After ten days away with their countries the top fight’s elite go back to their day jobs as the Premier League restarts this weekend, but even the best sides can struggle following an international break with players often found to be injured or fatigued upon returning to their clubs.
We’ve looked at the recent records of the three leading teams in the division – each packed with international stars – after World Cup 2014 qualifying matches to garner some punting clues for the weekend ahead.
Theo Walcott gave Sunderland’s defence nightmares in the first half of the north Londoners’ 3-1 win against the Black Cats, shortly after the England winger had featured in all but two minutes of the Three Lions double header with Moldova and Ukraine last month and goalscorers Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud also featured prominently for France and Wales respectively.
Arsene Wenger’s side have taken nine points from an available 12 in their post-World Cup 2014 qualifier games and although the one slip up was at next opponents Norwich, the 1/4 about the league-leaders making it five home wins out of six this season against the Canaries seems a fair price.
A 2-2 draw at Swansea after the last international break put paid to the Reds’ perfect start to the Premier League season and they followed that up by losing their unbeaten record against Southampton next time out.
Although Brendan Rodgers’ side squeaked past Reading and Aston Villa by a goal on each occasion following two World Cup 2014 qualifying rounds last term they were held to a 1-1 draw at Sunderland after the other and with another trip to the north east in the offing against Newcastle, a stalemate could again be on the cards at odds of 5/2.
The Blues’ 4-2 win at Spurs this time last year was the only post-World Cup 2014 qualifying fixture so far that yielded them three points, with a 0-0 draw at QPR the preceding month and a 2-1 loss at Southampton making up the rest of Chelsea’s 2012/13 post-international break games.
In Jose Mourinho’s second spell as manager the Stamford Bridge outfit’s only Premier League loss followed the games against Moldova and Ukraine – the 1-0 reverse at Everton – which makes 3/1 about the double chance that Cardiff win or draw at Stamford Bridge more appealing than one may have anticipated.