Premier League stars played a combined total of more than 16 days of football during their summer break, covering 2489.9km of Brazilian turf in the search for glory. It’s not much of a holiday.

The season will start in just over four weeks, giving those who lasted the distance at most a couple of weeks away before the grind of pre-season kicks in. Expect another fortnight before the usual moans of player fatigue commence.

On the face of it José Mourinho has the most to worry about – Chelsea players featured for more time and covered more ground than any other club’s squad. However, with the exception of Oscar, no outfield players played more than 270 minutes of football – and they were Nigeria’s Jon Obi Mikel, seemingly out of favour, and Kenneth Omeruo, likely to head out on loan. The Spanish trio of Cesc Fábregas, Fernando Torres and César Azpilicueta barely kicked a ball before they were off sunning themselves – and have the added incentive of a point to prove following their World Cup humbling, while André Schürrle, so impressive en route to Germany’s triumph, was only a bit-part player managing three goals in just 244 minutes on the pitch.

Arsenal’s squad featured for the second most amount of time in Brazil, but again this was spread fairly evenly through the squad – although Mesut Özil is sure to be a worry for Arsène Wenger. The record signing was already showing signs of fatigue in the second half of last season, finding it increasingly difficult to make an impact, and while he had a solid tournament he has not had a rest. Covering 73.2km as he played in all of Germany’s matches Özil will have little if any time to have the break that seemed so needed during last season’s run-in.

Wenger’s squad will boast three World Cup winners – more than any other Premier League side (unless there is a German influx in the next month or so). Lukas Podolski was barely involved – but the hope for the club is that the evident joy at lifting the trophy will carry through to improved performances next season. Per Mertesacker began the tournament as first choice in the German defence, before making way for Mats Hummels – so again fatigue should not be an issue. The last time Arsenal had a core of freshly-minted World Cup winners was in 1998-99, with Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit returning with the glow of champions – that did not do the club much good as they finished second in the league, so those hoping that international success may breed domestic triumph should think again.

Back then it was Manchester United who dominated, winning the treble in 1999 with a spine of English players fresh from a promising if ultimately unrewarding trip to France. United were again well represented at this World Cup – 15 players playing a combined 2,792 minutes of football – and can make claim to have had the most successful tournament on an individual level, managing nine goals and two assists between them. Of those players, the only worry will be Robin van Persie – Louis van Gaal did not spare a thought for how the striker’s relentless summer would affect his first season in charge at Old Trafford, and the Dutchman will need to handle his compatriot with kid gloves to coax him through the season unscathed.

Van Persie was the highest-scoring England-based player – with four – closely followed by Schürrle, helping to make Chelsea the team with the second most World Cup goals. The west London club did top the assist chart with five, two of those from Eden Hazard – despite his disappointing summer. Arsenal were the next most creative team, four goals and four assists – three of those coming from their new signing Alexis Sánchez. Liverpool’s players will be disappointed with their record of one goal and one assist – a paltry return between 12 of them.

Manchester City were well represented with 10 players travelling to Brazil, but they managed just two goals and no assists across more than 50 hours of football. That may be explained by the fact their two most heavily used players, Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany, are defenders. Lucky then that they have already signed cover in case of burnout. Bacary Sagna can play both right-back and centre-back, and featured for only 90 minutes in Brazil this summer. Swansea were the only other Premier League side to manage more than one World Cup goal – Wilfried Bony scoring twice for Ivory Coast.

Liverpool and Tottenham are both hoping to challenge again this season, and have no Brazil-based excuses to fall back on. Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen’s exertions lift Spurs above Liverpool, but the former is a goalkeeper, and the latter is being linked with a move to Barcelona. Brendan Rodgers has reason to thank Roy Hodgson, with his large England contingent allowed a decent summer break following the group-stage capitulation.

Of the less-fancied teams, Queens Park Rangers feature high up in both minutes played and distance covered, but that is almost entirely down to Brazil’s No1 still being on their books. It remains to be seen whether Júlio César will be in west London come 1 September. West Ham and Burnley were the only two sides not to have any players out in Brazil – so should we be tipping them for unexpected success on the back of a restful summer? If we look back at the Premier League victors in every season post-World Cup there is a definite pattern that emerges – Manchester United emerging triumphant every time except in 1994-95.

Managers will seek to push blame on to everyone and everything to deflect away from their own shortcomings, but United have shown in the past that a squad full of internationals is certainly no hindrance over the course of a long season. And at least if the players spend their summer occupied at the World Cup they won’t spend it smoking and boozing in Las Vegas like Jack Wilshere and Joe Hart.