FIFA’s hugely controversial decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar has come under scrutiny in a variety of circles, ranging from questionable finances and human rights issues, all the way through to the environmental impact of staging the biggest football competition in the world. One key issue that has seemingly been swept under the carpet however is how hosting the World Cup in the middle of the domestic English Premier League season will impact upon the players, teams and fans alike.
Traditionally, the football season in the UK runs from August through to the following May, with weather conditions and increased exposure often key for sports broadcasters and sports betting companies. The Premier League is by far and away the biggest football competition in the UK and betting activity across every single fixture is huge. Sportsbooks do all they can to attract punters with new customer betting offers and try to ensure they can access a range of markets on every Premier League game, making it the most popular event to bet on in the UK.
Hosting the World Cup in November not only goes against the traditions of the competition being held at the end of a season in the summer months but it also directly impacts upon every Premier League team and in turn, most other football teams within the English Football League pyramid.
This new development within the modern game has left analysts and experts to try and predict how the Premier League will pan out after the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the element of unknown adds a sense of intrigue to the remainder of the Premier League campaign.
Manchester City the team to beat
Having won four of the last five Premier League titles in England, Manchester City are in the midst of a previously unheralded era of dominance at the club. Whilst European glory in the Champions League remains elusive, City have proved their strength in the Premier League on countless occasions and they once again look to be the team to beat, after the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Financial power is certainly something City can thank for their consistency at the top level but in Pep Guardiola they have one of the elite coaches in world football and he continues to demand so much from his side. The summer acquisition of Erling Haaland looks to have given City increased impetus too this season and with Haaland’s Norway not reaching the World Cup in Qatar, he could come back refreshed and firing after the World Cup hiatus.
Arsenal in the mix
It has been a good few years since Arsenal have been genuine Premier League title contenders with their last league triumph coming back in 2004 but they look to have plenty about them this season.
Mikel Arteta is a manager on a mission to deliver success at the Emirates Stadium and his young squad look very capable of challenging this term. Key questions surrounding Arsenal will be whether they have the longevity to stay the distance in the Premier League title race and how the World Cup in Qatar will affect their performance levels after the tournament.
Liverpool in transition
Whilst the aforementioned Manchester City have clinched most of the Premier League trophies in recent years, Liverpool have run them very close on plenty of occasions. Jurgen Klopp managed to win the title with his side in 2020, as well as the Champions League trophy the year before, in what has been a very successful spell for the club.
However, the reds saw key man Sadio Mane depart the club for Bayern Munich in the summer of 2022 and with defeats to the likes of Nottingham Forest and Leeds already this season, Liverpool are off the pace and look to be a side in transition.
The World Cup in Qatar could prove to be a welcome distraction for Liverpool but they know they will need to respond when regular Premier League action returns after Christmas.
Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United on the fringes
With Arsenal flying high, City remaining consistent and Liverpool faltering, not too much attention has been placed on Chelsea, Tottenham, or Manchester United in the Premier League title race, but all three sides certainly won’t have given up hope just yet.
Chelsea replaced Thomas Tuchel with Graham Potter in September, a decision that looks to have broadly paid dividends and the blues will be hoping to adjust to life under the Englishman after the World Cup.
Antonio Conte’s Tottenham look to be more resolute than in previous years, as they seek to end their 60-year wait for an English league title and they will be eager to come back from Qatar firing on all cylinders.
Manchester United remain very much the outsiders for Premier League glory in 2022/23, with Erik ten Hag still getting to grips with life at Old Trafford and they will want to continue to see improvements in results and performances after the World Cup.