Finally, the Premier League is set to resume after its long hiatus due to COVID19. The most followed league in world football had to bow to the pandemic for safety purposes and although it is set to resume, just like every other currently active sports, there will be no fans in the stadium.
Will it affect the flow of the game? Well, no one knows, and we don’t really care either. We just want to watch our beloved teams entertain us with enthralling football. Here are some of the things we anticipate as the premier league is set to begin.
The premier league is known to constantly have packed stadiums no matter the game, be it Burnley vs Watford or Manchester United vs Liverpool. That’s how passionate the fans are, with both home and away teams creating a boisterous atmosphere to cheer up their teams. How will watching a game in a stadium without noise be? Well, we wait and see.
The Pogba, Fernandes Era Begins
Bruno Fernandes has been a revelation for Manchester United since signing in January, taking the club to a different level and in with a shout of making the top four. And he’s done all these without Paul Pogba, the teams most mercurial player who has been down with injury. The pandemic though has helped Pogba recover fully. The football world is now eager to see how their midfield combo works. It should be juicy right? We cant wait to see it.
The Dogged Sheffield United
Its looking like almost every year, we see a surprise package in the premier league, and this season, its Sheffield United. Chris Wilder’s team is built on quite some grit. Had to break down and just finds a way to edge out teams. Top four is not completely ruled out for them, but the fact they are still in d race, shows how far they’ve come. We cant wait to watch them again.
Harry Kane is Back
Before the coronavirus pandemic halted the Premier League, Tottenham found themselves on a poor run of form, lying eighth in the table and seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and that was partly due to the injury suffered by their talisman in the 1-0 loss to Southampton in January. His return is now a major boost for Jose Mourinho’s bid to ensure Spurs make the top four.
The Relegation Dog Fight
is definitely going down to the wire with Brighton, West Ham, Watford battling hard to see off Bournemouth, Norwich and Aston Villa who are almost down. This dog fight will be interesting to watch as these teams are well aware of the financial implications of going down.
Has been in the news all through the COVID19 break due to the takeover bid with majority of the fans hoping its successful this time around, so they can be able to compete with the other premier league big boys. A lot has been said in the past few months but Newcastle know they have to first ensure they avoid relegation before they push Mike Ashley out of the door.
Southampton are not entirely safe from relegation but they made a statement to back their manager by giving him a new four-year contract during the break. Ralph Hassenhuttl now has to repay the boards faith by ensuring he takes the club famous for producing top stars like Virgil Van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Oxlade Chamberlain and others to the next level.
Is one of the few brightest spots among the teams battling relegation. With a lot of top teams trying to poach him, He has to first try to help his team avoid relegation and then prove he is worth the exorbitant amount Aston Villa are pricing him.
Ancelloti and The Toffees
Everton are winless in their last three games and lost scandalously 4-0 to Chelsea in their last game prior to the impromptu COVID19 break. Carlo Ancelloti is a high profile manager and will be given time to resurrect this Everton side at least this season, but eyes are on Ancelloti to see how he can bring his wealth of experience to take the Merseyside club to the next level.
Mikel Arteta has won eight and lost just two of his first fifteen matches which is pretty impressive. He has also got the team playing quite well. The only real negative about his reign was the defeat to Olympiakos that ended their Europa League dreams. Their next game though is a scintillating match up against his former mentor, Pep Guardiola at the Etihad.
Rat Race for the Top 4
Chelsea, Man Utd, Wolves, Sheffield United, Tottenham and Arsenal are all battling it out to take the remaining champions league spot. These teams will constantly have to rotate their squads due to fixture congestion to avoid fatigue and ensure players are properly fit to fight to the end. With just eight points separating Chelsea in 4th and Arsenal in 9th, this should be pretty interesting to watch.
Manchester City’s New assistant coach
Former Real Sociedad, Vissel Kobe and Real Oviedo manager Juanma Lillo has joined Manchester City as assistant coach to Pep Guardiola – a role he held under Jorge Sampaoli with Sevilla and Chile. What is yet to be seen is if he is the first assistant, like Arteta or Brian Kidd is elevated to the role and Juanma Lillo slots in to be one of the coaches.
The Kop’s Moment
They’ve been knocked out of the F.A Cup and the Champions league despite their scintillating run in the league but you have to give it to Jurgen Klopp and his side. Lost one, drawn one, and won TWENTY SEVEN Premier league game all season. Listen to this, the difference between them and Man City at second are 25 POINTS.
Its definitely just a matter of time before they are crowned. Stand up for the Champions.
Arsenal’s record signing has scored six goals and eight assists for the North Londoners since arriving in the summer but he has failed to fulfill the potential that saw him join with a lot of promise. Hopefully the COID-19 break has given him enough time to reflect, watch his games and see how he can do better to help Arsenal in their fight to crack into the top four.
A.k.a Favour over Labour was a surprise acquisition by Manchester United in January and we are absolutely loving it. He’s come in, played his part, Man Utd definitely won more fans in Nigeria and Odion Ighalo has also been quite impressive even in matches he doesn’t score. Unfortunately, his run was cut short by the break, but we all can’t wait to cheer him up when the season resumes back. Happily, his contract has been extended till January and we all can hope he continues to do well.
Ogala Chukwuyem (@chuksypablo), a Banker, wrote from Lagos.