Graham Cummins: How will World Cup break impact Premier League players?

Arsenal were flying high before the trip to Qatar but now they are without striker Gabriel Jesus after getting injured for Brazil
Graham Cummins: How will World Cup break impact Premier League players?

Can Arsenal's Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka keep up their form? Picture: John Walton/PA Wire.

ALTHOUGH the World Cup provided us with probably more entertainment than we expected, having the Premier League back is what football is all about.

Nothing beats the drama of the top-tier of English football, even a World Cup that produced one of the greatest finals of all-time.

It’s time to move past Argentina’s victory and Lionel Messi finally getting his hands on a trophy that does seal his place as one of the greatest if not the greatest of all-time to kick a football.

We can return to drooling over Erling Haaland and seeing if Arsenal can continue their incredible campaign or if will they once again bottle a golden opportunity.

So much has been made of Haaland having a break during the World Cup and how beneficial it will be for him. 

Some players are going to be coming back from the World Cup and might lack a bit of motivation.

Throughout this Premier League season, many would have been playing with that excitement of knowing that the biggest international tournament was just around the corner and they had the hope of achieving greatness with their country and writing themselves in the history books.

Now that excitement and anticipation is gone, and they no longer can achieve history in a month. Instead for many, they must go through the everyday grind with little chance of success.

Haaland knew he wasn’t going to be participating in this World Cup and his sole focus this year would have been winning major honours with Manchester City. With the hectic schedule teams face over the festive period, Haaland will be in prime condition to spearhead City’s title pursuit. Judging from social media, a lot of Premier League players are returning to their clubs off the back of a mini-holiday, whereas Haaland had his vacation early and has been back in training with City for several weeks in order to be ready to add to his 18 league goals.

Arsenal are the team that City are hunting down. Although many would have tipped the Gunners to have a good campaign considering the signings they made over the summer, few would have predicted Mikel Arteta’s side to be in a title race.

The World Cup has disrupted the momentum Arsenal have built since the beginning of the season, and the loss of Gabriel Jesus to injury could affect the Gunners’ title challenge. While some might see the loss of Jesus as detrimental, it could be a blessing in disguise.

Brazil's Gabriel Jesus is challenged by Cameroon's Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa. Picture: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko
Brazil's Gabriel Jesus is challenged by Cameroon's Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa. Picture: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

The Brazilian has failed to score in his last 11 appearances for the league leaders, yet his place in Arsenal’s starting 11 remained unquestionable. Yes I understand he works hard for the team, but so did Paul Dickov during his playing career, yet he was never spoken about as one of the best strikers in the league.

Any striker can run around for the team.

Many questioned why Pep Guardiola got rid of Jesus and the answer is simple, he does not score enough goals.

If Arsenal are to go on to win the league, they need a striker that will at least get 12 league goals before the end of the season and Jesus’ scoring ratio indicates that he was not the man to do that.

Arteta might have wanted to drop Jesus because of his goal drought but might have been fearful of changing a winning team. Now he will have the opportunity to give someone else the chance to be someone that Arsenal can count on to score the goals they need to win this title.

Is that man Eddie Nketiah? Probably. I feel the Gunners need to invest in a striker during the transfer window.

FOOLISH

Some have foolishly suggested Cristiano Ronaldo. The former Manchester United player would certainly be a short-term investment for Arsenal but judging from his dealings with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, it doesn’t appear to be that Arteta knows how to handle a big personality.

Were Ronaldo to join Arsenal then the attention and focus would be all about him. The Gunners need a striker that will work hard for the team but knows how to score goals.

They could do a lot worse than recruiting Ivan Toney.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank celebrates with Ivan Toney. Picture: PA
Brentford manager Thomas Frank celebrates with Ivan Toney. Picture: PA

The Brentford striker ticks a lot of boxes of a striker that Arsenal need. He knows the league, lives in London, works hard for the team and most importantly knows how to score goals.

Toney might be pricey, but he would be worth every penny for what he would do to the Arsenal team.

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