Three Teams Who Will Be Glad To See The International Break And Three Who Won't

The Premier League is on hold as international football takes centre stage
17:00, 04 Sep 2023

The most annoying international break of the season is upon us. The early-September one that arrives just as we’re all getting into the swing of club football’s return. No matter how much you love watching the national side, you have to admit breaking from the club game so early in a season is inconvenient.

Some Premier League clubs will agree with you. Those teams that started like the clappers will worry about the possible risk to momentum, as well as injuries on international duty. But for other sides, this international break represents a much-needed breather after a start to the season that has gone awry. 

The Sportsman takes a look at three teams on each side of the divide. A trio who will be glad to see the back of league football for a couple of weeks and another triumvirate who will wish the club game never had to end.


"Yay, An International Break!"

Manchester United

Anyone who watched United's creaky 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers or their great escape against Nottingham Forest knew all was not well at Old Trafford. The 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur also revealed some uncomfortable truths.

Arsenal exposed those flaws on a large scale with their 3-1 win on Sunday. Erik ten Hag will likely be grateful for a break off the back of that chastening defeat. While fellow deadline day signing Sofyan Amrabat will be away with Morocco, Sergio Reguilon missed out on the Spain squad meaning he has time to integrate himself at Carrington. Ten Hag can use the time to tinker with his tactics with the non-internationals and properly plan a way forward.

The break also gives United time to properly deal with the Jadon Sancho situation, which you can read more about here


It hasn’t been the start Chelsea envisaged when they signed off on almost half a billion pounds of summer spending. An opening day draw with Liverpool was far from a bad result and they did what was necessary against Luton Town. But defeats to West Ham United and Nottingham Forest don’t bode well for this expensively-assembled side.

Mauricio Pochettino will probably be glad of a chance to take stock. Some elements of this Chelsea side are working while others are not. Given the vast intake of players, there was always likely to be a difficulty in gelling. He’ll have to figure it out soon. As we saw last season, Chelsea are not averse to changing managers quickly if they don’t see progress. But the international break does offer a chance to refine the recipe and integrate some of the expensive, newly-acquired ingredients. 

Luton Town

The Hatters are the feel-good story of this Premier League season. A club that was playing non-league football a decade ago. A ground in Kenilworth Road that is simply surreal to see hosting Premier League football. But the sad reality has set in, with Luton having lost their three opening league games.

There is no drastic action needed, like there is at the other clubs mentioned. But manager Rob Edwards could find a breather useful at this stage. Edwards and his squad have experienced a big step up. Appraising what went right and wrong in the first few games, with the time and space to do so, is crucial in their fight for survival.


"Oh No, An International Break!"

Manchester City

Little explanation is needed here. Last season’s treble winners have played four and won four so far this season. Erling Haaland has already belted in six goals in the league. As far as picking up where you left off goes, it’s been about as good as it gets.

That’s why Pep Guardiola could have done without these international fixtures. Looking past the fact he’ll lose a number of members of his squad to their respective nations, there is also the risk of a loss of momentum. City are making the game look easy and they’ll hope that a couple of weeks away won’t change that.


Last season’s runners-up have started this season well. Three wins and a draw show their intent to once again lodge a challenge to City’s supremacy this term. While they enter the break in good spirits after their 3-1 win over Manchester United, Mikel Arteta would have preferred a chance to build on that result.

Instead, Arsenal must pause while international football plays out. Will they continue their fine form when the club game returns? Or will this enforced break have the same effect as the World Cup did last winter, breaking their concentration and leaving them a lesser side? Arsenal had just one draw and one defeat heading into the tournament in Qatar. The second half of the season saw them lose five and draw five as City overtook them. Arteta can’t risk it happening again, especially with the reigning champions looking indestructible.

West Ham United

Last season, the struggling Hammers would have been glad to see the back of league football. While they thrived in Europe, winning the Europa Conference League, the Premier League was less of a happy hunting ground.

Not so this season, Despite the loss of Declan Rice to Arsenal, David Moyes’ men have made an admirable start. They sit third in the table and while it is too early to take such positions seriously, it does demonstrate their fine form. Wins over Brighton and Chelsea in particular showed how good this West Ham side can be. Moyes will hope his side can find similar form once the international fixtures are out of the way.

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