Fatigue factor: Premier League teams worst affected by World Cup – and it's bad news for Man City

Rodri in action for Spain - AP
Rodri in action for Spain - AP

Manchester City players have played more than twice as many minutes as those from Arsenal at the World Cup so far, in what could turn into a significant boost for Mikel Arteta’s side in the title race.

Arsenal are currently five points clear of City in the Premier League table after a stunning start to their campaign, and the World Cup has so far been much less draining for their players than those from Pep Guardiola’s team.

Arsenal players featured for a total of 1,237 minutes in the group stages of the World Cup, compared to the 2,839 minutes clocked by City players.

There was, however, a setback for Arteta’s side after Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus was ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a knee injury. His problem is not thought to be serious, though, with reports in Brazil estimating an absence of three to four weeks.

Of the so-called ‘Big Six’ sides, only Liverpool players have been on the pitch for less time than those from Arsenal. Jurgen Klopp’s players have featured for a total of 1,121 minutes so far.

The World Cup break is also providing a physical respite for Newcastle United, who are currently third in the Premier League table. Newcastle players clocked up just 408 minutes in the group stages.

City’s high total is a reflection of the quality of their squad and the importance of Guardiola’s players to their respective national teams. Key midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, for example, played every minute of Belgium’s three group games, but will now have a rest after Roberto Martinez’s side crashed out.

For Arsenal, the World Cup has proven to be less physically gruelling than Arteta would have feared. Thomas Partey’s time in Qatar is over after Ghana were knocked out on Friday, while Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale did not feature for England in the group stages. White has since returned home for personal reasons.

Of the other teams in the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’, Tottenham Hotspur’s players have featured for 2,017 minutes so far, Chelsea’s have played for 2,014 minutes and Manchester United’s have totalled 1,997 minutes.