The Premier League will make its long awaited return on Wednesday June 17th after exactly 100 days.
When Leicester beat Aston Villa 4-0 thanks to substitute Jamie Vardy’s brace on March 9th, many people were waiting for the inevitable announcement that the Premier League was going to suspend all games until further notice due to coronavirus. Nobody knew how long for.
As France, Holland, Scotland and Belgium all ended their season prematurely due to the virus, the Premier League refused to cancel the season and held several meetings with clubs to gauge the feeling of a return. After months of talks, it’s finally happening.
At 6pm on Wednesday, Aston Villa will host Sheffield United in a largely empty Villa Park as both sides look to get their season back on track. Villa are battling relegation, currently two points from safety with this their game in hand. The Blades though will be looking to continue their push for the Champions League places. A stunning season for Chris Wilder’s men has seen them push for a place among Europe’s elite for next season and should they win this game they’ll move ahead of Manchester United and Wolves just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Later that night, Arsenal travel to the Etihad to take on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The Blues have had an inconsistent season slacking way behind will-be champions Liverpool having lost seven league games this season, the most Pep has ever lost in a single campaign. The match also marks the return of Mikel Arteta to Manchester, with the Spaniard leaving his role as Guardiola’s assistant in November to take over as the main man at the club where he was once captain.
Arsenal have suffered one of their worst seasons in recent memory, sitting in 9th place when the season was postponed. Arteta has come in and lifted spirits at the Emirates, but results haven’t really picked up. They’ve got a record of 4W-5D-1L since his appointment and are 8 points off Champions League places with this their game in hand.
A win would boost confidence that they can put up a real challenge as the season reaches a close but a loss would all but end their hopes.
As the Premier League returns without a title race, it’s the Champions League and relegation places that will hold everyone’s attention for the coming month or so. These two fixtures will get us back into the swing of things nice and quickly.