Manchester City Boast Best Post-International Break Record

Manchester City Boast Best Post-International Break Record
© PA

The Premier League returns this weekend for the final chapters in the 2020/21 campaign.

While the pursuit of the title seems to be a one-horse race with Manchester City set to wrap up the title, many of the other plots remain unsolved.

For the teams tucked in behind Pep Guardiola’s side, who are 14 points clear at the top of the table, every point between now and the end of the campaign could see them qualify for next season’s Champions League and Europa League.

Meanwhile, managers at the bottom of the table facing relegation have had two weeks to somehow find a way to turn their team’s fortunes around to win enough points to stay up.

A win this weekend will help build momentum for the remainder of the season while a loss could have an impact on whether a team’s story this season has a happy ending or not.

Liverpool Travel To Arsenal

The final international break of the season may have come at a good time for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

The defending champions surrendered their title weeks ago but their season can end on a happy note with so much left to play for.

If Liverpool are to make a late push to finish fourth, then their trip to Arsenal is a 'must-win' game.

After winning at Wolves last time out, the Reds are five points behind Chelsea who occupy fourth spot ahead of another crucial round of games in the Premier League.

Defeat at the Emirates this weekend would be the Reds' seventh loss in nine league games and will leave Klopp's side with a mountain to climb if they are to secure a place in next season's Champions League via their league position.

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    Another route into Europe's elite club competition would be to win this year's tournament. But with a quarter-final with Real Madrid and a potential semi-final against last season's runners-up Paris St-Germain or the holders Bayern Munich, that task becomes even harder.

    Heading into the previous international break, Liverpool were one point behind leaders Leicester, but a disastrous run of results leaves the Anfield side 25 points behind current leaders Manchester City.

    However, the Reds are unbeaten in their last 13 league games following a break for Euro qualifiers or most recently, World Cup qualifiers.

    Liverpool’s haul of 2.35 points per game after an international break since the start of the 2017/18 season is second only to the league leaders Manchester City who earn 2.53 points in their matches.

    Average Points Post-International Break Since 2017-18

    TeamPoints Per Game
    Man City2.53
    Man Utd2.07
    Aston Villa2.00
    Crystal Palace1.07
    West Ham1.07
    Sheffield Utd0.83
    Leeds Utd0.33
    West Brom0.28

    Arsenal have struggled when their players return to action after a fortnight away with their countries.

    The Gunners have won just one of their last six post-international break games and have taken 1.92 points per game.

    Mikel Arteta also hopes his side can still make a late push for a top four spot, but the Gunners are going to have to go on an incredible run and hope several other teams slip up to boost their chances.

    Manchester United share the longest unbeaten run after internationals with Liverpool and if they avoid defeat at home to Brighton on Sunday, their run will be extended to 14.

    If the second meeting this season between United and Brighton is half as exciting as the first at the Amex Stadium, then we should be in for a treat.

    The Seagulls thought they had rescued a point deep into injury time only for United to take all three points with a Bruno Fernandes penalty which was converted after the final whistle following a lengthy delay for a VAR check.

    Longest Unbeaten Run After International Breaks

    • 13 Liverpool
    • 13 Manchester United
    • 5 Wolves
    • 3 Chelsea
    • 3 Everton
    • 3 Burnley

    United average a healthy 2.07 points per game which could be significant in their battle with Leicester for second spot.

    Leicester have lost their last two games after international breaks at home to Aston Villa and at Liverpool and the Foxes have failed to score in both.

    A home game with Manchester City awaits Brendan Rodgers’ side on Saturday.

    West Brom return to action at Chelsea in Saturday’s lunchtime fixture knowing a victory is essential if they are to keep alive their slim hopes of avoiding relegation.

    A win for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea will move them to within two points of Leicester in third place.

    The Baggies, who have not won any of their last seven post-international fixtures, are running out of time in their quest to stay in the league.

    Sam Allardyce’s side are 10 points from safety and their record after an international break is the worst over the last four seasons among the current top flight teams.

    A paltry return of 0.28 points per game from their seven post-international fixtures does not bode well for the Baggies ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge.

    Longest Winless Run After International Breaks:

    • 7 West Brom
    • 5 Southampton
    • 4 Fulham
    • 4 Sheffield United
    • 3 Leeds United

    The last time West Brom left Chelsea with a win was in January 1984 when they won 1-0 in a League Cup tie and their last league win was five seasons earlier.

    Leeds were promoted alongside West Brom and survival is all but secured for the Elland Road side who are 13 points clear of Fulham in 18th place.

    On Saturday, Marcelo Bielsa’s side host the third promoted side Sheffield United whose time in the top flight is drawing to a close.

    Neither Yorkshire club has a great record in the top flight after a fortnight’s break since the start of the 2017/18 season.

    Leeds have yet to win any of their three games this season while the Blades have won just one of their last six post-international fixtures.

    Patrick Bamford struck the only goal of the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane in September, but the Blades have won on their last two visits to Elland Road.

    This is an excellent opportunity for Leeds to win their first Premier League game after an international break since winning 6-1 at Charlton in April 2003.

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    Southampton host Burnley at St Mary's on Sunday in a game that should see the Saints end their poor run of results following a fortnight off.

    After beating Sheffield United 1-0 early last season, Ralph Hasenhuttl's side have suffered post-international hangovers.

    One point from a possible 15 is a disappointing statistic for a team who are one of nine teams to have led the Premier League this season.

    Burnley on the other hand, are unbeaten in five of their last six including their last three.

    St Mary's has been a good hunting ground for the Clarets who have taken seven points from their last three visits to the south coast.

    Burnley and Southampton both have 33 points with nine games to play and a win for either will make the remainder of the season a little more comfortable.

    With the final quarter of the season to play, there is still plenty for all teams to play for.

    All managers will hope that their players return to their respective clubs fit and healthy first and foremost.

    And the ones who enjoyed success while away representing their countries, can return full of confidence and help lead their clubs to victory this weekend.