The possible winners and losers as the English top division resumes in the Premier League

On December 26, the Premier League will restart after a six-week hiatus to accommodate the World Cup in Qatar.

A forced slumber will have given several top-flight clubs the chance to regroup, rest important players, or get those receiving treatment closer to fitness.

Others, on the other hand, will be prepared to deal with the tournament’s mental and physical aftereffects as players return either full of confidence or nursing an injury or carrying the burden of costing their team at a crucial moment.

When the English top flight resumes, BBC Sport examines who might gain or lose.

R&R for Haaland as Jesus of Arsenal is sidelined by an injury
Erling Haaland, the Premier League’s most lethal striker, did not get to show himself to the world in Qatar, but Manchester City will be hoping that a mid-season break will allow him keep up his explosive form.

Much could hinge on the fitness and freshness of the Norway international as City strives for domestic and European glory. He has 18 goals in 13 league games and another five in four Champions League matches.

If the thought of a goal-hungry Haaland isn’t frightening enough for defenders, then fellow attacker Riyad Mahrez should also be eager to go for City after his Algeria squad didn’t qualify while Julian Alvarez returns to England on the crest of a wave after playing a key role in Argentina’s victory.

In contrast, after Gabriel Jesus’ campaign was abruptly terminated by a knee injury, Arsenal’s five-point lead at the top of the table now seems noticeably more fragile.

The Brazilian forward has been a game-changing acquisition for the Gunners this season, but he now faces an extended period of rest as Mikel Arteta’s squad prepares for a difficult stretch of games, starting with games against West Ham at home and Brighton away, with games against Newcastle, Tottenham, and Manchester United to follow before the end of January.

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