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How the international break affects Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham and the first four races

With only eight games to go, and only four points separating the third and sixth, the race to finish in the top ten of the Premier League is good and sincere.

Such are the margins that the two-week period in which none of the contenders play a league game could still be crucial.

Some injuries collected on international service could be fatal for the Champions League qualifying hopes, while the possibility of resting before the run-in could make the difference.

Here's how the international break is for the first four candidates …

Tottenham

The spurs seem to be the worst in the top four contenders, with 17 players from the first team absent on international service, including almost all the names of their stars.

The title among them is the umpteenth long-range trip for Son Heung-Min, who returns to South Korea for two friendlies, including one against team-mate Davinson Sanchez, whose team from Colombia also goes to Japan.

Reaction to Tottenham against Manchester City draw in the Champions League

The list of matches was not disappointing, with a visit to Anfield on the weekend after the break, although at least one kick-off on Sunday afternoon should give Mauricio Pochettino a little time for organize his troops.

Arsenal

The Gunners will leave for a training camp in Dubai during the break, and Unai Emery will have several senior players from the first team to take with her.

Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech and Mesut Ozil have all withdrawn from international football, while neither Shkodran Mustafi nor Bernd Leno made the German team. Nacho Monreal and Alexandre Lacazette are absent respectively from Spain and France, and there is not even the appeal for England Under-21 for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Mesut Ozil is among the stars of the Arsenal that will make the trip to Dubai

Lucas Torreira is their player who will travel farther, going to play in the Chinese Cup with Uruguay, but is still disqualified for the Premier League clash with Newcastle. That game is at home Monday night after the international break.

Manchester United

After Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial retired from their respective teams due to an injury, United have only eight players in this break, with Jesse Lingard not risking England despite returning to the weekend on the wave.

Reaction to Manchester United against Barcelona draw in the Champions League

Antonio Valencia is the man with the most trips to do, headed to the United States for two friendlies at Ecuador, but in recent months he has rarely participated in United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's biggest concern will be the suitability of Romelu Lukaku, who joined the Belgian team despite losing the FA Cup defeat to Wolves with a foot injury.

Chelsea

The Blues are perhaps the team that most likely will benefit from a grouping and a reset during the international break, even if the rumors about to dismiss Maurizio Sarri won't help.

Characters like Willian, Gonzalo Higuain and Pedro are all without international commitments, along with senior defenders Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz.

None of Sarri's men has any matches outside of Europe on the calendar, so strenuous travel shouldn't be a problem, but he already has a wound to deal with after Ruben Loftus-Cheek has retired from the English team.

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