The return of the English Premier League! Arsenal review – West Ham, Tottenham, Salah, Jones and Lopetegui

The Premier League is back and we’re all trying to remember what was going on before we were all distracted by the glitchy issue. Arsenal in the lead! Mad.

A match worth watching – Arsenal vs West Ham
The World Cup break has come at a good time for some clubs. Perhaps Arsenal could have done without him.

They have won seven and drawn their last eight Premier League matches, including victories over Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea, to open up an improbable but intriguing five-point lead over struggling Manchester City at the top of the Premier League. They may not end up winning the title, but their dominance in the early part of the season has put them into real contention which in itself is a change of pace.

Can Arsenal get straight back into this unstoppable form? Will City be exposed to a severe slide after the break? Questions that will determine the rest of the season at the top.

In the end of things, West Ham were perhaps most grateful for the pause. Their exploits in Conference Europe have given them the most brutal pre-World Cup schedule of anyone, and what looked like a vaguely encouraging recovery in October – three wins in five games that month – has boiled down to four defeats in five matches to leave the Hammers baffled. Near the trapdoor when the first act was revealed.

If the first two defeats on that run – narrow at Liverpool and Manchester United – can be written off as minimally detrimental, the home losses that followed against Palace and Leicester cannot.

While Arsenal have a World Cup weary and exhausted squad, West Ham could be looking for a fresh start in this delicious London derby that wraps up Boxing Day action.

A win for Arsenal will get them eight (8) points (points) for a few days, while for West Ham it’s a celebratory free-kick ahead of a run of games in January that will have more say in how the rest. out of their season. Before the end of January, the Hammers face Brentford, Leeds, Wolves and Everton; We’ll know by then if relegation is really a threat for a team that moved from sixth and seventh to being sixth and seventh (sorry).

Team to Watch – Tottenham
Manchester City may have been affected the most On the prime numbers of players and minutes But it is certainly Tottenham who will feel the deepest impact of the World Cup.

Tottenham had 11 non-loan players in the tournament (as a sideline, as long as you can live with Heung-min Son, these 11 players can also form a 3-5-2 with loanee Joe Rodon in the match. Bench: Lloris, Romero, Dier, Davies, Son, Hojbjerg, Sarr, Bentancur, Perisic, Kane, Richarlison) and more than any other Premier League side at the business end. World Cup winners, runners-up and bronze medalist Tottenham are currently on their way back to Hotspur Way – the physical and mental readiness of any of these three players for an immediate return to the Premier League should be highly questionable.

And then there are quarter-finalists Kane and Richarlison. The Brazilian we know has been out for a while after playing 80 minutes of Brazil’s defeat by Croatia with a hamstring injury, while with Kane it’s more subtle. Where exactly is his head? How long will it take to get back on his game? How difficult will it be for him, given that his club captain is the goalkeeper who crossed the crossbar who inflated the penalty kick?

Answers to some of the questions swirling now about the Spurs squad may have to wait until after Boxing Day – at least it seems unlikely that any of the three involved in the final weekend of the World Cup will be pressed into service in what is to come. It will be the first Premier League game for six weeks when Brentford host Tottenham in the early kick off of Boxing Day – but they will be a great team to watch over the next few weeks.

They were already confusing, A team that has excelled a lot this seasonAnd, if there had only been a week between this match and the last, it would still have been worth watching, given the chaotic nature of Tottenham’s wins over Leeds and Brentford that weren’t actually like that. And grab it with Manchester City last time.

Player under the spotlight – Mohamed Salah
There will inevitably be a lot of focus on those who spent most of the past month in Qatar’s footballing amusements, but really, the most important players over the next few weeks could be the few very good players who didn’t feature.

While World Cup players have been asked to take on a seasonal workload unlike any other season, those who miss will get to rest, recuperate, relax and be ready to go.

There are some really good ones. Erling Haaland, who is getting more time with City is not back in action until the 28th, and Riyad Mahrez was clearly another key figure for Al-Ittihad. Dejan Kulusevski at Tottenham is likely to find himself with plenty of slack to drop in there alongside Yves Bissoumas and possibly even Davinson Sanchezes in this world. Arsenal have a few decent players – Zinchenko, Odegaard, Terney – but the big beneficiaries could really be Liverpool.

A good number of their key players have tried out for teams that didn’t qualify for Qatar, and who was crafty, right? Naby Keita, Luis Diaz and Andy Robertson all failed to qualify while Joel Matip stayed on in Cameroon’s naughty footsteps after seven years of contention.

But topping this list is last season’s Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah, who finished the first half of the season in very good fashion after a slow start.

Basically, what we’ve found out writing this is that there are two types of players we’re really excited to see over the next month or so: those who were either made or emotionally crushed at the World Cup, and those who had a pretty long break because of it. The latter group could prove season-defining and Liverpool’s crop is particularly strong.

Directors to Watch – Julen Lopetegui and Nathan Jones
We still can’t quite believe these two are the managers of Wolves and *checks notes* Southampton until we see them look pensively from the touchline as they watch their teams. And in the right games, too, a la Carabao Tish and fipsy. This proves nothing.

Both men have serious careers on their hands, if they really are who they say they are and they really are in charge of these Premier League clubs. Like we say, we’ll believe it when we see it.

Wolves are in rock bottom after having been so poorly this season, hot on the heels of being terrible on tour last season and desperate to get some goals from somewhere other than what was a largely comfortable five-year stay as the Premier League draws to a close. snap.

Southampton are just one place and two points despite being one of only two teams to have something from Arsenal this season. That, and the win against Chelsea, points to Southampton’s long-running problem – the vast gap between their best and worst 9-0 – and tackling that split will be Nathan Jones’ primary goal if it is likely to be difficult.

Football League game to watch – Bristol City vs West Bromwich Albion
It is truly a festive feast for TV football on Boxing Day. While Amazon Prime shows all-day Premier League action live, Sky takes the opportunity of its lower-league schedule to showcase the tournament. Seven matches are available across various football channels or behind the red button, from Watford v Millwall at noon to Luton v Norwich at 7.45, which is at least a less gruesome excursion than the one facing QPR fans in Cardiff. 5.30 game.

If you fall asleep more on the couch with a Boxing Dayer’s turkey sandwich, it’s great and will reward all that hour.

We’ve set Bristol City v West Bromwich Albion for no reason more important than West Brom’s current encapsulation of their one-of-a-kind football appeal thanks to them heading into Boxing Day within five points each of the play-offs and the bottom three spots. Textbook championships, it really is.

European match worth watching – Glentoran vs Linfield
None of Europe’s other big leagues are quite as silly as the Premier League, and so they’re in no rush to get back into action just yet. But we will not be deterred.

Not when there’s a V vs III Northern Ireland Premier League on BBC Two NI and iPlayer.

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