Working Christmas Day! Cazorla among the former Premier League stars in action on December 25

Planet Sport takes a look at eight former Premier League players who don't have to worry about training on Christmas Day - they'll be playing!

Christmas offers soccer players a couple of days rest during a breathless period of fixtures. However, that doesn't apply for all.

After digging deep through the upcoming fixture list, we've found eight former Premier League players who will be clocking in at work come Christmas Day.

Santi Cazorla (Al-Sadd - Qatar)

Santi Cazorla (L) of Al Sadd SC celebrates with his teammate Akram Afif after scoring a goal during the AFC Asian Champions League group D

Out of all the people on this list, Santi Cazorla faces the least strenuous Christmas Day shift as his team - league leaders Al-Sadd - take on bottom-of-the-table Al-Khor.

With nine games already behind us in the Qatar Stars League, Cazorla's side boast a near-perfect record of eight victories and just one draw.

In contrast, their opponents are yet to win a game this season and sit 12th in the standings with just four points to their name.

Cazorla, who previously played for Arsenal and Villarreal, is on a good run of form having scored two goals and produced one assist across his last four games. If that run is set to continue, the Spaniard should be in for a happy Christmas.

Andre Ayew (Al-Sadd - Qatar)

Andre Ayew of Ghana during the 2022 World Cup Qualifier Ghana Training Session on the 05 September 2021

Cazorla is not the only former Premier League star to represent the Qatari league leaders.

Ghana international Andre Ayew is also set to start as he looks to continue his impressive goalscoring run.

The 32-year-old has bagged 10 goals in his last 13 games for club and country - including two during the November's World Cup qualifiers.

The former Swansea, West Ham and Marseille player is the one to watch if you're placing any Christmas Day soccer bets.

Nacer Chadli (Istanbul Basaksehir - Turkey)

Nacer Chadli L of Istanbul Basaksehir FK

Believe it or not, but there's actually a pretty big game taking place on Christmas Day.

Trabzonspor are currently running riot in the Turkish league but one team which could realistically stop them are Nacer Chadli's Istanbul Basaksehir.

The former Tottenham and West Brom midfielder has been involved in 14 of the team's 18 league games this season and the 32-year-old has helped them up to third place in the standings.

There are 13 points separating the teams but a win away in Trabzon could begin to shift the tide of momentum in Basaksehir's favour. After all, the visitors are on a 10-match unbeaten run in the league - eight of those being victories.

This is Chadli's second season in Turkey after moving to the country's capital from Anderlecht in 2020.

Toby Alderweireld (Al-Duhail - Qatar)

Belgium's Toby Alderweireld pictured during a soccer game between Belgian national team Red Devils and Italy

Sticking with the Tottenham theme, Toby Alderweireld will be in action for Al-Duhail.

The 32-year-old moved to the club from London last summer following a six-year spell at Spurs.

Alderweireld is now one of the key players at Qatari club Al-Duhail. His team are currently second in the table and are three points behind league leaders Al-Sadd.

Christmas Day will see them take on sixth-placed Umm-Salal - a side they have prevailed against in seven of the last nine encounters.

Gervinho (Trabzonspor - Turkey)

Gervinho of Trabzonspor during the UEFA Conference League Play-Offs Second Leg match between Trabzonspor and AS Roma at Stadio Olimpico

Another player who enjoyed a previous spell in London is Gervinho. The 34-year-old played 46 games for Arsenal during his time at the Emirates from 2011 to 2013.

The Ivory Coast international now plays in Turkey for Trabzonspor but his journey there has been interesting to say the least.

After leaving the Gunners, Gervinho moved to AS Roma where he played 71 games across three seasons in Serie A.

A move to the Chinese Super League followed but after making just 29 appearances in three years, he moved back to Italy to join Parma. After three seasons there, he has now linked up with Trabzonspor where he hopes to win the title.

His team face a tough task on Christmas Day as they host an in-form Istanbul Basaksehir side.

Bafetimbi Gomis (Al-Hilal - Saudi Arabia)

Bafetimbi Gomis of Al Hilal FC celebrates after scoring during the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 second round match

Known for his memorable goal celebrations, Bafetimbi Gomis is certainly a player that is fondly remembered by Swansea City fans.

The striker is now 36 years old and his Premier League days are well behind him. During his two-season spell in south Wales, Gomis scored 17 goals - including his infamous winning goal against Arsenal which came a minute after he entered the field.

Gomis moved to Marseille and Galatasaray before ending up in Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal.

This Christmas Day, Gomis will be in-action for the defending Saudi champions as they take on Al-Fateh. A win is crucial as Al-Hilal trail league leaders by five points and enter this game on the back of a three-match winless run.

Mame Diouf (Hatayspor - Turkey)

Stoke City's Mame Biram Diouf celebrates at the end of the match during the Sky Bet Championship at the bet365 Stadium

Staying on the subject of strikers, who could possibly forget Mame Diouf?

The former Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City forward currently plies his trade in Turkey where he represents Hatayspor.

This is a club which from 1967 - the year of its foundation - to 2020 languished in Turkey's lower leagues.

Hatayspor earned promotion in 2020 and recruited Diouf as part of their efforts to retain their top-tier status. The club not only survived in the Super Lig but also went on to finish sixth as Diouf ended the campaign with an impressive haul of 19 goals.

The 34-year-old has continued his goalscoring form in the new season and currently boasts a record of seven goals from 17 appearances.

Diouf will have an opportunity to add to his goal tally on Christmas Day when his side take on Giresunspor - a side they haven't lost against in five consecutive encounters.

Patrick van Aanholt (Galatasaray - Turkey)

Patrick van Aanholt of Galatasaray looks on during the UEFA Europa League Group E football match between FC Lokomotiv Moscow and Galatasaray SK on October 21, 2021

One Turkish side which boasts more former Premier League players than any other is Galatasaray.

DeAndre Yedlin, Sofiane Feghouli and even Ryan Babel have all graced the English top tier before making their way to the Istanbul-based club.

However, one name which we're going to focus on is Patrick van Aanholt.

The former Chelsea, Leicester, Wigan, Sunderland and Crystal Palace defender joined the Turkish club last summer after his time at Selhurst Park came to an end.

The 31-year-old has endured a tough first season at Galatasaray with the club struggling in the league. As things stand, the team sit 12th in the standings and trail league leaders Trabzonspor by 21 points.

This Christmas Day, Galatasaray welcome Antalyaspor to the Nef Stadium as they look to spark a turnaround in form.

READ MORE: Premier League managers who suffered a Christmas axing: Pellegrini, Warnock and more...

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