The Premier League’s restart is fast approaching following Argentina’s World Cup triumph in Qatar, and each top flight team is gunning to sink their teeth back into the campaign after six weeks away.
Having experienced a significant period of time away from the competition, it is not yet known how the teams will adjust to such a lengthy hiatus midway through the Premier League season.
Liverpool hitman Mohamed Salah and Golden Boot leader Erling Haaland will be among those itching to grace the stage once again having missed out on the World Cup.
Lionel Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory with a 4-2 victory on penalties against France
Manchester City hitman Erling Haaland will be eager to return having missed the World Cup
Meanwhile, certain clubs have been hit with major availability concerns ahead of the league’s restart, with Tottenham’s Richarlison confirmed out for a month and Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines following their injuries in Qatar.
And for the Argentinian and French stars who featured in the World Cup final on Sunday, managers have only been given a week to welcome them back to the fold.
With that in mind, Sportsmail has ranked each club based on the World Cup minutes their players have played ahead of the restart.
Jurgen Klopp and the rest of the Premier League are getting ready to return on December 26
The data explained…
The data – provided by Stats Perform – looks at players who have made at least one appearance for a Premier League side in all competitions during the 2022-23 season so far.
This means that those who have played at the World Cup but are yet to appear for a Premier League side this season are excluded, such as Facundo Pellistri at Manchester United or Pape Matar Sarr at Spurs.
The data also excludes Cristiano Ronaldo’s minutes from Manchester United’s totals following his exit from the club last month.
Cristiano Ronaldo has not been included in the data following his exit from Man United
Southampton – 270 mins
With only two players earning call-ups to Qatar, Southampton head into the restart holding the most well-rested squad in the league.
Centre-half Mohammed Salisu played 90 minutes in all three of Ghana’s group stage fixtures, netting the opening goal in his nation’s 3-2 win against South Korea.
Meanwhile, German youngster Armel Bella-Kotchap travelled with Hansi Flick’s squad but failed to register a single minute in Qatar, having previously registered just two international caps for his country.
Crystal Palace – 406 mins
Like Southampton, the Eagles also had a player inside the Ghanaian camp this tournament, as Jordan Ayew flew to Qatar to take part in the second World Cup of his career.
The forward started two of Ghana’s three matches and came on in the Black Stars’ final group stage clash against Portugal.
Joachim Andersen played every minute of Denmark’s disappointing World Cup campaign and will be looking forward to returning alongside Palace centre-half Marc Guehi, who narrowly missed out on Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Newcastle – 453 mins
Although five Newcastle stars jetted off to Qatar last month, Eddie Howe’s players have managed to evade hefty workloads.
Kieran Trippier played 206 minutes during the group stages for England but was then replaced by Kyle Walker for the knockouts
Despite starting off the tournament as Southgate’s first choice right-back, chalking up 205 minutes in the group stage, Kieran Trippier was eventually replaced by Kyle Walker and did not feature against Senegal or France.
Nick Pope stayed rooted to the bench and Callum Wilson only played two short cameo appearances before suffering an injury before the knockouts.
Having missed Switzerland’s first two games, Fabian Schar played 90 minutes against Serbia and was hooked off at half-time during their 6-1 mauling versus Portugal in the last-16.
Finally, Newcastle’s star midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who many fans tipped to return with a World Cup medal around his neck before Brazil’s shock quarter-final exit to Croatia, only racked up 35 minutes of football.
Bournemouth – 495 mins
Welshmen Chris Mepham and Kieffer Moore were the only two Cherries who packed their bags for Qatar, but the pair still managed to accumulate almost 500 minutes on the pitch.
A mainstay in Rob Page’s back line, Mepham played 90 minutes in all three of Wales’ Group B clashes. Meanwhile, Kieffer Moore started against both USA and England having impressed in his second-half appearance versus Iran.
Gary O’Neil will hope the Welsh pair return in good form as the Cherries look to continue evading the drop zone throughout the second half of the campaign.
Welsh duo Chris Mepham (L) and Kieffer Moore (R) travelled back home before the knockouts
Brentford – 509 mins
Bees trio Mikkel Damsgaard, Mathias Jensen and Christian Norgaard were each in and out of the Danish team as Kasper Hjulmand struggled to find the perfect formula in Qatar.
Norgaard travelled for just one substitute appearance against France, while Jensen and Damsgaard each started once, taking up spots on the bench in their other two respective fixtures.
Bryan Mbeumo was a regular part of Cameroon’s World Cup campaign, playing all three matches, while Iran winger Saman Ghoddos notched 45 minutes in total.
Finally, David Raya was too far down Luis Enrique’s pecking order to feature at the World Cup, with Spain instead opting for Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simon.
Mikkel Damsgaard, 22, had a disappointing World Cup as Denmark finished bottom in Group D
Wolves – 514 mins
Recording just five minutes more in total than the Bees, Wolves had five players starring at the 2022 World Cup.
Portuguese internationals Jose Sa, Matheus Nunes and Ruben Neves saw their tournament hit a road block in the quarter-finals against Morocco, with the latter the only consistent regular in Fernando Santos’ first team plans.
Forwards Hwang Hee-chan and Raul Jimenez were also at the tournament with South Korea and Mexico respectively.
New boss Julen Lopetegui has plenty to do to get the rock-bottom club out of danger, and his five World Cup stars will likely play a major role in helping the Spaniard avoid the drop.
Wolves star Hwang Hee-chan helped South Korea to the last-16 for the first time since 2010
Leeds – 689 mins
Three of Leeds’ summer signings Rasmus Kristensen, Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson jetted off to Qatar last month, each returning with plenty of game time under their belts.
Danish full-back Kristensen played 235 minutes under Hjulmand while USA captain Adams played every minute for his country before their last-16 exit.
Fellow American Aaronson was less involved but still played parts of every match under Gregg Berhalter, chalking up 105 minutes in total.
Leeds urged they would be ready to face defending champions Manchester City on Boxing Day.
Leeds midfielder and international captain Tyler Adams (L) played every game for USA in Qatar
Everton – 825 mins
Jordan Pickford and Conor Coady experienced contrasting tournaments with the Three Lions, as the Toffees goalkeeper starred in every match until England’s World Cup elimination in the quarter-finals.
Coady, meanwhile, failed to record a single minute during his second successive major tournament under Southgate, who brought the centre-half along solely for his leadership qualities.
Amadou Onana secured one start and one appearance off the bench before Belgium’s shock group stage exit, so the midfielder should return to Goodison Park well rested.
Idrissa Gana Gueye played all three group stage games but was suspended for Senegal during their last-16 match against the Three Lions.
There was more heartbreak for Jordan Pickford as England crashed out in the quarter-finals
Nottingham Forest – 867 mins
Remo Freuler will likely return to the City Ground the most fatigued after the World Cup, having recorded 324 minutes for Switzerland before their last-16 elimination against Portugal.
Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey started the first two matches of the group stage, but his red card suspension against Iran cut his tournament short, with Leicester’s Danny Ward coming in to face England.
Neco Williams and Brennan Johnson also represented the Dragons during their first World Cup appearance since 1958, while Senegal’s Cheikhou Kouyate played 73 minutes against Holland.
Wayne Hennessey was sent off against Iran and thus missed Wales’ final match versus England
Leicester City – 999 mins
Sixty seconds shy of quadruple figures, the Foxes are the last team placed in the bottom half for minutes played at the tournament.
Had England playmaker James Maddison not suffered an injury before travelling to Qatar, it’s highly likely their minutes total would have edged into the thousands.
But Maddison, just like Belgian defender Wout Faes, failed to register a single minute in Qatar, despite soaking up the World Cup experience.
Youri Tielemans and Timothy Castagne were regular fixtures in the Belgium side that crashed out prematurely, while Nampalys Mendy and Daniel Amartey represented their respective African nations Senegal and Ghana.
Ward was somewhat fortunate to get 90 minutes against England, following Hennessey’s sending-off against Iran.
James Maddison (R) met his idol David Beckham (L) but did not play a single minute in Qatar
West Ham – 1,157 mins
Despite Brazil’s Lucas Paqueta and England’s Declan Rice travelling to Qatar, it was Moroccan centre-back Nayef Aguerd who advanced the furthest in the competition from West Ham’s squad.
However, after sustaining a thigh injury against Spain in the last-16, Aguerd did not feature in the quarter-finals or semi-finals and recorded just 354 minutes on the pitch as a result.
In addition, Paqueta played 396 minutes for Brazil, Rice racked up 418 minutes for the Three Lions and Thilo Kehrer made one 70-minute appearance for Germany against Spain.
Despite making it all the way to the final with France, Alphonse Areola failed to feature at the World Cup under Didier Deschamps.
Nayef Aguerd hurt his thigh against Spain in the last-16 and missed the rest of the World Cup
Aston Villa – 1,216 mins
Emiliano Martinez’s accumulated the lion’s share of World Cup minutes amongst Villa’s players, having led Argentina to glory in Qatar.
The No 1 played 690 minutes across the competition, which is the highest total amongst Premier League players at the tournament.
The fact Martinez is a goalkeeper and not an outfield player will give Villa fans hope that he returns without excessive fatigue, but it is likely something Unai Emery will monitor ahead of the league’s return.
The remaining minutes from Aston Villa’s total came from Belgian midfielder Leander Dendoncker and Polish duo Jan Bednarek and Matty Cash, who were eliminated by France in the last-16.
Emiliano Martinez saved Kingsley Coman’s vital penalty to lead Argentina to World Cup glory
Fulham – 1,331 mins
Six players have returned to Craven Cottage from Qatar this month, although none of Fulham’s World Cup stars advanced further than the quarter-final stage.
Joao Palhinha was mostly overlooked by his manager Fernando Santos and only played 25 minutes for Portugal during the tournament
Portugal midfielder Joao Palhinha was the only player to make it to the last eight but featured for just 25 minutes during the competition, which ironically was the lowest total amongst the Cottagers.
Wales stars Harry Wilson and Dan James were each in and out of Page’s starting line-up but still recorded 160 and 155 minutes respectively, while Serbian hitman Aleksandar Mitrovic and USA duo Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson played important first team roles for their countries before returning home.
Brighton – 1,543 mins
The Seagulls had eight players from their squad featuring at the World Cup, which was the most from any club outside the conventional top six.
Alexis Mac Allister was a key part of Argentina’s success in Qatar, notably assisting Angel di Maria for his side’s second goal in the World Cup final against France.
Ecuadorian trio Pervis Estupinan, Moises Caicedo and Jeremy Sarmiento starred in every group stage match at the World Cup, even if the latter had to rely on three substitute appearances off the bench.
Meanwhile, Kaoru Mitoma shined in 162 minutes as an impact substitute for Japan during their historic World Cup campaign, featuring in wins against Spain and Germany.
Brighton fans will be pleased that star man Leandro Trossard only chalked up 103 minutes for Belgium, as No 1 goalkeeper Robert Sanchez failed to get on the pitch with Spain.
Kaoru Mitoma impressed for Japan but missed his key spot-kick in the shootout against Croatia
Arsenal – 1,699 mins
The league leaders have played considerably fewer minutes in Qatar compared to title challengers Manchester City, which bodes well for Mikel Arteta’s side ahead of the winter schedule.
Of course, the medial ligament damage sustained by Jesus against Cameroon during the group stage is a worry for the Gunners, with the Brazilian set to face up to three months on the sidelines.
Gabriel Jesus is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after sustaining medial ligament damage whilst on World Cup duty with Brazil
Bukayo Saka, Granit Xhaka, Matt Turner and Thomas Partey each carried out regular first-team roles in Qatar and will thus return the most fatigued, while Gabriel Martinelli, Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba played at least some part at the tournament.
Meanwhile, English duo Ben White, who left the Three Lions camp early, and Aaron Ramsdale failed to register a single minute in the Middle East.
Liverpool – 1,789 mins
All seven Liverpool players who travelled to Qatar graced the pitch at the World Cup, although Southgate only trusted right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold for 33 minutes against Wales in the group stage. By contrast, Jordan Henderson was key part of the manager’s plan at the tournament and started England’s last three matches.
Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk played all 480 minutes for Holland until his side’s quarter-final exit to Argentina on penalties.
It is likely Jurgen Klopp will rely heavily on Darwin Nunez with injury concerns surrounding Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota, and the Uruguayan only recorded 242 minutes before his early elimination.
Group stage regular Ibrahima Konate was dropped for Dayot Upamecano in the last-16 and quarter-finals before regaining his place in the last four, while Alisson Becker totalled 380 minutes for Brazil.
His international and club team-mate Fabinho was behind Casemiro in the pecking order and therefore starred for just 109 minutes.
Virgil van Dijk played all 480 minutes for Holland until their exit to Argentina in the last eight
Hakim Ziyech shone for Morocco during the African nation’s fairytale World Cup journey
Chelsea – 3,062 mins
Considering Chelsea’s woeful run of form heading into the World Cup, Graham Potter would have loved for his players to come back to Stamford Bridge fully refreshed and ready for action.
Whilst not quite the most fatigued squad in the league in terms of minutes played, the Blues had a dozen players star at the World Cup and most played a significant role for their international teams in Qatar.
Aside from Conor Gallagher, every one of Chelsea’s World Cup stars recorded minutes at the tournament.
Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly were regulars for Senegal, Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic were crucial to Morocco and Croatia’s deep World Cup runs and Thiago Silva starred consistently for Brazil.
Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling started England’s opening two matches before taking on bit-part roles under Southgate, with the winger forced to return home midway through the tournament because of a burglary raid.
Spain’s Cesar Azpilicueta, USA’s Christian Pulisic and Switzerland’s Denis Zakaria were each eliminated in the round of 16, while Kai Havertz only played 102 minutes for Germany.
Havertz could emerge a key player up front for Chelsea during the busy winter schedule following Armando Broja’s season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear.
Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic picked up plenty of minutes until his side’s semi-final exit
Manchester United – 3,403 mins
Lisandro Martinez returns to Old Trafford as a World Cup winner despite playing no part in the final against France.
The defender accumulated 301 minutes under Lionel Scaloni, while fellow World Cup finalist Raphael Varane played 521 minutes for France before suffering defeat on penalties.
Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford were regularly used by Southgate in Qatar and head back to Manchester in solid form, while Casemiro, Fred and Antony each starred for Brazil.
Finally, Portuguese pair Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes, Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen and Dutch defender Tyrell Malacia return from international duty in the Middle East.
Centre-back Raphael Varane played 521 minutes for runners-up France during the tournament
Tottenham – 3,454 mins
All eyes will be on Harry Kane when the Premier League kicks off again, with fans eager to see how the hitman recovers from his crucial penalty miss in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Not only will Kane have to battle the emotional torment of missing the spot-kick, he will also need to recover physically from playing 403 minutes at the tournament.
World Cup winner Cristian Romero returns to north London having starred in every match for Argentina, while Hugo Lloris racked up 570 minutes as France captain.
Several more first team players including Ivan Perisic, Son Heung-min, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Rodrigo Bentacur and Ben Davies featured regularly in Qatar, and Richarlison is set for a spell on the sidelines following his hamstring injury.
Eric Dier also rejoined the Spurs camp with just a 13-minute cameo against Senegal under his belt, so should be raring to go by Boxing Day.
Striker Harry Kane will hope to recover quickly from his abysmal penalty miss against France
Manchester City – 4,628 mins
The reigning champions had an astonishing 16 players featuring at the World Cup and will return from Qatar the most fatigued, at least in terms of minutes.
John Stones, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish crashed out with England in the quarter-finals, while Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva exited at the same stage following Portugal’s defeat by Morocco.
Summer arrival Julian Alvarez heads back to the Etihad with a World Cup winners medal, having chalked up 436 minutes for Argentina throughout the competition.
Meanwhile, Nathan Ake, Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Ederson, Manuel Akanji, Aymeric Laporte and Rodri return to Guardiola’s squad having each played important first team roles for their respective nations.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City squad played over 4,500 minutes at the World Cup in Qatar