The 2019-20 Premier League season is set to resume on Wednesday, June 17 after more than three months without fixtures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
It’s understood Manchester City will host Arsenal while Sheffield United travel to Aston Villa that day in order for each of the four clubs to catch up their respective games in hand.
The United Kingdom has the highest coronavirus death total of any European nation, and Chris Giles of the Financial Times made a ‘cautious estimate’ on Wednesday that the number of excess deaths in the country had reached 63,800.
There are 92 matches left to be played this term in total, with clubs having recently been given permission to resume contact training (with limitations) as ‘Project Restart’ intensifies efforts to get the campaign back up and running.
Here’s how the table looked when play was suspended on March 13, with Liverpool 25 points out in front as they seek a first top-flight title since 1990:
Matches will be played behind closed doors—in line with Europe’s other major leagues—though details regarding the new health and safety protocols are still being discussed. It is known that any players or club staff diagnosed as positive for COVID-19 will have to self-isolate for seven days and then test negative twice before they can be eligible to play.
Arsenal are currently ninth but could move as high as sixth if they manage to beat City at the Etihad Stadium. That result would also bring Liverpool one step closer to sealing their title victory; the Reds currently require another six points to guarantee a deserved crown.
Villa sit 19th in the standings but could move outside the relegation zone if they beat Sheffield, who are seventh and still have a chance of qualifying for Europe next term.
The Mirror’s David Maddock anticipated the Merseyside derby to be played on the first available weekend having first been scheduled for March 16:
A June 17 restart would put the Premier League on schedule to conclude the season by August 1 or August 2, with the FA Cup final hoping to follow on August 8.