Chris Sutton’s top 12 talking points ahead of the return of the Premier League

Once she starred in a Christmas commercial. For some reason, they dressed me up as the Grinch. How dare they! I’m not the cold-hearted, Christmas-hating Ebenezer Scrooge.

My decorations were made on November 15th of this year before I fly to Qatar, I’ll let you know! But we don’t just celebrate the holiday season.

We’re also ready for the Premier League season to resume, and here are 12 of those that are about to pay off big. Yes, you guessed it, one for each day of Christmas.

The Premier League is back on Boxing Day after a long break during the World Cup

Arsenal lead the table but will face pressure from the group trying to chase them

Arsenal lead the table but will face pressure from the group trying to chase them

1. Which Premier League coach should send Gianni Infantino a Christmas basket?

Which team will be happiest after the World Cup? It would be an exaggeration to say they would send a basket full of Salt Bae steaks wrapped in gold leaf, but Liverpool would be pleased with the way the tournament in Qatar turned out.

Manchester City players have appeared on the field for 4,538 minutes in the World Cup. By comparison, Liverpool appeared in 1,409 minutes. They have had a great rest, including Mohamed Salah, and they can come back again.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side had a great deal of rest over the past month during the World Cup

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side had a great deal of rest over the past month during the World Cup

2. And who will send him a piece of coal?

Arsenal will be the most angry. They lost Gabriel Jesus at the worst of times. It was one of the World Cup’s most notorious injuries, and now manager Mikel Arteta has to look to the January transfer window for a short-term replacement.

Something tells me that Manchester City, having seen how the sale of Jesus and Alexander Zinchenko turned Arsenal into title contenders, will not loan them World Cup champions Julian Alvarez to Argentina.

Arsenal will be the ones furious about the way the World Cup went because of Gabriel Jesus' injury

Arsenal will be the ones furious about the way the World Cup went because of Gabriel Jesus’ injury

3. Can Arsenal still win the league?

Yeah. But will they? No. I still think Manchester City will win it. Arsenal lost Jesus, as I mentioned. This is a big hit.

Sure enough, he hasn’t logged in since October 1st. That is 11 games without a goal for Arsenal. But Jesus is a team player, a tone-setter for journalism, and a relentless jogger. Eddie Nketiah has some big shoes to fill.

Meanwhile, City striker Erling Haaland has had an impressive month in a nada performance.

Jesus' injury, which he sustained outside Brazil, is a major blow to Arsenal's title hopes this season

Jesus’ injury, which he sustained outside Brazil, is a major blow to Arsenal’s title hopes this season

4. If City was shot by Amazon, what would we see them do?

I don’t think we’ll see them do anything differently than they’ve been doing. Pep Guardiola will not panic.

He will trust the process 100 percent. He will think it will prove successful in the end.

There is a long way to go this season. Heading into the last eight games, Manchester City will be nervous. But we’re not even in the middle of the season. We are 14 matches, 24 remaining.

Pep Guardiola will not panic yet despite being five points behind leaders Arsenal

Pep Guardiola will not panic yet despite being five points behind leaders Arsenal

5. Is the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo the best gift for Manchester United?

Absolutely. Manchester United would be better off without Cristiano Ronaldo. This is the best turn of events that could happen to them.

Ronaldo undermined Erik ten Hag. He was troublesome. People will point to his 18 Premier League goals last season.

A good total, but United fell behind with it. It was all about Ronaldo. Now it can be about the team.

Cristiano Ronaldo undercut Erik ten Hag and Manchester United are better off without him

Cristiano Ronaldo undercut Erik ten Hag and Manchester United are better off without him

6. Will Harry Kane suffer from the World Cup hangover at Tottenham?

He will take out his anger and disappointment over a few Premier League defences.

Harry Kane presented the World Cup well but many will remember Qatar 2022 for his second penalty against France on the way into orbit.

This is football. that happens. Kane is a natural scorer with a good head on his shoulders.

I saw Alan Shearer’s mental strength firsthand when we formed SAS in Blackburn. When he had a bad game – though rarely – he didn’t let it get to him. He couldn’t wait for his next chance to come out, score and win.

It was the same with Henrik Larsson at Celtic. Ken bears the same special trait. Next time Tottenham win a penalty, I’m sure Kane will bury it.

Harry Kane's mental strength will allow him to recover from the missed penalty

Harry Kane’s mental strength will allow him to recover from the missed penalty

7. Could Jude Bellingham’s relationship with Jordan Henderson help Liverpool sign him?

What would give Liverpool more advantage is to finish qualifying in the Champions League. This is a must.

Jude Bellingham and Jordan Henderson may be friends, but Bellingham doesn’t want to play for a club in the Europa League. He wants to be among the elite.

Liverpool have slipped a bit, while the 19-year-old wants a move to a club moving forward.

That makes the rest of this season huge for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool if they want to win the Bellingham race.

Liverpool need a fourth-place finish if they have any chance of signing Judd Bellingham (right)

Liverpool need a fourth-place finish if they have any chance of signing Judd Bellingham (right)

8. Newcastle in the Champions League – does that happen?

I wrote a column earlier this season saying Newcastle could wreck the Premier League team.

They have an experienced manager in Eddie Howe who has improved his players.

They are strong in defense and carry a threat ahead. After 15 matches, they are in third place. This is no accident.

Newcastle ranks third in the standings and may qualify for the Champions League next season

Newcastle ranks third in the standings and may qualify for the Champions League next season

9. If Didier Deschamps imagines a new job, which boss should start worrying about?

Brendan Rodgers has been the most pressured manager in the Premier League after Leicester’s awful start to the season. Now Frank Lampard will be the one looking over his shoulder.

Everton is a strange club. They’ve hired coaches who’ve been there and done that, like Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez, but they just can’t get a tone from the players.

Lampard needs to get off to a solid start when the season resumes on Boxing Day, especially as they face relegation rivals Wolves.

Speaking with Everton fans, they are still willing to do well for Lampard. But this could change if results do not improve. Fancy it, Didier?

Frank Lampard will watch his shoulder if Everton don't improve

Frank Lampard will watch his shoulder if Everton don’t improve

10. Are Forest, Southampton and Wolves up for relegation?

Nothing is certain. We have some twists and turns to go after. But Bournemouth would finish third, despite impressing Gary O’Neill enough to get the job full-time.

Southampton and Nottingham Forest will join them in descending into the Championship.

Bournemouth (pictured), Southampton and Nottingham Forest will drop into the Championship

Bournemouth (pictured), Southampton and Nottingham Forest will drop into the Championship

11. Which player should be bought in the New Year’s sale?

This boy named Leo Messi did everything just right. Sadly, as much as we’d like to see him in the Premier League, that won’t happen.

I can say Enzo Fernandez, 21, who is a game-changer in midfield for Argentina. Or Soufiane Amrabat of Morocco, who was a World Cup player with me.

But I will say Alexis McAllister. It looks like a masterstroke by Brighton to link him to a new deal weeks before he leaves for Qatar.

Messi definitely won the man of the match in the World Cup final. But Mac Allister was great.

It would cost a pretty penny now that he’s signed a long-term contract, mind you!

Alexis Mac Allister will be a man in demand after his impressive displays for Argentina

Alexis Mac Allister will be a man in demand after his impressive displays for Argentina

12. Who is the player, young player and manager of the year so far?

player of the year? Halland. young player? Halland. He has already scored 18 Premier League goals. silly. As for the manager, I will give it to Arteta.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland should win the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards

Manchester City’s Erling Haaland should win the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards

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