Liverpool make Man City look ordinary, jury’s out on Jose Mourinho at Tottenham, Mike Ashley can’t shake Newcastle
After a long and arduous three months, the Premier League will make a return from June 17. Get in!
Sure, it won’t be the same as what we’re used to with the remaining 92 matches to be played behind closed doors due to social distancing measures.
But fans will be treated to a fantastic festival of football with new staggered kick-off times being used for the remaining matches.
And talkSPORT will, of course, be across all the action for you on radio, online and on our shiny new app!
As it’s been so long since we saw a kick in the top flight, you may not totally remember what the state of play was when coronavirus suddenly brought things to a halt.
But fear not, talkSPORT.com come to the rescue by preparing a handy guide that will hopefully jog your memory about what was going on in the Premier League.
Liverpool are simply the best
Depending on what way inclined you are, there were genuine hopes/fears that coronavirus would lead to the season being declared null and void, thus denying Liverpool a first Premier League title.
It would have been a travesty had this happened as Jurgen Klopp’s men have had a phenomenal league campaign.
They’re 25 points clear of second-placed Manchester City – the most expensively-assembled squad in football history – having only lost one and drawn one of their 28 matches this term.
Now the Premier League is returning, it is almost certain Liverpool will seal a first league title since 1990 and they could even win it when they play Everton in their first match of the restart – if they win and Arsenal beat City on June 17.
For those of you who don’t support them, prepare for a lifetime of being constantly reminded about the Reds winning the title by all of your Liverpool-supporting friends!
Top four race hotting up
Leicester have been a surprise success story this term and were even tipped to challenge Liverpool for the title… until they were battered by the Reds on Boxing Day, losing 4-0 at home.
A bad run of form in February saw Leicester get dragged into the tussle for Champions League football, which looks set to go to the wire.
The Foxes are third and have a eight-point cushion inside the all-important spots but it’s very tight further down.
Chelsea have the final Champions League position in fourth but are only two points ahead of a resurgent Manchester United in fifth, who are unbeaten in their last five league matches.
But don’t write off Wolves and Sheffield United – both sides are looking to upset the apple cart this season and are just two points off the Red Devils.
Meanwhile, Tottenham and Arsenal have outside chances of sneaking into the top four despite having generally disappointing campaigns thus far.
Jury’s still out on Jose
In June 2019, Mauricio Pochettino led his Tottenham side out for last season’s Champions League final in what was the club’s biggest game for decades. Less than six months later, Poch was given the chop. Football, eh?
And in one of the most surprising managerial appointments in Premier League history, Jose Mourinho was named his replacement by Daniel Levy. His immediate task was to firefight Spurs’ poor start to the campaign, with his predecessor leaving Spurs in 14th position after 12 league matches.
The ‘Special One’ has diverted Spurs away from any danger of relegation – if there ever was any – but things have been more steady than special with Mourinho winning just eight out of 17 league matches in charge of the club.
As already mentioned, they’re outsiders to finish in the top four, being seven points off Chelsea, but Mourinho is traditionally better in his second season at clubs so maybe the halting of football will lead to an upsurge in form after the restart.
Mikel making a mark on Arsenal
It seems unlikely the Gunners will qualify for next season’s Champions League but they’re definitely improving under Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal haven’t tasted defeat in the league in 2020, something no other side can boast (not even Liverpool) but six of Arteta’s 12 league matches since he became manager have been draws which is why they’re eight points off fourth spot.
If they can continue to progress then some of those draws will become wins before too long and Champions League qualification will become a realistic hope once again.
Burnley were the league’s in-form side
Well, sort of. But it has been somewhat surprising to see that Sean Dyche’s men were churning out a run of good results before things went haywire.
Burnley were unbeaten in their last seven Premier League matches and haven’t tasted defeat in the league since January 11.
On this impressive run they’ve claimed wins over Leicester and Manchester United and also drawn with Arsenal and Tottenham.
Can they carry on the good form after the restart?
Newcastle fans still hated Mike Ashley
There hasn’t been any action on the pitch to talk about but this has been an incredibly exciting few weeks for the Toon Army.
That’s because unpopular owner Ashley could finally be about to sell the club as the proposed takeover by the Saudi Public Investment Fund edges ever closer.
Before coronavirus stopped football, the Magpies were still very much owned by Ashley, despite previous attempts from others to acquire the club dating all the way back to 2017.
But in April it emerged that Ashley and Amanda Staveley were in talks once more about a takeover attempt. This time it actually looks like it’s going ahead.
The deal isn’t done yet but if it does happen then it will surely change the course of football history as it would make Newcastle the Premier League’s richest club.
Relegation battle enters squeaky bum time
The season’s return means matters regarding demotion to the Championship will be settled on the football pitch, which is the fairest way, of course.
The dogfight features a lot of clubs this year with six teams (Norwich, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Watford, West Ham and Brighton) in real danger of losing their Premier League status.
Norwich are bottom of the table and in big trouble as they are six points off safety. Villa and Bournemouth occupy the other two spots in the drop zone.
But it’s so close down there with Dean Smith’s side just two points away from being out of the drop zone, while Bournemouth are only behind Watford and West Ham on goal difference.
Brighton are in the best position of all the teams in the dogfight but are by no means comfortable as they’re just two points clear of the drop.
How the Premier League table looks…