Manchester United won in injury time at Fulham on Sunday, November 13. Six weeks have passed since we were enthralled by events in Qatar, where Wales and England lost in the group stage, and Argentina won the 2022 World Cup. The English Premier League returns on December 26, and BBC Sport will catch you up.
Premier League standings as the English top flight returns from the World Cup
This is the first time they’ve been top at Christmas since 2007-08. All seven Premier League champions won 12 of their first 14 games. The club that topped the standings on Christmas Day has won 10 of the last 13 titles. Arsenal’s first game back is against West Ham. The win puts Arsenal eight points ahead of Manchester City, who doesn’t play again until December 28 against Leeds.
Newcastle, a surprising rival at the top of the standings, will visit Leicester on December 26. A sixth straight win would put them above Manchester City. Several top-half sides will have appreciated the World Cup break before continuing.
Tottenham had lost three of four before beating Leeds. Monday’s opener is at Brentford (12:30 GMT). Potter’s Chelsea hasn’t won in five Premier League games and is seventh. After 14 games, this season’s relegation race could be wide open. The wolves are the only team in the bottom 12 with nine points.
Only six teams have been bottom at Christmas and stayed up, with half of those in the first three Premier League seasons. With a new manager, Wanderers will seek to upset that pattern. Julen Lopetegui took over on November 14 and wants six new players when the transfer window starts on January 1.
Nathan Jones replaced Ralph Hasenhuttl as Southampton’s manager before the break. The Saints are 19th and two points from safety after losing three straight. The World Cup provided a mid-season mini-preseason. Thus it’s surprising no clubs made changes. Frank Lampard is still Everton’s manager despite two straight losses, and David Moyes is still West Ham’s despite three consecutive defeats and a spot in the bottom three.