After an enthralling start to the 2022/23 season, focus will now switch to the 2022 World Cup out in Qatar.
When Premier League fixtures are back up and running from December 26th onwards, it’s Arsenal who will start off in top spot.
The Gunners beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 in their final match before the winter break, opening up a five point gap on Manchester City after their shock 2-1 defeat at home to Brentford.
Can Mikel Arteta’s side actually go on and win the title? City are still the favourites, of course, but the north London side have just continued to motor on and defy their critics.
Are City players worried about Arsenal?
A significant number of City and Arsenal players are now heading off to the World Cup with their respective countries.
Kyle Walker, Jack Grealish, John Stones, Phil Foden, Ben White and Bukayo Saka are all part of the England setup aiming to finally bring the trophy home after 56 years of hurt.
And when Walker first met up with Saka ahead of the journey to Qatar, the City right-back just couldn’t help but bring up Arsenal’s imperious form.
As the two shared a handshake, Walker said: “Are you guys (Arsenal) going to stop winning?”
Saka then replied with an air of maturity: “Don’t worry about that bro. Are you feeling good?”
Walker – “Are you guys Arsenal) going to stop winning?”
Saka – “Don’t worry about that bro. Are you feeling good?”
— Back Again W/Troopz Podcast (@backagain) November 15, 2022
Walker hasn’t played for City since their 6-3 victory over Manchester United on October 2nd due to a groin injury.
The veteran defender was a huge doubt for the World Cup as a result, but recovered just in time to be named in Gareth Southgate’s strong 26-man squad.
It’ll be a huge surprise if Walker is part of the England XI to face Iran next Monday, though.
As for Saka, he was no doubt one of the first names on Southgate’s list after his exceptional start to the season at Arsenal.
In 14 Premier League outings, the 20-year-old has scored four goals and, more impressively, contributed six assists – which is the second-best total in the division behind Kevin De Bruyne.
Unlike Walker, it’ll be a considerable shock if Saka is not part of the team that does battle with Iran, especially when you remember his spectacular cameo in the 3-3 draw with Germany at the end of September.