be unable to slot back into club football?
For teams like Arsenal, the World Cup has come at the worst possible time. The Gunners sit proudly atop the Premier League table after an exceptional start to the 2022/23 campaign. They lead Manchester City by two points and will stay there heading into the festive fixtures providing they beat lowly Wolves on Saturday evening.
Boss Mikel Arteta, who has overseen a few less than spectacular performances of late – against Southampton in the league, Zurich in the Europa League and Brighton in the Carabao Cup – will have wanted the Premier League to continue. And he will not have been the only one.
Talking to LordPing, former Liverpool man Jose Enrique said the World Cup was coming at a bad time for Newcastle United too. The Magpies moved into the top four in the Premier League last weekend.
He said: “For clubs like Newcastle and Arsenal, they will not be happy about the timing of the World Cup in the middle of the season because they are in such good form. For Liverpool they will be because they are not at their best at the moment, and Salah is going to have a break. “