Why the Premier League’s Early Pace-setting Teams Is Good News for England’s World Cup Hopes

The Premier League has returned after a two-week break enforced by the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and there were wins for the divisions leading trio. Goals from William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus, and Fabio Vieira were enough to secure a 3-0 victory for Arsenal away at Brentford, who remain top of the table. Manchester City also won 3-0 away from home, with Erling Haaland bagging his 14th goal in just nine games. They are one point behind the Gunners, as are their great rivals Spurs. They thumped rock-bottom Leicester City 6-2 at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. All three teams are stacked full of English talent, and with the World Cup right around the corner, that can only be a good thing for Gareth Southgate. Oddschecker, which compares odds and provides free offers on the World Cup, has made the Three Lions one of the favorites to lift the trophy in Qatar, but can those stars who are shining domestically, transfer their form onto the international stage? 

In years gone by, they haven’t been able to. The famed ‘Golden Generation’ – consisting of David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, and Michael Owen – twice fell at the quarter-final stage in 2002 and 2006. In 2010, that same crop of players, plus the likes of Wayne Rooney, were humiliated 4-1 by archrivals Germany in South Africa. 

But in recent years, there has been a resurgence. In Russia four years ago, England surprised everyone by reaching the semifinals. They were the favorites to go on and reach the final, however, were stunned by Croatia in extra time. But they then backed that up with a run to the final of last year’s European Championships, where they would once again experience penalty shootout heartbreak, this time at the hands of Italy. 

But in contrast to 2018, this English squad is stacked with even more quality. The likes of Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, and Jack Grealish have all risen to prominence throughout the last four years, and their form at club level is a major reason why England may finally end 56 years of hurt this winter. 

Premier League form 

If we take a look at the Premier League’s leading pack, it’s clear to see why Southgate would be happy. Arsenal are built on a backline consisting of goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and centre-back Ben White. Their shining light in attack is of course Saka. It was his spot-kick that was saved by Giorgio Donnarumma in last year’s Euro’s final – sending the trophy to Rome rather than home – but for the Gunners, he’s been scintillating ever since. Last season, he featured in all 38 of Arsenal’s Premier League games, scoring 11 times and providing 7 assists en route to winning the club’s player of the year award. He has continued in the same vein this season. 

It’s a similar story with second-place Manchester City. John Stones has recovered from a slight dip in form to strike up a solid partnership with Portuguese centre-back Ruben Dias. Kyle Walker has been as consistent as ever. Phil Foden continues to be outstanding and Jack Grealish looks like he is returning to the levels that prompted Pep Guardiola to fork out £100m on him last summer. 

Finally, there are Spurs, who have been turned into genuine contenders by Antonio Conte. They too have solid English foundations. Eric Dier was one of Southgate’s most trusted assets at previous tournaments. His international manager stood by him despite his club form falling off a cliff. Luckily, he is now back to his very best and has been ever present for Spurs this season. Then, of course, the jewel in the English crown is Harry Kane. He has scored six goals in seven Premier League games this term. Could he, as captain of England, be lifting the FIFA World Cup trophy in three months’ time? 


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