Premier League action will resume this weekend following the last international break of 2020.
Champions Liverpool will host Leicester as they look to get back on top against former manager Brendan Rodgers.
Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham are the only other Big Six side keeping up with the early place, level on 17 points with the Reds.
Chelsea will look to get an early step on their rivals with the Saturday afternoon kick-off against Newcastle while Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United all look to break from the middle of the table.
But all of the teams have been affected by the international break, for both good and bad reasons that Daily Star have detailed.
How players performed: Gunners captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had the winning touch for Gabon in their AFCON qualifier against group leaders Gambia. And Bukayo Saka continued to gain valuable experience with England, starting two games and coming off the bench against Belgium. Eddie Nketiah grabbed a brace for the U23s against Albania.
Injury news: While Mohamed Elneny spent the break with the Egypt team, his positive Covid-19 test on arrival in Togo meant he missed the game and will sit out three for Arsenal. But Thomas Partey’s decision not to travel for Ghana’s fixtures after a knock against Aston Villa appears to be wise, with the midfielder expected to be available.
How players performed: Mason Mount showed Frank Lampard his value on England duty, working the ball well for the second goal against Iceland. While Jorginho and N’Golo Kante also battled for the boss’ attention, grabbing vital Nations League goals for Italy and France as they reached the play-offs.
Edouard Mendy’s saves for Senegal, Thiago Silva’s clean sheets with Brazil and Olivier Giroud’s French brace will also give the manager food for thought. Timo Werner, though, may want to forget their international break following Germany’s 6-0 drubbing by Spain.
Injury news: Ben Chilwell came off injured in England’s defeat to Belgium but he could still play against Newcastle, pending a late fitness test. Callum Hudson-Odoi may have scored for England U23s but is still building fitness.
Christian Pulisic travelled with the USA team but is not expected to return soon as he recovers from a hamstring injury. While Kai Havertz did not travel with Germany, his Covid-19 test means the midfielder will
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How players performed: Roberto Firmino put his demons aside for Brazil, grabbing their winner against Venezuela in World Cup qualifiers. Naby Keita unleashed a rocket for Guinea against Chad. Georginio Wijnaldum’s three goals in two games saw him pay tribute to Virgil van Dijk. While Curtis Jones strutted his stuff both on and off the pitch for England’s U23s and Sadio Mane found winners twice for Senegal.
Injury news: Star man Mohamed Salah’s second positive Covid-19 test sees him miss three games. Joe Gomez picked up a serious injury at the start of England training. And Rhys Williams’ withdrawal from the U23s has left the manager with just one outright centre-back. Andy Robertson has also left Jurgen Klopp concerned after tweaking a hamstring with Scotland. Thiago Alcantara, though, could be available for the Leicester clash.
How players performed: Phil Foden was the star of the show for England in their 4-0 win over Iceland, with two goals and an assist. Ferran Torres notched a hat-trick for Spain in their thumping of Germany. Ruben Dias scored twice and was man of the match for Portugal as they secured a 3-2 win over Croatia.
Injury news: Raheem Sterling pulled out of the England camp but is expected to be fit for the weekend. Nathan Ake suffered a hamstring problem while playing for Holland and will be out of action for at least a couple of weeks. Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho did not go away on international duty and are expected to be fit to play again.
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How players performed:Harry Maguire grabbed himself a goal for England against Ireland but could not stop Belgium from scoring. Scott McTominay played a vital part in Scotland’s qualification for Euro 2020. Paul Pogba enjoyed consistent performances for France but Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes were sent to their benches. Daniel James got valuable game time with Wales but it was a bad week for Edinson Cavani, picking up a red card in Uruguay’s loss to Brazil.
Injury news:Marcus Rashford picked up a shoulder injury before joining England – and could not get back to playing. Martial trained alone following France’s win over Portugal after picking up a back problem while Victor Lindelof is suffering the same injury, becoming an unused substitute against the World Cup holders for Sweden.
How players performed: Hugo Lloris, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Gareth Bale maintained their positions for France, Denmark and Wales. Son Heung-Min grabbed an assist for South Korea in their win over Qatar – but it was a bad day for Davinson Sanchez as his Colombia side lost 6-1 to Ecuador.
Injury news: Matt Doherty was one of several Ireland players to test positive for Covid-19, ruling him out of the upcoming game against Man City. Tangy NDombele and Steven Bergwijn could return following recovery during the international break.
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