With the World Cup coming to it’s conclusion this weekend, clubs across Europe are readying themselves for the domestic restart.
Football League action has returned since, however, the Premier League is yet to kick-start the second half of it’s season and will do so in an action-packed Boxing Day schedule.
With plenty still to play for this season, Sportsmail provides an in-depth guide to every Premier League team offering stats, status checks and transfer rumours.
There’s plenty to play for in the Premier League table throughout the second-half of the year
20th – WOLVES
Top scorer: Ruben Neves (4)
Status check: Wolves have scored only eight league goals this season so incoming manager Julen Lopetegui doesn’t need to be a genius to work out what has to change. Diego Costa is still looking to open his account for the bottom-of-the-table club.
Lopetegui will want to use Tuesday’s EFL Cup tie against League Two Gillingham as a morale-booster before the very serious business of a Boxing Day visit to Goodison.
Transfer Talk: Have held talks over a double deal for Atletico Madrid’s Matheus Cunha and defender Felipe but terms are still to be finalised and they face competition on Cunha. Have also discussed a loan for Manchester United’s Aaron Wan- Bissaka.
3: Wolves’ three red cards is the most of any PL club this season.
Julen Lopetegui will be hoping to revitalise Wolves’ season after their poor domestic start
19th – SOUTHAMPTON
Top scorer: Che Adams (4)
Status check: New manager Nathan Jones made his mark by cancelling a squad camp in America arranged by his predecessor Ralph Hasenhuttl. The Welshman doesn’t lack confidence and has already promised to turn striker Che Adams into a regular goalscorer.
Saints have been in the Premier League for a decade but bookies fear the run could be about to end. They calculate relegation is between them and Bournemouth, Forest, Wolves and Everton.
Transfer Talk: Missed out on PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo in the summer and still want a versatile forward. Matt Crocker’s pending departure from head of football operations won’t change plans.
108: James Ward-Prowse has run 108.4 miles this season, the furthest of all PL players and 2.5 miles more than Declan Rice, in second place.
Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse has covered more grass than any other PL player so far
18th – NOTTM FOREST
Top scorer: Taiwo Awoniyi (3)
Status check: Forest used their time off to bond on a team trip to Greece, important given the 22 summer signings manager Steve Cooper has had to incorporate. Proof of the pudding will come with looming trips to Blackburn (League Cup) and Manchester United.
Having been out of the Premier League for 23 years, Forest fans will be desperate to avoid being one-season wonders. Cooper’s challenge with so many options is finding his best XI.
Transfer Talk: The club already exceed the Premier League squad limit but are looking at three new additions: a defender, midfielder and winger. Union Berlin flyer Sheraldo Becker is among their targets, as is Everton’s Michael Keane. Will look to offload some as well.
3: No side have had fewer shots on target per game in the PL this season.
Taiwo Awoniyi – who joined in the summer from Union Berlin – is the club’s top goalscorer
17th – EVERTON
Top scorer: Anthony Gordon (3)
Status check: The break couldn’t have come at a better time after a run of one win in nine heaped pressure on Frank Lampard. A month’s respite seems to have sorted out Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injury problems. Everton travelled furthest of any club during the break, to Australia, but need to hit the ground running in a six-pointer against Wolves.
Transfer Talk: Salomon Rondon has left and centre back Michael Keane could be sold. Lampard wants a striker in the mould of Watford’s Ismaila Sarr or Matheus Cunha at Atletico Madrid but financial constraints mean loan deals unless they manage to make a big sale. Anthony Gordon and Alex Iwobi are set to sign new deals.
917: Everton’s 917 long passes is the most of the top flight, 14 more than Brentford, the next highest.
Toffees boss Frank Lampard may delve into the January market to reinforce his Everton squad
16th – WEST HAM
Top scorers: Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio, Gianluca Scamacca (2)
Status check: David Moyes has to work out a way of getting his expensive signings to gel quickly. Owner David Sullivan isn’t trigger-happy but will have expected more from a £160million summer spend on stars like Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca. With the Hammers only a point above relegation, imminent derbies against Arsenal and Brentford look key.
Transfer Talk: Have signed defender Luizao, 20, from Sao Paulo as one for the future. There are concerns over Morocco defender Nayef Aguerd’s fitness and they want his compatriot Youssef En-Nesyri at Sevilla. A midfielder and full-back are still desired.
12: West Ham have only scored 12 goals this season, the fourth lowest in the PL.
West Ham have signed defender Luizao (pictured) from Brazilian side Sao Paolo already
15th – LEEDS UNITED
Top scorer: Rodrigo (9)
Status check: Leeds fans have sporadically turned against Jesse Marsch this season and even a famous win at Anfield will be forgotten if they end the year in the bottom three. Ominously, they face Manchester City and Newcastle next.
In Marsch’s favour is his squad being lightly used during the World Cup. No Leeds player reached the quarter-finals, which should help their famous intensity.
Transfer Talk: Missed out on Cody Gakpo in the summer and want a striker. Have held talks over Atletico Madrid’s Matheus Cunha, though face competition. Birmingham’s George Hall is a young midfield target while Mateusz Klich could go to Wayne Rooney’s DC United in the MLS.
91: Only Man City (92) have won the ball more often in the final third than Leeds (91), while only De Bruyne has done so more than Jack Harrison (19).
Rodrigo is the joint-fourth highest goalscorer in the Premier League so far in this campaign
14th – BOURNEMOUTH
Top scorers: Philip Billing, Kieffer Moore (4)
Status check: Interesting times ahead for the Premier League underdogs, with new owner Bill Foley wasting little time in making an impact, declaring himself a ‘dictator’ and calling for more diversity in the club’s fanbase.
Gary O’Neil’s appointment as permanent manager was confirmed during the World Cup after a successful spell as interim boss and it will be fascinating to see if he can replicate the same results.
Transfer Talk: New Bournemouth owner Foley says he expects ‘four or five new players’ to join O’Neil’s squad next month. One could be Villarreal’s Senegal winger Nicolas Jackson.
1350: Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma is one of only five outfield PL players to have played every minute of the season so far.
Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma is one of five outfield players to play every minute so far
13th – LEICESTER CITY
Top scorer: James Maddison (7)
Status check: Leicester were rewarded for keeping faith with Brendan Rodgers by winning five out of six and climbing the table. Continued progress into the top half looks a minimum requirement.
Rodgers will need to inspire James Maddison after he failed to kick a ball in Qatar. 35-year-old Jamie Vardy will demand more game time after a month off.
Transfer Talk: A winger is Rodgers’s priority, with talks back on over a loan deal for Atalanta’s Jeremie Boga. Have discussed Angers’ Morocco midfielder Azzedine Ounahi but his escalating price tag could rule that out.
7559: Leicester’s total passes is the third highest in the PL, behind only Manchester City and Liverpool, yet no side have dropped more points from winning positions than Rodgers’s team (14).
James Maddison was part of England’s World Cup squad but failed to make an appearance
12th – ASTON VILLA
Top scorer: Danny Ings (5)
Status check: Villa fans can’t wait for the resumption, having beaten Manchester United and Brighton under new boss Unai Emery. One concern, however, is the availability of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez against Liverpool on Boxing Day should Argentina win the World Cup.
Emery is a far better manager than the figure mocked at Arsenal and Villa expect him to fulfil Steven Gerrard’s pre-season target of a top-eight finish.
Transfer Talk: Villa will back Unai Emery. They have been offered Atletico pair Joao Felix and Matheus Cunha and hold interest in Arnaut Danjuma and Nicolas Jackson at Villarreal. Winger Leon Bailey may go while Seb Revan and Cameron Archer have loan interest.
10.9: Villa’s 10.9 shots per game is their fewest since their return to the top flight in 2019.
Atletico Madrid’s Matheus Cunha has emerged as a transfer target for a number of clubs
11th – CRYSTAL PALACE
Top scorer: Wilfried Zaha (6)
Status check: Zaha’s future will dominate at Selhurst Park, with perhaps the club’s greatest ever player out of contract in the summer. Youngsters Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze will have to justify the optimism under Patrick Vieira’s tutelage.
Palace haven’t won a major trophy in their history, so besides the Premier League their FA Cup tie against Southampton in January takes on added significance.
Transfer Talk: Face competition from Wolves over a loan for Manchester United’s Aaron wan Bissaka while they want a midfielder and have an eye on replacing Zaha, who is a target for Dortmund among others. Young forward Malcolm Ebiowei is wanted on loan at Swansea.
12: Points gained from losing positions by Palace this season. Only Spurs (13) have come back to earn more.
Wilfried Zaha is yet to make a decision over his future with the South London side
10th – BRENTFORD
Top scorer: Ivan Toney (10)
Status check: Thomas Frank was linked with vacancies at Brighton and Aston Villa and Brentford’s biggest fear will be losing their Danish manager to admirers. Frank’s approach to the rest of season may depend on Ivan Toney’s betting case, which may result in a ban.
The Bees will have last season’s points tally of 46 as a target but face a challenging return, with Spurs and Liverpool among their first three opponents.
Transfer Talk: May look to tweak squad depending on injuries. They have looked at Lecce’s Denmark U21 midfielder Morten Hjulmand and a deal is in place for 18-year-old Irish defender Conor McManus from Bray.
50: Ben Mee has won most aerial battles (50) among PL defenders. Of all players only Mitrovic has won more, with 62.
No defender in the Premier League has won more aerial battles than Brentford’s Ben Mee
9th – FULHAM
Top scorer: Aleksandar Mitrovic (9)
Status check: Marco Silva isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but he’s manager of the season for taking pre-season relegation favourites into the top half. However he’ll have to work on Aleksandar Mitrovic’s fragile ego after his poor World Cup.
Even if the Cottagers slide in the second half, their 19-point haul so far should be enough to help prevent them continuing as a yo-yo club.
Transfer Talk: Have spoken to Arsenal about reviving a move for their summer target, Portugal full-back Cedric Soares. There is interest from both Milan clubs in Antonee Robinson. Will look to add another central midfielder and at other short-term options.
65: Joao Palhinha’s 65 tackles for Fulham is the most of any player in the PL, 13 more than Tyler Adams of Leeds, who is ranked second.
Aleksandar Mitrovic pictured enjoying his post-World Cup break before returning to Fulham
8th – CHELSEA
Top scorers: Raheem Sterling, Kai Havertz (3)
Status check: Graham Potter’s injury-ravaged side lost their last three before the World Cup and are now without striker Armando Broja for the season after damaging his knee in a friendly against Aston Villa, putting pressure on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to start firing.
However, Reece James could return against Bournemouth next week.
Transfer Talk: An £8m deal for Molde striker David Fofana and £52m for Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku are set for the summer. Talks go on with Dortmund for Youssoufa Moukoko. Have been offered Atletico’s Joao Felix while AC Milan’s Rafael Leao is an option. Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol and Inter’s Denzel Dumfries are also targeted.
81: Kepa Arrizabalaga’s 81 save percentage is a PL high among keepers who have faced at least 20 shots.
Croatian central defender Josko Gvardiol came close to joining Chelsea in the summer
7th – BRIGHTON
Top scorer: Leandro Trossard (7)
Status check: Seagulls stars have enjoyed an exceptional World Cup, with Argentina’s Alexis Mac Allister reaching the final and others excelling including Moises Caicedo and Kaoru Mitoma. Manager Roberto De Zerbi will be licking his lips at his side’s potential.
Brighton will want to finish above last season’s ninth and a Boxing Day trip to Southampton followed by Arsenal at home will offer a good test of their credentials.
Transfer Talk: A forward and full-back would be ideal for De Zerbi but finances will be limited in January. Lorient forward Terem Moffi of Nigeria and left-sided defender Mykola Matviyenko of Shakhtar have been floated. Billy Gilmour could move away on loan.
30: Moises Caicedo’s 30 fouls for Brighton is a PL high. Forest’s Ryan Yates is next, with 28.
Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister is one of a few Premier League players remaining in Qatar
6th – LIVERPOOL
Top scorer: Roberto Firmino (7)
Status check: Jurgen Klopp should feel the benefit of having several star names not at the World Cup, including Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino. After a poor start, the team recorded three victories in four before the break. Four of their next six fixtures are away but having challenged for four trophies last season, Klopp will expect to land at least one more piece of silverware this time.
Transfer Talk: Priority is to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, but they remain open to loan deals, possibly including Weston McKennie of Juventus, which could bolster Klopp’s aspirations of reclaiming a Champions League place. Also in for Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko.
4: No one has hit the woodwork as many times this season as Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez (4).
Darwin Nunez has struck the post more times than any other player in England’s top-flight
5th – MANCHESTER UTD
Top scorer: Marcus Rashford (4)
Status check: Erik ten Hag will have followed the Cristiano Ronaldo circus in Qatar with a wry smile but knows his departure from Old Trafford throws responsibility on to Anthony Martial.
With Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez in the World Cup final, Harry Maguire can reclaim his first-team spot against Burnley in the EFL Cup this week.
Transfer Talk: A bid will go in for PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo, who is their prime target, while Benfica’s Goncalo Ramos is a possible alternative. Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic is on their list while Lyon right-back Malo Gusto is admired. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is wanted by Wolves and Palace, while Anthony Elanga is also in demand.
2.5: Only Kevin De Bruyne (3.4) has created more chances per game than Bruno Fernandes (2.5) this season.
Marcus Rashford will be hoping to build on his World Cup performances when he returns
4th – TOTTENHAM
Top scorer: Harry Kane (12)
Status check: Antonio Conte will have been delighted by the World Cup form of players such as Hugo Lloris and Cristian Romero, but left cursing a hamstring injury to Richarlison. And how will Harry Kane react after his missed penalty? Spurs fans will sacrifice style for success and so far Conte is just about in credit.
The Italian is seen as a trophy machine, so their FA Cup third-round tie against Portsmouth on January 7 is key.
Transfer Talk: Will monitor what they consider a difficult market. Much could hinge on an injury list of nine players following the World Cup. Barcelona’s Memphis Depay has been offered but considered unlikely as is a deal for Fiorentina star Sofyan Amrabat.
10: Spurs have scored most headed goals (10), with Harry Kane netting a PL-high five.
How will Harry Kane react for Tottenham after his quarter-final missed penalty for England?
3rd – NEWCASTLE
Top scorer: Miguel Almiron (8)
Status check: Eddie Howe won’t want an enforced break to halt the momentum of an 11-match unbeaten run. They’ve held a training camp in Saudi Arabia, where the only cloud was record-signing Alexander Isak still on the injured list.
Because of their financial strength, the Toon Army will be disappointed if they do not finish in a Champions League spot for the first time since 2003.
Transfer Talk: Would like a young goalkeeper and right-back, a left-back, a right-sided centre-back, a holding midfielder and right winger. Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is admired but would cost more than £50m.
189: No one has played more passes into the box than Kieran Trippier while only Andreas Pereira and Kevin De Bruyne have created more chances than Trippier’s 34.
Paraguayan winger Miguel Almiron has been the talk of the Premier League this campaign
2nd – MAN CITY
Top scorer: Erling Haaland (18)
Status check: City have a testing return to action with Liverpool, Chelsea (twice) and Manchester United all coming up within four weeks. Pep Guardiola’s side were predicted to romp to the Premier League title but are five points adrift of Arsenal and need Haaland to be suitably rested.
Kevin De Bruyne’s World Cup form was a concern. After hosting Liverpool in the League Cup, Guardiola will want to see a smile on his maestro’s face at Leeds on Boxing Day.
Transfer Talk: Will keep an eye on the market but are putting work in on summer market and younger players for now, such as signing Sheffield United’s teenage forward Kylan Midwood.
9: Kevin De Bruyne’s nine assists are the most of any PL player. Bukayo Saka has the second most with six.
Erling Haaland is the leading goalscorer in the top-flight with an impressive 18 goal tally
1st – ARSENAL
Top scorer: Martin Odegaard (6)
Status check: Even Mikel Arteta wouldn’t have expected to be top at Christmas with 12 wins from 14 matches. Injury to Gabriel Jesus playing for Brazil highlights Arsenal’s lack of cover up front, though Eddie Nketiah did well in friendly wins against AC Milan and Lyon.
Realists would still consider a top-four finish as a successful season. It was good to see defender Ben White happily training after leaving England’s camp in Qatar.
Transfer Talk: Priority is goals, with Gabriel Jesus’s expected three-month absence. Talks are ongoing over Shakhtar Donetsk’s free-scoring winger Mykhailo Mudryk, but his £86m valuation needs to drop. One of several English clubs to like 18-year-old Real Valladolid right-back Ivan Fresneda.
141: Gabriel Jesus has had the most PL touches in opponents’ box.
Mikel Arteta will hope his side are able to maintain their form from the first-half of the season