With the Premier League season restarting on June 17, certain teams have a real chance at having a fast start and hitting the ground running as their remaining schedule, stars returning from injury and a clean slate will help them out in the final nine weeks of the season.
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Below we take a look at the Premier League teams set for a quick restart, especially in the opening three matchweeks of the season, as there is still plenty to play for up and down the table with the relegation battle, top four spots and Europa League qualification up for grabs.
Wolves are primed for a late Champions League push as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have been dealing with the Europa League/Premier League Thursday, Sunday grind all season long and they coped with that extremely well with their small squad. Now that they’ve had a break and the rest that everybody said they needed, they have a wonderful schedule to start off with.
In their first three games after the restart they play against West Ham United, Bournemouth and Aston Villa, three teams who are all deep in relegation trouble. That can go one of two ways as Wolves have struggled against teams who sit back and defend and then try to hit them on the counter and from set pieces. But there’s no doubt that Wolves really should be getting three wins on the trot to restart the season and that would put them right in the hunt for a top four finish. Raul Jimenez, Adama Traore, Diogo Jota and Co. are licking their chops in anticipation.
This pick may surprise you, but I’m going to go with Norwich City. Their first three games after the restart are against Southampton, Everton and Arsenal and the Canaries have shown that against the bigger teams, especially at home, they can cause upsets. The suspension may have come at a very good time for them because Daniel Farke’s side we’re just losing a little bit of impetus in early 2020. Now the likes of Teemu Pukki, Todd Cantwell and Emiliano Beundia have a really good chance at finishing their debut seasons’ in the Premier League in style.
The big problem for Norwich this season has been defending but if they can find a way of shoring things up at the back they certainly have the attacking talents to hurt teams late in the season. So, watch out for the Canaries to go on a charge and if the bottom side in the Premier League can do that, plenty of teams above them will be looking over their shoulders and getting very nervous in the relegation battle.
On paper Bournemouth simply have to win two of their first three games back after the restart if they’re going to have any chance of staying in the Premier League this season. Eddie Howe’s side have been in woeful form in recent months but they do have David Brooks returning from injury and several key defenders are also now fully fit too so that’s a big boost for the Cherries ahead of this crucial run in to try and save their Premier League status.
In their opening three games they host both Crystal Palace and Newcastle down at the Vitality Stadium and Bournemouth have to win those two matches to set themselves up for what they hope is a successful battle against relegation. They have a horrendous schedule in their final seven games and play plenty of the big boys. They have looked lackluster in attack so far this season, which is very unlike Bournemouth under Eddie Howe, but with Brooks coming back he gives them a different dimension. They do have a lot of options up top with Harry Wilson, Brooks, Callum Wilson and Josh King ready to step up. Now is the time to shine, lads.
It has been a poor second half of the season for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea but they did show signs of getting their act together before the suspension arrived in March and now they have both Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic back fit and ready to start. They really need to hit the ground running to try and seal this top four spot as quickly as they possibly can.
Chelsea face both Aston Villa and West Ham in their opening three games and also host Manchester City who may not have much to play for at that point, with Pep Guardiola maybe experimenting a little bit with his lineup. Lampard really needs his Chelsea side to regain the early season form which made them, at least for a little while, look like title contenders.
With so many young players in this Chelsea squad in their first full season in the Premier League, this break came at a very good time for the Blues because these youngsters were looking a bit jaded but now they should be fresh, fit and raring to go. If Chelsea can shore things up defensively they have all of the attacking talents to cause teams across the PL plenty of problems. That said, with Manchester United, Sheffield United, Tottenham, Arsenal and Wolves all breathing down their neck for a spot in the top four, Chelsea only have a three point gap to fifth place Man United before the restart. That should give them all the motivation they need to kick on and get as many wins on the board as quickly as they can.