Top Prem players clock 112,524 miles in international break

andrewbinner 22/11/2014
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Flying solo: Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez traveled 16,743 miles during the international break.

The international break is a burden on every Premier League manager.

The recent 10-day sojourn for friendlies and European Championship qualifiers has seen players at the 'big five' Premier League clubs travel a staggering 112,524 miles.

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Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez amassed the most miles out of any player in the Premier League with 16,743 when he travelled to Chile to play against Venezuala and Uruguay last week. 

The Chilean did not get long to recover from Wednesday's game as he lined up for Arsenal against Manchester United in a very different time zone on Saturday.

Another Arsenal player, Joel Campbell, flew 13,674 miles to play for Costa Rica against Uruguay in Montevideo.

Out of the 54 players from the big five clubs – Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal – who travelled during the international break, not every player was guaranteed game time. 

Manchester United's Paddy McNair was an unused substitute in Northern Ireland's 2-1 defeat to Romania. It was a 4,710 mile round trip from Liverpool to Belfast to Bucharest, but at least there was no chance of injury. 

Only four of the 54 players played 180 minutes over the two games – Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Matic, Branislav Ivanovic, and Martin Skrtel of Liverpool, with Jack Wilshere was the next closest with 177 minutes from England's two games against Slovenia and Scotland. 

It can be difficult to determine the exact effects on players as a result of the intensive travelling over the international break. 

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is one of a number of figures to have called for a winter break, claiming the demands on players is greater than ever as the Premier League is getting faster and more physical.

Though perhaps it is telling that Arsenal, who accumulated the most air-miles and minutes for a team with 45,969 miles and 1,137 minutes between the 13 players involved, crashed to a home defeat to Manchester United on Saturday. 

Manchester City’s players travelled the least with 13,596 miles – a major decrease from last year's figure of 83,136 miles after the November international break.

Furthermore City have the lowest number of minutes and miles combined between the big five teams in the Premier League. 

A big factor contributing to the drop was the involvement of Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis, Palbo Zabaleta and Willy Caballero in Argentina's game against Portugal in Manchester.

With little travel needed for the players, only Demichelis saw game time for Argentina with the other players unused substitutes.

Is it argued that depleted player performances are caused as a result of the intensive travelling over the international break.

"Not only do they travel at international level across the world, but the constant pressure of the Premier League is more demanding, both physically and mentally," said West Ham manager Sam Allardyce.

Ultimately this didn't affect Manchester City after the international break in November 2013 when they went 12 successive games unbeaten in a run that lasted until February. 

Like all sports, different players recover at different periods.

Irrespective of the details, the international break has its good and bad points in the middle of such a hectic schedule for footballers. 

How your team fared over the international break?

Arsenal                                 Miles: 45,969                          Minutes: 1,137

Chelsea                                 Miles: 18,128                          Minutes: 1,084 

Liverpool                              Miles: 17,252                          Minutes: 712

Manchester City                    Miles: 13,596                          Minutes: 654

Manchester United                Miles: 17,579                          Minutes: 666

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EPL: Swansea stun Arsenal, Spurs crash to Stoke defeat

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Arsenal lost further ground on the Premier League leaders with defeat at Swansea.

Swansea stunned Arsenal with two late goals to run out 2-1 winners at the Liberty Stadium and inflict the Gunners’ second Premier League defeat of the season.

Alexis Sanchez’s 12th goal of the season seemed to have rewarded his team’s second-half improvement and put them on track for a top-four spot.

But Arsene Wenger’s men were shocked again just five days after their Champions League collapse against Anderlecht when they led 3-0 only to be pulled back to 3-3 at the Emirates Stadium.

Gylfi Sigurdsson levelled 15 minutes from time with a stunning 25-yard free-kick and then substitute Bafetimbi Gomis, who had replaced Wilfried Bony immediately after the Swansea equaliser, headed his first Premier League goal within three minutes of his arrival.

Tottenham’s woes at White Hart Lane took another turn for the worse as Mauricio Pochettino’s side slumped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Stoke in the Premier League.

Bojan Krkic’s driving shot gave Stoke an early lead and Spurs fell two behind shortly after the half-hour mark when Jonathan Walters tapped home from close range.

Tottenham scored twice late on to beat Aston Villa last week and the home side were give hope when Nacer Chadli smashed home a volley with 13 minutes to play.

Stoke were dogged and determined, however, and as Kyle Naughton was sent off with six minutes to play, the visitors held on for their first victory in four matches.

Ayoze Perez’s moment of magic inspired Newcastle to a comfortable 2-0 win at West Brom, their fifth successive victory in all competitions.

The striker brilliantly scored a third goal in as many games with a back-heeled flick into the far corner past the helpless Ben Foster as Alan Pardew’s Magpies revival continued at the Hawthorns.

Fabricio Coloccini’s header added the gloss for Newcastle, who have now won their last four Premier League games.

Leighton Baines snatched a point for Everton as Sunderland were denied back-to-back Premier League victories by a late penalty.

The full-back scuffed his 76th-minute spot-kick under home goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon following Connor Wickham’s illegal challenge on Seamus Coleman. It came nine minutes after Sebastian Larsson had fired the Black Cats ahead with a superb free-kick, his first league strike from a set-piece since December 2011.

Wickham and his team-mates, as well as the home fans among a crowd of 43,476 at the Stadium of Light, were incensed at referee Lee Mason’s decision to award a penalty, although replays suggested they had little cause to be.

A tight contest remained in the balance until the final whistle, with keepers Pantilimon and Tim Howard both producing important saves before the goals started to go in, although James McCarthy’s injury-time clearance denied Wes Brown a last-gasp winner.

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Pellegrini: Man City squad even stronger than last season

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Confident: Pellegrini believes City's new additions means the squad is stronger than ever.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini thinks he has a stronger squad than last season as the champions prepare to begin their Premier League title defence at Newcastle on Sunday.

City start their campaign with a trip to St James' Park having added a number of new faces to their ranks since last season's Premier League and League Cup triumphs.

Pellegrini signed French defender Eliaquim Mangala and Brazilian midfielder Fernando from Porto, Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero from Malaga and French right-back Bacary Sagna on a free transfer from Arsenal.

City have also loaned veteran midfielder Frank Lampard, released by Chelsea during the close season, from their sister club New York City FC. Pellegrini believes those acquisitions put City in a strong position to retain the title and make a sustained challenge in the Champions League as well.

"Last season we had a very good squad and a very successful year," Pellegrini said. "But that is the past and that is history. Now we must try this season to have a strong squad and I think that players such as Willy, Bacary, as Mangala, Fernando, Frank Lampard will make us a strong squad. We try to have a stronger squad this year.

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"I think this Premier League will be exactly the same as the last title, we will have five or six teams with a very strong squad.

"All of them want to win the title. We also want to retain it. So we will see during the year who works better."

City will be without Mangala while he builds up his match fitness, so Martin Demichelis will partner captain Vincent Kompany at the heart of defence this weekend.

Argentine forward Sergio Aguero, who signed a new five-year contract this week, may also be rested after struggles with injuries during the World Cup, while Spain striker Alvaro Negredo has been ruled out until September with a broken foot.

"Mangala needs to work more with the team to be able to play. It will not be this weekend," Pellegrini added. "I think that always this team needs Sergio Aguero, but it is also important for him to make a good pre-season. He has so many months without playing normally.

"I think we are ready to start. Maybe some players need some more days to be 100 percent but the squad is ready to start the season."

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