Arsenal enjoyed a great start to their domestic campaign, but the World Cup break has the potential to derail their improbable title bid.
The Gunners are flying. Top of the league through 14 games with only one loss sees Mikel Arteta’s side an eyebrow-raising five points clear of Manchester City.
With the collective football world now paused for six weeks due to the World Cup, has it come at the wrong time for the Gunners?
Did the World Cup come at the wrong time for Arsenal?
From a player welfare point of view, it’s a no. The number of games that the Gunners had to play through October and November was colossal, but if there were no World Cup, the games would have been stretched out more.
The players not selected to represent their countries will play in friendly games throughout the World Cup, but it will feel more like a mini pre-season. Not proper games.
With no domestic football for six weeks, is there a risk that Arsenal will lose some of its ‘juice’ when the Premier League commences? Possibly.
Arsenal had everything going on all cylinders before the break, winning four out of five games in all competitions. In the league, the Gunners have been nearly impossible to get points off.
Only Southampton (draw) and Manchester United (loss) remain the only teams to take points off Arteta’s side.
So, with the league being paused, what can we expect from the Gunners when they return? Will they be at the same level with the same hunger? Or will it take them a few weeks to get into the swing of things?
Remember that the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba, Benjamin White, Thomas Partey, and Aaron Ramsdale will be in action.
Will they need a breather?
Having some of those players out certainly hinders Arsenal. The Gunners will have three games back before a brutal two-game stretch against Tottenham and Manchester United. Will they be back by then? We certainly hope so.
Everything has gone swimmingly for Arsenal so far, but the World Cup break has the potential to undo all of their excellent work.
Let’s hope it doesn’t.