Spurs may rest World Cup stars as Premier League returns

Tottenham are fourth in the table on 29 points after 15 matches, eight points behind leaders Arsenal who have a game in hand

By AFP

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Argentine Cristian Romero (centre) and French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (left) played every minute of the final and Ivan Perisic appeared for Croatia the day before as they took third place. — Tottenham Twitter
Argentine Cristian Romero (centre) and French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (left) played every minute of the final and Ivan Perisic appeared for Croatia the day before as they took third place. — Tottenham Twitter

Published: Sun 25 Dec 2022, 7:17 PM

Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte suggested on Sunday that he might rest his World Cup players in the game at Brentford on Boxing Day that marks the Premier League's return.

Tottenham are fourth in the table on 29 points after 15 matches, eight points behind leaders Arsenal who have a game in hand.


"For the players who played at the World Cup it's a big effort because they have never stopped and only now after one week, 10 days," he said in a preview posted on the club website.

"I think that it is different for the players that played in the World Cup."


He said he would give a chance to those who had to stay behind and train.

"For the players who worked in these four weeks, for sure it is a new start, a fresh start like pre-season."

Tottenham had players representing Wales, Uruguay and Denmark, who were knocked out at the group stage, as well as South Korea, England, Senegal and Brazil who went out at the quarter-finals or earlier in Qatar.

Argentine Cristian Romero and French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris played every minute of the final and Ivan Perisic appeared for Croatia the day before as they took third place.

"We are really excited (to be back) -- honestly, it's not easy after the World Cup and only eight days when you played the final and semi-final to play so quickly, but it's okay, it's a positive on one hand," Conte said.

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"On another hand, you have the players who played the World Cup in a different physical condition, but it's okay, football during the Christmas period for sure is fantastic to play.

"At the same time, for many players we have to try to push them and to find a good physical condition."

Romero's father told La Voz, a newspaper in their hometown of Cordoba, on December 20 that Tottenham were eager to have the World Cup winner back.

"He won't have much time to enjoy himself. We will see how everything goes. But they already want him back in England", Quito Romero said.

Conte said the players would be training on Christmas Day.

"It happened also last season," he said.

"We played on 26 December and then also on the first day of the New Year. You know, in Italy, for us, Christmas is an important period to stay with the family," he said.

"We have to play and for this reason, on 25 December, we will have the training session, then have lunch with our relatives, then we have to go together to stay in the hotel because the game will be very early on December 26."

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta has urged leaders Arsenal to carry on from where they left off by winning their first Premier League title since 2004 when English football's top-flight resumes after the World Cup break.

The Gunners were in superb form, with 12 wins from 14 matches, when the league was paused in unprecedented fashion to allow for the first World Cup held in a northern hemisphere winter to take place in Qatar.

All season long, fans and pundits have been debating whether the break will be a help or a hindrance to clubs' ambitions, with Arsenal now without Gabriel Jesus after he was sent home early from the World Cup with a knee problem sustained in Brazil's shock defeat by Cameroon.

Arteta, however, was in buoyant mood ahead of his side's return to Premier League action against London rivals West Ham at the Emirates on Monday.

"You know, I want the team to play a certain way, and the more consistent we are on that the more we are going to win," he told Sky Sports.

"There is excitement, and we should be excited and we should be embracing the opportunity that we have ahead of us."

Arsenal are currently five points clear of reigning champions Manchester City.

City will be the last of the title contenders in action during the Boxing Day holiday round of fixtures when they travel to Leeds on Wednesday.

Fixtures

(UAE Time)

Monday

Brentford v Tottenham (4:30 pm)

Crystal Palace v Fulham (7 pm)

Everton v Wolves (7 pm)

Leicester v Newcastle (7 pm)

Southampton v Brighton (7 pm)

Aston Villa v Liverpool (9:30 pm)

Arsenal v West Ham (11:55 pm)

Tuesday

Chelsea v Bournemouth (9:30 pm)

Man United v Forest (11:55 pm)

Wednesday

Leeds v Manchester City (11: 55 pm)

Table (top 10)

Pl W D L GF GA Pts

Arsenal 14 12 1 1 33 11 37

Man City 14 10 2 2 40 14 32

Newcastle 15 8 6 1 29 11 30

Tottenham 15 9 2 4 31 21 29

Man Utd 14 8 2 4 20 20 26

Liverpool 14 6 4 4 28 17 22

Brighton 14 6 3 5 23 19 21

Chelsea 14 6 3 5 17 17 21

Fulham 15 5 4 6 24 26 19

Brentford 15 4 7 4 23 25 19


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