With the World Cup 2022 now just a month away, preparations for the tournament are continuing at quite a pace and although international managers will have concerns before events get underway in Qatar, so will those men who oversee a Premier League team as well.
Because with this year’s tournament being held in the middle of a European winter, it means a disruption to the usual domestic campaigns and this disruption could also be felt by the time the English top flight resumes.
Especially when you consider the number of players that will be soon flying off to the Middle East and for the likes of Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta, their collective prayers will be connected to player welfare.
World Cup 2022 – Impact on English Premier League Teams
If a player usually gets injured during an international tournament, there is usually enough of the summer still left over and therefore, a period of rest and recuperation will see a return to fitness before the start of the next season.
However, such a luxury is not on offer this time around and if a prized possession does get injured, it could quite easily derail a title tilt or chase for a Champions League invite – something that has the potential to really liven up the second half of the Premier League season.
While with a slew of world-class names still busy before the international break, we are now going to look at the teams that potentially have the most to lose in terms of World Cup representation and to do this, we have highlighted the names that are likely to be handed a ticket to Qatar.
World Cup 2022 Representation: Manchester City – 16
Kyle Walker, John Stones, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Kalvin Phillips (England), Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva (Portugal), Rodri, Aymeric Laporte (Spain), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), Ederson (Brazil), Ilkay Gundogan (Germany), Julian Alvarez (Argentina), Manuel Akanji (Switzerland), Nathan Ake (Netherlands)
Although Manchester City can keep Erling Haaland at the Etihad, they could be saying a temporary farewell to as many as 16 players and when looking at the breakdown of each Premier League squad, it is fair to say that Pep Guardiola has a lot to lose.
Then again, that is the price you pay for assembling a squad as talented as this, and with every other manager also knowing that a winter World Cup was on the horizon, it is going to be a fine balancing act between domestic and international football.
World Cup 2022 Representation: Chelsea – 14
Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal), Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling (England), Cesar Azpilicueta (Spain), Thiago Silva (Brazil), N’Golo Kante (France), Christian Pulisic (USA), Kai Havertz (Germany), Matteo Kovacic (Croatia), Hakim Ziyech (Morocco), Denis Zakaria (Switzerland)
In terms of World Cup deployments, Chelsea is not all that far from the top of the table. With Graham Potter preparing to say good luck to at least 14 of his newly inherited charges, he will hope they all come back in one piece.
Especially as the Stamford Bridge outfit is yet to taste defeat under his tutelage and although the Premier League title may be out of reach, a fully fit squad should return the West Londoners to the top four at the end of the campaign.
Manchester United: World Cup 2022 Representation – 11
Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes (Portugal), Harry Maguire (England), Raphael Varane (France), Lisandro Martinez (Argentina), Christian Eriksen (Denmark), Tyrell Malacia (Netherlands), Facundo Pellistri (Uruguay), Casemiro, Fred, Antony (Brazil)
There is no doubt that Manchester United are a work in progress and for that progress to accelerate in 2023, Erik ten Hag will need all his soldiers to return from battle unharmed. With 11 names likely to make the trip to the Middle East, the threat of injury is one that looms large.
If the Old Trafford outfit can have a fully fit squad by the time the Premier League returns, it will add an extra impetus to the Red Devils. Impetus that will not only help them at home but also in their bid to win this season’s Europa League.
Tottenham – Players Involved – 11
Harry Kane and Eric Dier (England), Heung-min Son (South Korea), Hugo Lloris (France), Richarlison (Brazil), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark), Ivan Perisic (Croatia), Cristian Romero (Argentina), Rodrigo Betancur (Uruguay), Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal), Ben Davies (Wales)
Tottenham are another side that are likely to say goodbye to 11 players on a temporary basis and with this team potentially going under the radar in terms of a title quest, this quest would be aided by full fitness in the new year.
Although Spurs’ squad is far from threadbare, there is certainly a preferential group of players that Antonio Conte tends to use and if the Italian is to deliver a first Premier League crown to the white half of North London, he will need all his key men to be firing on all cylinders in 2023.
Arsenal – Players Involved – 9
Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka (England), Granit Xhaka (Switzerland), Thomas Partey (Ghana), Gabriel Magalhaes, Gabriel Jesus (Brazil), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Japan), Matt Turner (USA), William Saliba (France)
The team that arguably has the most to lose from a winter World Cup is Arsenal. Top of the table at the time of writing but will the quest for global supremacy elsewhere subsequently derail the Gunners’ bid to be champions?
That is the question that manager Mikel Arteta is hoping he does not have to answer and although Arsenal’s first eleven is as strong as it has ever been, it will only take one or two absentees to throw them largely off course.
Brighton – Players Involved – 8
Alexis Mac Allister (Argentina), Robert Sanchez (Spain), Tariq Lamptey (Ghana), Leandro Trossard (Belgium), Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupian, Jeremy Sarmiento (Ecuador), Kaoru Mitoma (Japan)
A sign of how far Brighton has come is the fact that Roberto De Zerbi is set to wave off eight of his squad to Qatar. A unit of players that will be aiming to impress at the World Cup and if they do, they will also place themselves in the shop window at the same time.
With the likes of Leandro Trossard and Tariq Lamptey being linked with moves up the football hierarchy, a good tournament for them may accelerate a transfer elsewhere. Which means fitness is not the key for Brighton’s new boss, it is the ability to hold on to his most important players.