What have Premier League sides been doing during the World Cup break?

With the World Cup currently dominating fans’ attention, many Premier League sides have made use of this break to reset for the rest of the season. But what exactly have the teams been up to this winter?

Unsurprisingly, numerous clubs have decided to jet off to warmer climates to prepare. Spain and the Middle East appear popular destinations, as teams also have friendlies scheduled against various clubs from around the world.

2022/23 top four

Current Premier League leaders Arsenal have travelled to Dubai during their break. They are playing in the Dubai Super Cup, where they take on Lyon and AC Milan. Following this, the Gunners return home to play Juventus at the Emirates on 17 December.  

Similarly, both Man City and Newcastle have ventured to similar parts of the world to Arsenal. Pep Guardiola’s side have gone to Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, the Toon are on tour in Saudi Arabia. However, Newcastle will play a match whilst in the Gulf Kingdom, whereas City are just training. Man City do face Girona when they are back in Manchester, though.

Eddie Howe’s team will play Al Hilal on Friday.

In contrast to their top four counterparts, Spurs have stayed home during the World Cup stoppage. But they do have two friendlies – Motherwell tomorrow, then French side Nice on 21 December.

Rest of the top half

Fifth-placed side Man United recently played a friendly whilst in Spain. On 7 December, the Red Devils lost 4-2 to Cadiz. They therefore hope to have an improved result against Real Betis on Saturday.

Liverpool and Brighton have followed Arsenal with a trip to Dubai; they will also not be the last sides heading to the city in the UAE. The Reds have two matches scheduled for their camp, against Lyon and AC Milan. Meanwhile, Brighton face fellow Prem side Aston Villa in their sole friendly game.

Similarly, Chelsea take on Aston Villa in a mid-season warm-up fixture. This is part of their training tour in Abu Dhabi.

The Blues’ London rivals, Brentford and Fulham, have gone to warm places in Europe to prepare for 2023. Fulham go to the Algarve, while Brentford venture to Spain for a training camp.

The bottom half

It seems that Dubai will be a busy city this winter as two further teams will go there during the break. Both Bournemouth and Aston Villa travel to the Middle East, but the Cherries do not play any games over there.

Aston Villa will play Chelsea in Dubai, however, they also have games organised back home. They have already played Cardiff, losing 3-1. Following their tour, Villa face Villarreal at home before the league re-start.  

Like a few others in the league, Leicester will spend their winter break in Abu Dhabi.

Thankfully, though, some teams have ventured in other directions. For instance, Crystal Palace are in Turkey for a series of matches. The Eagles drew 2-2 with Trabzonspor on Wednesday, then play Serie A highflyers Napoli on the 11th. Following this, Palace face Real Valladolid back in London.

Finally, West Ham and Leeds have both decided to stay in Europe during the Premier League break. The Yorkshire side have gone for a week-long training camp in Spain, whereas the Hammers have a series of games. They have already played one, losing 4-2 to Cambridge.

But David Moyes’ side still have more friendlies to play – Udinese on 10 December before taking on Fulham.

Everton, contrastingly, have ventured to Australia. The toffees have had two matches in Sydney, drawing 0-0 with Celtic before thrashing Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1.

The bottom three

In the relegation zone, two teams actually travelled to Spain in order to reset their seasons. Wolves, under new manager Julien Lopetegui, are in Marbella to take on Cadiz and Empoli. Also in Iberia are Southampton, who are currently training in Andalucia.

Last but not least, eighteenth-placed Nottingham Forest have headed to Greece on their winter travels. Here, they lost 3-2 to local side Atromitos. However, they face Olympiacos on 10 December in preparation for their relegation battle.

Featured image credit: Getty