The long awaited return for English Premier League football is finally over, as the 2019/20 campaign has finally resumed following the devastating effects caused by the global coronavirus outbreak. The Top Flight was forced into an immediate break which lasted for over 3 months, which returned as Aston Villa hosted Sheffield United at Villa Park. When these two teams faced off for the first time in the season, The Blades walked to a 2-0 victory, thanks to a brace from midfield dynamo John Fleck, a stonewall performer for United so far this season which has seen then sit at a remarkable seventh place and fighting for a European spot. This time around though it was a different story, which saw the game end goalless yet covered in controversy, as the visitors appeared to score, only for it not to count due to technical issues.
Sluggish Starts and Fluffed Finishes
The quality of football on display so far hasn’t been great, but can you really expect anything else after a three month break? The first game of every season is usually of a lower standard and tempo than what you’d usually find due to the levels of fitness, and that’s after a full preseason including a number of friendlies and weeks of training sessions. So you can imagine the toll its having on the players considering they were allowed to have only a few of weeks of training, which included non contact & distance measures still being required, as well as no more than 2 friendlies prior to this restart; so the sluggish starts were expected really. Allowing two more substitutes and also a water / refreshment break occurring half way through both halves have been implemented to try and help the players out, but the only impact this has had on the game up to now seems to be negative, and slowing the game even more.
How to Watch the Games
One massive positive to look forward to is that there’s so many more games being broadcasted now. SKY are offering several games a week on their mainstream channel SKY1, meaning that you don’t need the additional paid service of SKY Sports to watch all of the matches that they offer. So although the match going fans will be impacted and not be too pleased, you are still able to watch a number of high profile games depending on your television package. It hasn’t been announced how long this will be taking place for though, with rumours being that they will offer it to be the case for next season as well, but we will just have to wait and see.
A Lot Still to Play For
Although it looks fairly obvious that Liverpool are going to lift the trophy come the end of the season, and currently need under two wins to secure it, there is still plenty to play for regarding the rest of the league. At the foot of the table, Norwich are currently in a sticky situation, who are six points adrift of safety, and face a Carlo Ancelotti ran Everton team who will be extremely confident of returning to Merseyside with something, especially considering they almost pinched the points against local rivals and league leaders Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby last Sunday. Aston Villa, Bournemouth, West Ham and Watford are also in the danger zone of the table, with two points separating second bottom to sixteenth, which could lead to an interesting final day of the season, as West Ham host Aston Villa at the London Stadium in the capital.
Another interested battle for the rest of the season is the race for Europe. By the looks of things, Manchester City will comfortably get second place in what has been a disappointing title race for them, but the rest of the pack is still very much fighting for the coveted top four and Champions League spots. There are also a number of teams and a few surprise packages aiming for Europa League spots also, which sees Sheffield United currently in seventh and securing the (usual) final space for the European qualifiers, with Tottenham close over their shoulders and two points behind, and even Arsenal who are trailing by four points, sitting in tenth. Really, this battle could even include sides as low as fourteenth such as Southampton and Brighton, who would only need a run of three wins to see them right back in the mix.
As an added incentive, we’re going to be running a competition to win some of our meals on several of our social channels. To enter, simply retweet/share the post of us showing this article, whack us a follow and predict the scoreline of one correct game for the end of the season. We’ll then pick one winner at random who will win these healthy, nutritious meals.
So as Martin Tyler would say with a slight twist, “Sit back and enjoy it”, but with the tastiest premade meals around, as you watch the match in your club colours.