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Man Utd could have more than 10 players at the World Cup in Qatar but how they deal with the mid-season break is going to be vital.

One of the most important and decisive periods in this season will come during a month when a ball won’t be kicked in the Premier League.

In seven weeks’ time, the domestic campaign will grind to a halt at a point in the programme when it has usually just started to gather some momentum. Players will jet off to spend time with their countries playing in a tournament that remains the pinnacle, just not usually at this time of the year.

The looming presence of the winter World Cup in Qatar is uncharted territory for every Premier League club, manager and player. It’s acting as something of a leveller in a season that nobody has experienced before.

t’s not going to produce a shock on the proportions of Leicester City winning the league, but it does make everything a little less predictable, not just in the run of 13 games in 43 days that precede the tournament, but in how teams cope afterwards.

There will be a few different scenarios for Premier League clubs in that six-week break from the weekend of November 13 to Boxing Day, when hostilities resume. There will be those clubs at the top of the league who will lose a large chunk of their squad to the World Cup and then a couple of squads who will be touched only lightly by absences

t’s not going to produce a shock on the proportions of Leicester City winning the league, but it does make everything a little less predictable, not just in the run of 13 games in 43 days that precede the tournament, but in how teams cope afterwards.

There will be a few different scenarios for Premier League clubs in that six-week break from the weekend of November 13 to Boxing Day, when hostilities resume. There will be those clubs at the top of the league who will lose a large chunk of their squad to the World Cup and then a couple of squads who will be touched only lightly by absences