Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea: Which Premier League sides should worry about the World Cup?

What effect will a long World Cup campaign have on the Premier League?


Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

It’s a standard excuse for poor form at the start of the season: the players are tired, they’ve not had a proper rest or they’re given an extended holiday (and truncated pre-season) after doing well in the World Cup.

There’s a big discrepancy in some Premier League squads. A couple of teams won’t be sending any players at all, while one of the biggest teams will be sending fifteen players to Russia.

Here are the five teams who might be given the biggest headaches next season:

  1. 5 Leicester City


    Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

    Kasper Schmeichel will be between the sticks for Denmark and, with a group featuring Peru and Australia, will be hoping to go far in the competition.

    Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire will represent England and, while they might not make the first eleven, should both have a role to play.

    Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho will be playing alongside one another for Nigeria, while squad options Adrien Silva and Yohan Benalouane will be playing for Portugal and Tunisia respectively. 

  2. 4 Liverpool


    REUTERS/Phil Noble

    There's good and bad for Liverpool.

    Liverpool can consider themselves fortunate that a good portion of the team that will feature in Kyiv after a long and gruelling European campaign will have a well-deserved rest this summer, whether it's because of retirement, omission or their country not qualifying: Loris Karius, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner, amongst others. 

    Emre Can has been chosen for Germany but it appears he shouldn't be a concern for Liverpool with his departure imminent. Additionally, Guinean Naby Keita should be fresh. 

    Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson have earned a right to make big contributions for England but the most concerning thing should be the front three: Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have all played the vast majority of the season, while their style is dependant on hard-work and energy. 

    All three will be playing in their first World Cup and vitally important for their countries. 

  3. 3 Chelsea


    REUTERS/Andrew Yates

    Chelsea will be thankful that Julen Lopetegui has omitted Marcos Alonso, Alvaro Morata, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro from the Spain squad. 

    They can also be thankful that Tiémoué Bakayoko and David Luiz won't be in Russia as they could be important to their future plans. 

    Elsewhere, Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley won't be playing with England which could be a blessing as they might be depended upon in the early weeks of next season, though given their contributions at Chelsea, that should be of concern. 

    This is because there are a lot of others that will be going: Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger (although he may be omitted from the final squad), Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Victor Moses might leave their defence a little light or tired. Both Thibaut Courtois and Willy Caballero are going. 

    Forwards Willian, Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard will have ambitions of going deep into the competition.

  4. 2 Tottenham


    Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

    Serge Aurier, Ben Davies, Erik Lamela, Victor Wanyama, Moussa Sissoko and Lucas Moura will all have a long rest this summer. 

    But Spurs have a lot of players flying out to Russia. Hugo Lloris will be representing France, while Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sánchez, Eric Dier and Kieran Trippier could give Mauricio Pochettino something to consider. 

    Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld are going but could well no longer be his players come August. 

    Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli will have hopes of making a big contribution for their countries. 

    Meanwhile, Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen are all the most important players for their countries and have a lot of responsibility.

  5. 1 Manchester City


    REUTERS/Phil Noble

    The Champions have almost all of their senior squad jetting off to Russia, which should be no surprise after their stellar campaign. 

    Only Chilean Claudio Bravo, Ukrainian Oleksandr Zinchenko and France's Aymeric Laporte of their senior squad won't be going so Pep Guardiola might give some more opportunities to youth players like Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz in pre-season and the early part of next season.

    The likes of Ederson, Vincent Kompany, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Fernandinho, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus should have ambitions of capping off their exceptional season with the biggest trophy of them all. 

    Dare I say the English contingent might even dream of emulating Guardiola's core at Barcelona and Bayern Munich for Spain and Germany in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups?

Here are the teams that get off lightly:

  1. 5 Manchester United


    Reuters/Lee Smith

    Manchester United will be well represented in Russia: Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones and Ashley Young made the England squad, while Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and David de Gea will be immensely important for their countries.

    The wealth of options for France and Spain mean that Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial will miss out. 

    Eric Bailly's Ivory Coast and Antonio Valencia's Ecuador failed to qualify, but the best news for Jose Mourinho is that Alexis Sanchez won't be going with Chile.

    The January signee has had a sluggish start at Manchester United, but a rest in the summer - Sanchez's first summer off since 2013 after a series of Copa Americas and Confederations Cup - could be exactly what the player needs to find his form again.

  2. 4 Bournemouth


    Reuters/Matthew Childs

    Eddie Howe said it would "mean everything" to have some of his Cherries stars involved in the World Cup, but he won't be getting his wish.

    Australians Brad Smith and Adam Federici failed to make the final squad for the Socceroos. 

    Lewis Cook has made strides forward this season and was well worth his first England cap in the Spring friendlies but only made Gareth Southgate's stand-by list.

  3. 3 Newcastle United


    Reuters/Lee Smith

    Newcastle won't have a single player at the World Cup this summer.

    Mohamed Diame has been a revelation in midfield in recent weeks and has over thirty caps for Senegal. He would surely be a good option for them but retired from international football last year.

    Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey both made strong cases to play for England but without being picked will mean Rafael Benitez doesn't have any headaches about fatigue for next season. 

  4. 2 Arsenal


    REUTERS/Peter Powell

    Arsenal aren't without their fair share of internationals but don't have too many in Russia and most of those are squad options, such as Colombia's David Ospina, Egypt's Mohamed Elneny, Nigeria's Alex Iwobi and England's Danny Welbeck.

    Of their first team, only Spain's Nacho Monreal and Germany's Mesut Ozil will be playing - although both should be going deep into the competition. 

    With a vital summer ahead, the new manager will be delighted that Alexandre Lacazette, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi and Jack Wilshere have been omitted for their national teams. 

    Wales' Aaron Ramsey and Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will also be missing out.  

  5. 1 Burnley


    Reuters/Carl Recine

    There are teams with fewer players going to Russia but with a small squad and European commitments next season, Sean Dyche will be delighted that not many will be going to Russia.

    Having that leans heavily on hardworking British and Irish players has worked wonders for the team this season and this is a bonus - though James Tarkowski can consider himself unfortunate to miss out. 

    Only Nick Pope, who might not even play for England and Iceland's Johann Gudmundsson will be there. 

    What effect do you think the World Cup will have on the Premier League? Let us know by commenting below.

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