One year on, Premier League upbeat on recovery

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March 13, 2020: the Premier League was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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One year on, so much has changed and the Premier League is now upbeat and looking forward to the return of sizeable crowds this season and full stadiums to kick off next season.

That is the hope, as the COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues to accelerate in the UK as June 21 is touted as the date things can return to a strong semblance of normality.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters reflected on what has easily been the most problematic 12 months in league history, as the league was kept going aside from a three-month pause from March to June, 2020.

“It’s been a hell of a journey. All that uncertainty, as you put it, the huge challenges we’ve faced, the financial difficulties as well. Pretty much the whole nation has faced that combination of challenge, and football has been no different,” Masters said.

“It’s a year since we suspended the League. We had to get the 2019/20 League season finished. That felt like more of a sprint, and this season has been a long haul, getting to this point. We can see the end of the season on the horizon; we’re really looking forward to that moment, hopefully with the fans back in stadiums. It has been an incredible journey, but I think we can look back with some pride and say that we’ve made a big contribution.”

The last 12 months have been historic in so many ways.

English soccer being suspended for the longest time since World War two is something which will go down in history, and is something many will want to forget and get away from as soon as possible.

Fans not being at games has hit the whole soccer and sports world hard. It has arguably hit the Premier League harder that most league given the incredible atmospheres created at stadiums, with just 2,000 fans allowed to attend here and there in December.

The COVID-19 recovery plan is now well underway in the UK, and within the Premier League, as this one year anniversary also marks better times on the horizon.

“The vaccination programme is the light at the end of the tunnel,” Masters said. “It’s the thing which changes everything, from being controlled by the virus to controlling the virus and returning to some semblance of normality. If the vaccination programme works, in the way that government wants it to work, that will bring the return of full Premier League stadiums and theatres and cinemas and ticketed events generally.”


Timeline of last 12 months in the Premier League

One year ago today, everything changed.

Masters revealed that the Premier League planned to go on with the season but positive cases at Arsenal (Mikel Arteta) and Chelsea (Callum Hudson-Odoi) hit home the severity of the situation and on March 13, 2020 the league was suspended, initially until April.

When would games return? Would games return? Would the season be cancelled? Would Liverpool win the league? Would there be relegation?

The first few weeks without Premier League games threw up so many questions and clubs and the league worked together to find solutions as fast as they could. At times it seemed unlikely games would return at all, but they did, and all of that uncertainty seems a long time ago now.

Finances have taken a huge hit in the last 12 months, with clubs losing close to $2.8 billion. But the show has gone on and it has been a relief for so many they can at least watch the Premier League throughout the pain, worry and fear of the last year.


It is work looking back at the timeline of the last 12 months:

March 13, 2020: Premier League season suspended
April 29, 2020: ‘Project Restart’ plan announced
May 19, 2020: Players returned to group training
May 28, 2020: Clubs and league agree season will restart
June 17, 2020: Premier League restart 2019-20 season
July 26, 2020: 2019-20 season ends
September 12, 2020: Premier League 2020-21 season begins
December 1, 2020: First PL game postponed due to COVID-19
December 2, 2020: 2,000 fans now allowed at some PL stadiums
January 4, 2021: National lockdown, PL continues with no fans
March 13, 2021: One year since Premier League suspended


“Project Restart felt like a sprint. We played a lot of matches in a five-week period after a long lay-off. It was a challenge. This feels more like a marathon. The schedule that we’ve put in front of the clubs and the players is pretty brutal; they’re playing a full Premier League fixture list, European competitions, two cup competitions as well, all in a truncated period. It’s a big challenge,” Masters said.

“There’s been really strong adherence to all the protocols, and I think it’s been a huge collective collaborative effort on behalf of the Premier League and the clubs and the players and everyone involved, to get to this point. It hasn’t always been easy, there have been bumps in the road that we’ve had to navigate.”

Masters revealed how close the Premier League was to shutting down around the turn of the year as the UK variant of COVID-19 saw cases and deaths surge across the country.

“We had a big spike in late December and early January. We had those postponements, making difficult decisions about postponing matches and rescheduling fixtures but we also doubled down on testing and really tightened the protocols and asked the clubs to go the extra mile. They did all of that, and six weeks on, we’re back at two positives per week out of 3,000 tests and so everything feels in a very different place,” Masters said.

“Back then, there were concerns that there might have to be some sort of hiatus, or that we weren’t matching the mood, but I think that a lot of the work that we did with the clubs and the players about refraining from hugging, about improving their behaviour, about re­ emphasising what a privilege it is to play football, I think helped. I don’t think it was near, but it was perhaps the nearest we’ve come to it.”


Next step: Full Premier League stadiums for start of next season

One year on from the shutdown, the Premier League and its clubs are in a positive frame of mind.

Masters hopes fans can return in big numbers in May for the final two matchweeks of this season, while the start of the 2021-22 season will see fans back in full stadiums.

“The Government’s roadmap is really welcome because it sets out a plan for a return of supporters, so hopefully the final two fixtures of our season will have up to 10,000 supporters in them all. We’ve got to go past those first initial steps in the Government’s roadmap to get there, so hopefully that will be a fantastic finale to the end of our season,” Masters said.

“From the beginning of next season onwards, our goal is to have full stadia and obviously the Government’s roadmap offers us that opportunity. There’s a lot of water to pass under the bridge before that can happen but that’s our ultimate goal. The return of full vibrant Premier League stadia and a return to the normal Premier League.”

The Premier League has kept going throughout the hell and uncertainty of the last 12 months, and it is now on the final path towards a full recovery.

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Tottenham: How to watch live, team news, updates

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Eintracht Frankfurt vs Tottenham: Spurs will try to bounce back from defeat last time out in the UEFA Champions League (and in the Premier League) when they face last season’s Europa League winners in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores, stats ]

It was a 2-0 defeat to Portuguese side Sporting CP (via two stoppage-time goals) on Sept. 13 that ended Tottenham’s unbeaten start in all competitions, before Antonio Conte’s side respond with a 6-2 victory over Leicester. Saturday’s north London derby not only saw Spurs beaten by Arsenal, but also outplayed to a degree that will almost certainly have left Conte seething.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt vs Tottenham…


How to watch Eintracht Frankfurt vs Tottenham live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET, Tuesday
TV Channel: TUDN, Paramount+
Online: Updates via NBCSports.com


Key storylines

Group D remains eminently winnable for Spurs, who have three points from their first two games. Sporting sit top of the group on six, but four games remain, including the return fixture in north London on Oct. 26. Eintracht Frankfurt have thus far beaten Marseille (away) and taken a hammering by the Portuguese (home), leaving their two most difficult fixtures (Tottenham and Sporting away) for the second half of the group stage.


In-form players to keep an eye on

Despite some (minor) frustrations over Tottenham’s rather defensive style of play under Conte, it’s worth noting they’ve only failed to score once all season (the loss to Sporting). Harry Kane leads the way in the Premier League with seven goals, including one against Arsenal, on the heels of Son Heung-min’s hat trick against the Foxes prior to the international break. Finally off the mark for the season and locked into a starting spot for the time being with Dejan Kulusevski battling a thigh injury. Richarlison scored his first two goals for Tottenham in the home win over Marseille, but the Brazilian has since gone cold without a goal or assist in three straight games (all starts).


Tottenham team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Dejan Kulusevski (thigh), Lucas Moura (achilles)

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Premier League player Power Rankings – Week 8

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The latest Premier League player Power Rankings of the 2022-23 season have arrived, as we focus on who starred across Matchweek 9 as the action returned in full force following the international break.

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Stars from Manchester City and Arsenal continue to dominate the upper echelons of our list, as plenty of megastars are starting to hit top gear.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. It is all based on their current form and which way they are trending, right now!

I’m sure you all agree wholeheartedly with our latest Premier League player Power Rankings…


Premier League player Power Rankings 2022-23 season – Week 8

1. Erling Haaland (Man City) – Even
2. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City) – Even
3. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) – Up 2
4. Phil Foden (Man City) – Up 2
5. Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal) –  Down 2
6. William Saliba (Arsenal) – Up 9
7. Joao Cancelo (Man City) – Even
8. Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal) – Up 3
9. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 5
10. Kieran Trippier (Newcastle) – Up 8
11. Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal) – Up 9
12. Leandro Trossard (Brighton) – New entry
13. Martin Odegaard (Arsenal) – Up 4
14. Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton) – New entry
15. Alisson (Liverpool) – New entry
16. Manuel Akanji (Man City) – New entry
17. Alex Iwobi (Everton) – New entry
18. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) – Up 1
19. Miguel Almiron (Newcastle) – New entry
20. Thomas Partey (Arsenal) – New entry

UEFA Champions League, live! How to watch, predictions, updates, scores, schedule, fixtures

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The 2022-23 UEFA Champions League group stage is here and we are ready to roll between now and November.

With a congested schedule due to the 2022 World Cup kicking off in November, we will have midweek Champions League action every week between now and early November (aside from the international break in late September).

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Can Real Madrid win back-to-back Champions League titles? Or will the Premier League giants continue to reach the final (at least one PL team has reached four of the last five finals with two all-English finals in the last four) and go one better this season?

Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Inter Milan are together in the “group of death,” while Tottenham were handed a (relatively) easy draw with Eintracht Frankfurt, Sporting CP and Marseille in Group D. Manchester City will face perennial European noise-makers in Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla in Group G, while PSG and Juventus were paired up in Group H.

Rangers are back in the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2010, joining bitter Glasgow rivals Celtic to give the Scottish Premiership two clubs in the UCL group stage for the first time in 15 years.

Elsewhere, Benfica, Copenhagen, Dinamo Zagreb, Viktoria Plzen and Maccabi Haifi made it through the playoffs, while this is the first time the Bundesliga has had five teams in the group stage after Frankfurt won the Europa League last season to qualify.

Below is everything you need following the UEFA Champions League group stage.


UEFA Champions League schedule, dates, how to watch

Dates: Group stage to be played September to November
Online: Live updates via NBCSports.com
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+


Champions League group stage fixtures (all kick off times ET)

Matchday 3

Tuesday, 4 October
Bayern vs Plzen (12:45)
Marseille vs Sporting CP (12:45)
Liverpool vs Rangers (3:00)
Ajax vs Napoli (3:00)
Porto vs Leverkusen (3:00)
Club Brugge vs Atletico (3:00)
Inter vs Barcelona (3:00)
Frankfurt vs Tottenham (3:00)

Wednesday, 5 October
Salzburg vs Dinamo Zagreb (12:45)
Leipzig vs Celtic (12:45)
Chelsea vs AC Milan (3:00)
Real Madrid vs Shakhtar (3:00)
Man City vs Copenhagen (3:00)
Sevilla vs Dortmund (3:00)
Juventus vs Maccabi Haifa (3:00)
Benfica vs Paris (3:00)


JPW’s Champions League predictions – Matchday 3

Tuesday, 4 October
Bayern 4-1 Plzen
Marseille 2-2 Sporting CP
Liverpool 4-2 Rangers
Ajax 2-2 Napoli
Porto 1-2 Leverkusen
Club Brugge 1-2 Atletico
Inter 1-1 Barcelona
Frankfurt 1-2 Tottenham

Wednesday, 5 October
Salzburg 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb
Leipzig 3-1 Celtic
Chelsea 2-1 AC Milan
Real Madrid 3-1 Shakhtar
Man City 4-1 Copenhagen
Sevilla 2-1 Dortmund
Juventus 3-1 Maccabi Haifa
Benfica 1-4 Paris


Matchday 1

Tuesday, 6 September
Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 Chelsea — Highlights, Tuchel’s furious response
Dortmund 3-0 Copenhagen — WATCH: Reyna’s two assists
Salzburg 1-1 AC Milan — Dest makes Milan debut off bench
Celtic 0-3 Real Madrid — Carter-Vickers’ Bhoys eventually falter
Leipzig 1-4 Shakhtar — Ukrainians off to rollicking start
Sevilla 0-4 Man City– Highlights, Guardiola’s glowing reaction
Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Juventus — McKennie scores in loss
Benfica 2-0 Maccabi Haifa — Cohen makes 3 saves in loss

Wednesday, 7 September
Ajax 4-0 Rangers — Dutch giants hammer Gers as Alvarez gets ball rolling
Frankfurt 0-3 Sporting CP — Portuguese giants led by Edwards’ opener
Napoli 4-1 Liverpool — Highlights as Klopp’s boys run ragged
Atletico 2-1 Porto — Griezmann scores 101st minute winner amid late drama
Club Brugge 1-0 Leverkusen — Sylla seals big win for Belgian champs
Barcelona 5-1 Plzen — Lewandowski hat trick leads rout
Inter 0-2 Bayern — Sane unplayable as Bayern ease to win
Tottenham 2-0 Marseille — Richarlison the late hero on his UCL debut

Matchday 2

Tuesday, 13 September
Plzen 0-2 Inter — Goal, assist for Dzeko in win over 10-man hosts
Sporting CP 2-0 Tottenham – Conte rues details plus video highlights
Liverpool 2-1 Ajax –Klopp relief at rebound win; Video highlights
Porto 0-4 Club Brugge — Four different scorers highlight blowout
Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Atletico Madrid — Frimpong sets up two late goals
Bayern Munich 2-0 Barcelona — Wasteful finishing haunts Lewandowski return
Marseille 0-1 Eintracht Frankfurt — Late first-half Lindstrom goal the difference

Wednesday, 14 September
AC Milan 3-1 Dinamo Zagreb
Shakhtar 1-1 Celtic
Chelsea 1-1 Salzburg – RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Rangers 0-3 Napoli
Real Madrid 2-0 RB Leipzig
Man City 2-1 Dortmund – RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Copenhagen 0-0 Sevilla
Juventus 1-2 Benfica
Maccabi Haifa 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain


Matchday 3

Tuesday, 4 October
Bayern vs Plzen (12:45)
Marseille vs Sporting CP (12:45)
Liverpool vs Rangers (3:00)
Ajax vs Napoli (3:00)
Porto vs Leverkusen (3:00)
Club Brugge vs Atletico (3:00)
Inter vs Barcelona (3:00)
Frankfurt vs Tottenham (3:00)

Wednesday, 5 October
Salzburg vs Dinamo Zagreb (12:45)
Leipzig vs Celtic (12:45)
Chelsea vs AC Milan (3:00)
Real Madrid vs Shakhtar (3:00)
Man City vs Copenhagen (3:00)
Sevilla vs Dortmund (3:00)
Juventus vs Maccabi Haifa (3:00)
Benfica vs Paris (3:00)


Matchday 4

Tuesday, 11 October
Copenhagen vs Man City (12:45)
Maccabi Haifa vs Juventus (12:45)
Dinamo Zagreb vs Salzburg (3:00)
AC Milan vs Chelsea (3:00)
Shakhtar vs Real Madrid (3:00)
Celtic vs Leipzig (3:00)
Dortmund vs Sevilla (3:00)
Paris vs Benfica (3:00)

Wednesday, 12 October
Napoli vs Ajax (12:45)
Atletico vs Club Brugge (12:45)
Rangers vs Liverpool (3:00)
Leverkusen vs Porto (3:00)
Barcelona vs Inter (3:00)
Plzen vs Bayern (3:00)
Tottenham vs Frankfurt (3:00)
Sporting CP vs Marseille (3:00)

Matchday 5

Tuesday, 25 October
Salzburg vs Chelsea (12:45)
Sevilla vs Copenhagen (12:45)
Dinamo Zagreb vs AC Milan (3:00)
Celtic vs Shakhtar (3:00)
Leipzig vs Real Madrid (3:00)
Dortmund vs Man City (3:00)
Paris vs Maccabi Haifa (3:00)
Benfica vs Juventus (3:00)

Wednesday, 26 October
Club Brugge vs Porto (12:45)
Inter vs Plzen (12:45)
Napoli vs Rangers (3:00)
Ajax vs Liverpool (3:00)
Atletico vs Leverkusen (3:00)
Barcelona vs Bayern (3:00)
Tottenham vs Sporting CP (3:00)
Frankfurt vs Marseille (3:00)

Matchday 6

Tuesday, 1 November
Porto vs Atletico (18:45)
Leverkusen vs Club Brugge (18:45)
Liverpool vs Napoli (21:00)
Rangers vs Ajax (21:00)
Bayern vs Inter (21:00)
Plzen vs Barcelona (21:00)
Sporting CP vs Frankfurt (21:00)
Marseille vs Tottenham (21:00)

Wednesday, 2 November
Real Madrid vs Celtic (12:45)
Shakhtar vs Leipzig (12:45)
Chelsea vs Dinamo Zagreb (3:00)
AC Milan vs Salzburg (3:00)
Man City vs Sevilla (3:00)
Copenhagen vs Dortmund (3:00)
Juventus vs Paris (3:00)
Maccabi Haifa vs Benfica (3:00)


Knockout stage dates

Round of 16 draw: 7 November
Round of 16: 14/15/21/22 February & 7/8/14/15 March 2023
Quarter-final and semi-final draw: 17 March 2023
Quarter-finals: 11/12 & 18/19 April 2023
Semi-finals: 9/10 & 16/17 May 2023
Final: 10 June 2023


Champions League group stage standings

Group A
Napoli — 6 points (+6 GD)
Ajax — 3 (-2)
Liverpool — 3 (+3)
Rangers — 0 (-7)

Group B
Club Brugge — 6 (+5)
Bayer Leverkusen — 3 (1)
Atletico Madrid — 3 (-1)
Porto — 0 (-5)

Group C
Bayern Munich — 6 (+4)
Barcelona — 3 (+2)
Inter Milan — 3 (0)
Viktoria Plzen — 0 (-6)

Group D
Sporting CP — 6 (+5)
Tottenham Hotspur — 3 (0)
Eintracht Frankfurt — 3 (-2)
Marseille — 0

Group E
AC Milan — 4 (+2)
Dinamo Zagreb — 3 (-1)
Red Bull Salzburg — 2 (0)
Chelsea — 1 (-1)

Group F
Real Madrid — 6 (+5)
Shakhtar Donetsk — 3 (+3)
Celtic — 1 (-3)
RB Leipzig — 0 (-5)

Group G
Manchester City — 6 (+5)
Borussia Dortmund — 3 (+2)
Copenhagen — 1 (-3)
Sevilla — 1 (-4)

Group H
Paris Saint-Germain — 6 (+3)
Benfica — 6 (+3)
Juventus — 0 (-2)
Maccabi Haifa — 0 (-4)


Premier League top scorers: Who is leading 2022 Golden Boot race?

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For those tempted to write off Erling Haaland’s historically-hot start to life as a Premier League striker, we get it: There’s something rather dull about not wondering the identity of the 2022 Golden Boot winner, but just the number of his final tally.

Haaland’s Premier League-leading 14 goals from eight games has him seven goals clear of the next closest challenger: Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

His third hat trick of the season, joined by three Phil Foden goals in Man City’s 6-3 derby win over United, keeps him on pace for more than 60 goals this season, a mark that would

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ] 

And even though Haaland is currently overperforming his expected goals total, it’s already becoming clear that projecting him for the Premier League record is not farfetched at all.

Take a look at these digits. Haaland isn’t just punching in goals; He’s made an almost seamless transition to Pep Guardiola’s system, producing chances for others in addition to his powerful self-positioning.

Erling Haaland
fotmob.com

Haaland is unlikely to hit even 50 goals given the schedule congestion to come for Man City, but the Premier League record is very well under assault

Mohamed Salah holds the 38-game season record with his 32 goals scored for Liverpool during the 2017-18 season, while Newcastle’s Andy Cole and Blackburn’s Alan Shearer bagged 34 during 42-game seasons in the 20th century’s final decade.

Haaland also could topple the record for goal involvements (goals plus assists) in a single season, including beating the 42-game record. Alan Shearer put up 47 over 42, while Thierry Henry holds the 38-game record with 44.

Other records that Haaland could legitimately tie or topple:

  • 30 goals in a first Premier League season (Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999-2000)
  • Goals in 24 different Premier League matches (Salah, Liverpool, 2017-18)
  • Most goals in a Premier League match (Five tied with five)
  • 11-straight Premier League games with a goal (Jamie Vardy, Leicester, 2014-15)

Read on to see the latest Premier League goal totals for the 2022-23 season, as Haaland looks to claim a Golden Boot in his first PL season.

Premier League 2022-23 Golden Boot race

  1. Erling Haaland, Man City — 14
  2. Harry Kane, Tottenham — 7
  3. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham — 6
  4. Phil Foden, Man City — 5
  5. Ivan Toney, Brentford — 5
  6. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool — 5
  7. Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal — 5
  8. Leandro Trossard — Brighton — 5
  9. Three tied with 3. (Alexis Mac Allister, Rodrigo, Wilfried Zaha)