Many consider the Premier League to be the greatest league in the world. However, the best footballing competition is undoubtedly the World Cup. With 32 nations all vying for one trophy, it truly is the tournament of dreams.
The World Cup will usually take place outside of the conventional domestic season, however, the 2022 edition is the exception and is the first ever to be held in winter.
Croatia had a dream #FIFAWorldCup debut in 1998 ??
But this is much more than just a story about a talented football team ?
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 12, 2022
Premier League players are going far
Being one of the most entertaining leagues in football means that great players are ever-present. And, having those exceptional footballers, it’s no surprise to see a number of them still performing at this stage of the World Cup.
As England went to the last eight, it’s natural to assume there would be a large number of Premier League players in their squad. Of course, having such an intense league has meant that the English team has improved in the last few years. They were just as good as France, who knocked them out. Les Blues are tipped to win the whole thing.
In fact, if you were to bet on World Cup, you’d find France are the favourites to win the competition at 11/10. Going out to the eventual winners would show they have the talent after their display against them, but World Cup 2022 predictions have been difficult this year as there have been numerous upsets.
Before departing from our Al Wakrah base, we sat down with Gareth Southgate to reflect on the #ThreeLions‘ @FIFAWorldCup adventure, last night’s game and your incredible support this winter. pic.twitter.com/meU9DKy2UF
— England (@England) December 11, 2022
However, the Premier League is an international competition with players from all over the globe. In fact, a large number of top-flight teams still have at least one player left in the World Cup. Having so many players going so far would suggest they may be tired going back into a Premier League season.
What could contribute to players being a bit off the pace when they return from the World Cup will be the packed schedule. Teams in the Champions League and Europa League would have seen their last games coming in that competition coming at the start of November after a rushed group stage. The knockout stages will come in early February, only one and a half months after the conclusion of the World Cup.
However, that is nothing when compared to the Premier League. The last games before the World Cup were on November 13th, only one week before Qatar opened against Ecuador. And the World Cup final will be played on December 18th, with the Premier League restarting on the 26th. Having only a week between the start and end of the World Cup seems to be hugely detrimental for the players. With every nation left having at least one Premier League player, it’ll be noteworthy to see how those who were at the World Cup perform when they get back.
The need for a league break?
What appears to become apparent, especially in this circumstance, is the need for a winter break. The Premier League has discussed having a gap in the past but it has usually been dismissed, although it would seem wise if they had made an exception this year. Leagues like the Bundesliga have a winter pause and it usually helps footballers perform better during the latter stages of the season. It’s too late to change now, but in the future, the Premier League might be more considerate of its players.
The Premier League may be the most exciting in the world, but it should look out for its players more. By not taking a break, we could see a drop off in performance when it returns on December 26th.