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10 World Cup absentees who have a point to prove when the Premier League returns including Haaland and Salah

10 World Cup absentees who have a point to prove when the Premier League returns including Haaland and Salah

The Premier League returns on Boxing Day after a six-week break for the World Cup in Qatar.

The Premier League returns on Boxing Day after a six-week break for the World Cup in Qatar.

While the tournament saw the likes of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Jude Bellingham dazzle on the biggest stage, some of the world’s best were forced to watch on from their living rooms.

Below is a list of Premier League stars that will be looking to prove a point when the Premier League returns, having not qualified for the tournament.

But before we get to the list, here’s a reminder that between 26-28th December you can watch all 10 Premier League games live for free with a 30-day trial to Prime.

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland has had six weeks off to rest and recuperate - Premier League defences should be on red alert.

Despite his native Norway failing to reach the World Cup, the Manchester City striker is leading the race for the Golden Boot, having registered 17 goals and three assists in the league already.

Having been forced to watch on as Kylian Mbappe, his likely rival for the world’s best player label across the next decade, claim the Golden Boot in Qatar, Haaland will want to prove his credentials this season.

Mohamed Salah

Despite being one of the Premier League's brightest talents, Mohamed Salah’s Egypt missed out on World Cup qualification.

The winger has failed to meet his high standards this term, having netted just six goals in the Premier League. However, off the back of an extended break, the Liverpool star will be hoping to inspire Jurgen Klopp’s stuttering side to move up the table in the second half of the season.

Martin Odegaard

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard has been a central cog in the Arsenal midfield this term. His ability to knit together attacking moves has helped Mikel Arteta’s side to top spot in the Premier League table, against the odds.

The Norwegian has already claimed six goals and two assists in his 13 Premier League outings and will be hoping to hit the ground running in the second half of the season and consolidate Arsenal’s position at the summit.

Andy Robertson

Andy Robertson has established himself as one of the world’s best full-backs in the last five years. However, the 28-year-old was forced to miss out on the World Cup, with Scotland’s last appearance in the tournament having been in 1998.

Like Salah, Robertson will be hoping to inspire Liverpool up the table, with Jurgen Klopp’s side currently in sixth place, some seven points adrift of Tottenham in the Champions League place.

Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez is one of the most watchable players in world football, though he was unable to inspire Algeria to World Cup qualification.

The 31-year-old was excellent last season, finishing as Manchester City’s top scorer with 22 goals in all competitions.

However, this term he has struggled to recapture his electric form and has slipped down the attacking pecking order.

He will have an opportunity to reclaim his place on the flank in the coming days, with a number of City players having only just returned from international duty.

Wilfried Zaha

This season appears to be a ‘last dance’ scenario for Wilfried Zaha, with the player out of contract in the summer.

The winger has been Crystal Palace’s talisman for over a decade and has already scored six goals in 13 games this campaign. The Ivorian will be determined to finish the season strongly with his beloved club before likely moving on to pastures new.

Zaha's contract runs out in the summer (Alamy)
Zaha's contract runs out in the summer (Alamy)

Dejan Kulusevski

Dejan Kulusevski will be hoping to pick up from where he left off before the World Cup break. The Swede provided assists in each of his last three Premier League appearances.

Indeed, in an injury-hit campaign the 22-year-old has provided five assists in seven starts - one every 122.8 minutes - which is the fastest rate in the league.


After four years at Stamford Bridge Jorginho remains a key player at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield.

Though his contract running out in the summer the Italian international will be hoping to inspire a Blues resurgence, with the club currently in a dismal eighth place.

Vladimir Coufal

The Czech Republic international has been central to West Ham's success in recent seasons though has struggled to make an impact this term, often playing second fiddle to summer signing Thilo Kehrer and Ben Johnson.

However, a winter rest could see Coufal return with a new lease of life and reinstate himself as one of the league's most all-rounded full-backs.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

Arsenal’s summer signing Oleksandr Zinchenko has been riddled with injuries since joining from Manchester City.

The versatile full-back has played just seven times in the Premier League this season, while he was ruled out of mid-season friendlies against Lyon, AC Milan and Juventus with a calf problem.

It is hoped however that the extra time to regain full fitness will see him return to action for Arsenal’s boxing day clash with West Ham.

From 26-28th December, watch all 10 Premier League games live, including Aston Villa vs Liverpool, Arsenal vs West Ham, Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest and more. Watch for free with a 30-day trial to Prime!

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football, Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah, Andrew Robertson, Wilfried Zaha, Jorginho, Riyad Mahrez