What Will Happen in the Premier League Before the World Cup?
This is a soccer season like no other. Because of the unprecedented decision to play the FIFA World Cup at the end of the year, many of the top European leagues will have an enforced winter break. Some, like the Bundesliga in Germany, are well used to stopping games around the end of the year. But others – like the EPL – do not usually call a halt to proceedings.
To fit the World Cup into the schedule England’s Premier League will take a break in the middle of November and resume again the day after Christmas Day. That means that by the time the World Cup is finished, the teams will have only played a maximum of 16 games.
It also means that there are now just eight games to be played after the recent international break – and before the stoppage for the World Cup. Although that may seem a short time it is seven weeks that make or break a season. The sites featured on www.mytopsportsbooks.com will have plenty of markets and odds building up to the winner of the EPL. But these few weeks will be crucial.
Top Teams Pull Away
The season has seemed a little disjointed so far. With the international break coming in so early on in the campaign, some of the EPL teams had only played six games – with no one playing more than seven. That has left us with a strange looking table with Arsenal at the top and Brighton in the top four. It feels like that is something that will change in the next seven games.
Arsenal has undoubtedly improved this season and the club has to be applauded for keeping its faith in manager Mikel Arteta. But how much longer can the Gunners stay at the summit? The club now faces the likes of Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea before the break for the World Cup. We might be about to see this team drop down the league table a little.
What is more likely to happen is that Manchester City comes through. Already just a point behind Arsenal at the time of the international break, Pep Guardiola’s side has not always been in total control so far this season, but will look at the next few months as a perfect opportunity to stamp its authority on the EPL again.
Liverpool has not been the power everyone expected to see this season so far and it feels as though this section of the campaign will be crucial to whether Jurgen Klopp’s team challenge for the title again. There are other clubs – such as Tottenham Hotspur – that have looked more impressive. Now is the time to prove that they belong at the top.
At the time of writing there had been two managers that had already been shown the door. Scott Parker was always going to face a tough challenge in making his Bournemouth team competitive this season. But the owners of the club had obviously seen enough in the first four games to decide that it was time for him to leave.
The 9-0 humiliation against Liverpool was an obvious factor in Parker being sacked before the end of the first month of play. But, with the struggle Bournemouth face this season, it would have been no surprise if the head coach had been let go at some point in the year.
More surprising was the sacking of Thomas Tuchel. The former Chelsea manager obviously did not see eye to eye with the new owners at Stamford Bridge – and there had been some very public showing of displeasure from the German coach in the weeks preceding his departure. But Chelsea had only played six games in the league up until that point.
Now Chelsea has Graham Potter in charge – and he is considered one of the best new coaches in the EPL. But he will be forced to use the players Tuchel brought in and he may face a tough road ahead.
Speaking of tough tasks, Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers is the manager most pundits think could be next out the door in the EPL. The Foxes have started the season in woeful form and were rock bottom at the international break – not having won a single game.
Rodgers now has the next eight games to turn things around – and save his job. If Leicester is still anywhere near the bottom of the league by the time the World Cup comes around, he will not be the one picking the team after Christmas.
Goal Scoring Feats
When Erling Haaland joined Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, it was to add something special to Pep Guardiola’s attack. He would be the out-and-out goal scorer that City had, up until then, not really needed to be successful. But it was doubted whether Haaland would be able to replicate his Bundesliga goal record in England.
The Norwegian striker scored an incredible 62 goals in just 67 games for Dortmund. But English pundits looked at some of the opposition in the German top-flight and decided that he would not be able to be quite as impressive in the ‘best league in the world’. How wrong they were.
Haaland scored twice on his debut and was so impressive that it was considered a shock that he failed to get on the scoresheet in the second game even though City scored four without reply against Bournemouth. He has found the net in every single game since though – and even scored back-to-back hat-tricks at one point.
He is an absolute machine on the pitch and seems to be able to pull apart any defense, no matter what its pedigree. He now has 11 goals in the EPL – and 14 in all competitions. At this rate, he could be breaking all kinds of records in his very first season in England. The next seven weeks will tell us whether that might happen. There are a few tough games lined up, but he also has some very enticing fixtures against the likes of Fulham and Leicester too. By the time the World Cup comes around, he might already have scored an incredible 30 goals.