It has been a season to remember for Arsenal so far and many fans would not have wanted the 2022 Qatar World Cup to interrupt their flow, especially given it has led to a serious injury for Gabriel Jesus.
Mikel Arteta’s side are sat at the top of the Premier League table with a very healthy five-point lead over Manchester City. That is not a situation that Arsenal expected to be in after 14 games which means the attention on them will be strong when play resumes after the World Cup.
Take a look at who the Gunners will be facing when the domestic football above League One comes back following the World Cup final on December 18.
For many teams, the action begins just a few days after the World Cup ends as there is a Carabao Cup round to contest. Arsenal were knocked out of that tournament by Brighton, meaning they must wait until the Premier League action returns.
On Boxing Day, Arsenal have got a London derby to contend with as they take on West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium. That is kicking off at 20:00 GMT and will be a huge test of Mikel Arteta’s side and their ability to pick up where they left off before the break.
After the West Ham game, another tough test awaits Arsenal as they are away at Brighton on New Year’s Eve. That is about as straightforward as it gets in the league for Arsenal for some time though.
A home game against high-flying Newcastle United is on January 3, and then there is a much-welcomed FA Cup third-round tie against Oxford United which Arteta will hope causes no issues for his presumably rotated side.
It’s straight back into the tough Premier League games after that as Arsenal have the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur on January 15, and then they host Manchester United on January 22 to round the month out.
The spell will be the most serious test of Arsenal’s title credentials so far and the pressure will mount if Manchester City start to rack up some points during this tough run of games after Christmas.
This has been Arsenal’s best season in recent memory as they have been top for many weeks and have played highly entertaining football with talented youngsters at the heart of it.
There is no reason why they cannot continue this form, but there is a natural pessimism around their title chances considering they have not won the Premier League since 2003/04. With a team like Man City on the chase, it will be very hard to hold onto top spot.