The Premier League has come to a standstill to make way for the inaugural Winter World Cup in Qatar.
On December 26, the highest level of English football resumes – but until then, clubs will need to adapt in this most unusual of seasons.
We contacted all 20 Premier League clubs and asked about their plans for the off-season. Here’s what they’re up to while Gareth is Southgate England and Rob Pages Wales Aiming for World Cup glory…
Will the players get an extended break?
Several clubs have sent players whose nations did not qualify for Qatar on a break. at Manchester Citythe players are on vacation until December 5 – they will keep fit, but there will be no official training.
This is an issue at other clubs; Newcastle United have given their players time off, although not completely shut down – players are given a less intense regime to work on in order to stay fit.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has spoken of the break as a “mini pre-season” that he hopes to repeat last January, when a mid-season break after Saudi Arabia helped save them promotion from relegation and their excellent form Campaign that has led them to advance to third place in the table.
at Brighton, Players are off practice until November 28, while those at Brentford have two extra days – they return on November 30th.
everton The players, meanwhile, will be given a short break after returning to Australia from their winter tour, with full training resuming in early December.
Managers have spoken about the need to balance the season break to give players a break while also ensuring there is no holiday hangover on December 26th.
At his first press conference Wolverhampton Wanderers Coach Julen Lopetegui said: “It’s good to be able to enjoy the World Cup now, rest a little, work a month and come back.”
A furlough for players has been more enforced for some clubs as they are still finalizing plans for the break. crystal palace told BBC Sport that a mid-season tour and training dates are still planned.
This is also at Southampton, where the firing of Ralph Hassenhuttl threw up their breakup plans. New manager Nathan Jones said after the Liverpool defeat they still plan an away trip and some friendlies.
Who goes where?
Premier League clubs will be traveling to all corners of the world during this break, with many players absent from the inaugural World Cup in the Middle East still to be found in the area.
Reigning Masters Manchester City will be in a warm-weather training camp in Abu Dhabi, with two World Cup absentees Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez being the two most notable names.
Haaland has said he wished he could be at the World Cup, but with Norway failing to qualify for the tournament, the 22-year-old will use the break to recharge for the remainder of the Premier League season.
“Obviously I wish I would play in the World Cup, but that’s the reality now. I’ll relax my body and mind a lot and then I’ll train,” he said.
Haaland will use the break to recharge and take a break from competitive football – despite non-league Ashton United’s attempts to loan him out.
City will return to training in the UK from December 12, but they obviously won’t know exactly when the World Cup players will return until their teams are eliminated.
This applies to all Premier League clubs who have players who could represent their country in the World Cup final just eight days before national duties resume.
at Chelsea, Manager Graham Potter, for example, spoke of the need to be adaptable and using the break to recover from injuries and take stock of the season.
“I think it will be an advantage,” Potter said after the Premier League defeat by Newcastle. “We will have a lot of players away so we don’t have too many to work with but at the same time we all need a change of environment and that will help.
“We have to use it that way. We have to look at it positively in that regard. Recharge your batteries and start over.”
The members of Liverpool The first team not to feature at the World Cup will spend 12 days in the United Arab Emirates, with their domestic fixture schedule now suspended until the Carabao Cup game in Manchester City on December 22. Leicester City will also be at a warm-weather camp in Abu Dhabi before playing at least one behind-closed-doors friendly.
newcastle Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will return from December 4th to December 10th, including the game against Al Hilal in Riyadh on December 8th.
Roberto de Zerbi is reduced Brighton After the break until the end of November, Kader is going to Dubai in early December for a training week that will include at least one friendly.
BBC Sport understands that too wolves will travel to Dubai with at least one friendly in early December, but details are yet to be finalized due to the recent managerial change.
They would reportedly travel to Turkey for a friendly against Serie A leaders Napoli but the sacking of Bruno Lage and the length of time it took to appoint Lopetegui appear to have changed things.
away from the middle east, Manchester United have arranged a mid-season break to Spain for the players not in World Cup action. They train in Cádiz for a week in warm weather.
LeedsUnited They are also expected to travel to Spain for seven days after a week’s holiday for the players not playing at the World Cup. This is the majority of the first-team squad – they have three players at the World Cup; The US duo Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson and the Dane Rasmus Kristensen.
Jesse Marsch’s side were considering a two-week break followed by a camp in the US, according to BBC Sport, but that has been postponed.
Brentford meanwhile will also train in Spain Fulham go to Portugal for a week.
Are more games planned?
In addition to warm-weather training Liverpool will face Lyon and AC Milan in a friendly tournament called Dubai Super Cup.
arsenal will also face the same French and Italian opponents in the two-game tournament at Al Maktoum Stadium. The two English giants will not face each other.
Gunners manager Mikel Arteta said of the friendlies: “It’s an easy journey as one of the biggest sponsors we have at Emirates is a part of it, plus we’ve been there and we know the facilities and it’s a really good environment to work in.
“The weather is spectacular and the World Cup is so close, so it’s so easy for any player that’s around to get it back straight away. I think it ticks all the boxes that we need.
“It’s not really different than every summer when there’s a European competition or a World Cup. You start with the pre-season and in the first three weeks there are six, seven, sometimes 10 players who don’t play because they’re competing with teams have played in their national team and it will be the same here. The thing is after the World Cup until the first competitive game, this turning point is really very short.
Manchester United play two friendlies – on December 7 in Cadiz and on December 10 in Seville at Real Betis
everton play two games in the Sydney Cup – they meet Celtic on Sunday and Western Sydney Wanderers next Wednesday.
back in uk, crystal palace host Brazilian side Botafogo at Selhurst Park on December 3. The game is the club’s first time against a top-flight Brazilian team.
AstonVilla have agreed to play a friendly in Cardiff on November 30, which is a tribute game to the late Peter Whittingham, who played for both clubs. They’ve also announced one at Villa Park against Villarreal – new manager Unai Emery’s old club – on December 15.
leeds face Real Sociedad at Elland Road on December 16 and will then play at home against opponents to be confirmed in midweek.
Also on 16.12. Nottingham Forest arrange a friendly match against Valencia at the City Ground. BBC Sport understand they will also face Olympiakos, Evangelos Marinakis’ other club, at some point during the break.
newcastle play Rayo Vallecano on December 17 while their Premier League rivals are there Fulham and West Ham United meet at Craven Cottage on the same day.
west hamafter returning to training on December 1, he will also play two more friendlies – with League One side Cambridge United, then an unconfirmed side, who are likely to play away to Europe.
Other clubs will not play friendlies in the run-up to the resumption of domestic play. BBC Sport understands Brighton planned a pre-season friendly at home before the restart, but the December 20 Carabao Cup fourth-round game against Charlton put those plans on hold.
What’s happening behind the scenes?
Premier League football clubs are much larger operations than just on the pitch. None of the clubs BBC Sport have spoken to are closing for part of the break.
Some are using the break to promote their women’s teams. Arsenal met Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on 19 November in the Women’s Super League and Chelsea met London rivals Tottenham at Stamford Bridge the following day.
Fulham women played Craven Cottage for the first time when they faced AFC Wimbledon and Newcastle women have a game at St James’ Park on November 22nd.
It’s a useful opportunity for other teams to work on off-field issues. Brighton are upgrading their branding and signage at the Amex while work begins on a new hospitality area near the tunnel with behind-the-dug seating and new dining and entertainment areas around the stadium.
Brentford’s stadium continues to see heavy use during the break as it is also the home ground of London’s Irish rugby union team.
The Premier League may be on hiatus – but their clubs are definitely not.
BBC Sport also contacted Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur for comment.
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