Top Posts

Premier League to restart on June 17

Leave a comment

The 2019-20 Premier League season will restart on June 17, the league confirmed Thursday.

‘Project Restart’ is all systems go in empty stadiums.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

The Premier League held in-depth meetings with all 20 clubs and, among other matters, June 17 emerged as the date games will return. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the Premier League season was suspended on March 13 with 92 games remaining.

[ MORE: Schedule | Reaction ]

As per the agreement, the two games in hand, Man City v. Arsenal and Aston Villa v. Sheffield United, will be played on June 17 so all teams are on 29 games played when then the rest of the games resume on June 19-21.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Below is the statement from Premier League chief executive Richard Masters on the return to action:

“Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday 17 June. But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority. Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches.

“The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home. We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019/20 season.”

New kick off times have also been revealed, with games each weekend spread out across four days and every single game in a separate broadcast window. Midweek games will also take place in two windows.


Weekend match schedule
Friday: 3 p.m. ET
Saturday: 7:30 a.m., ET, 10 a.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. ET, 3 p.m. ET
Sunday: 7 a.m. ET, 9 a.m. ET, 11:30 a.m. ET, 2 p.m. ET
Monday: 3 p.m. ET

Midweek match schedule
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 1 p.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET


It is believed that the clubs want the Premier League season to be finished by August 1, so clubs can then focus on the FA Cup and European action in the Europa League and Champions League, while the 2020-21 season can then resume in early September.

Other reports suggest that a sticking point remains neutral stadiums as police forces in the UK want certain high-profile games to be played at neutral stadiums over fears of fans congregating outside home stadiums. However, it is believed the majority of games could be played at home stadiums as normal.

The meeting also discussed the plan for possible curtailment if playing the remaining games of the 2019-20 season is not possible and much more.

All players and staff at Premier League clubs will be tested twice a week during the strict return to training protocols put in place, with contact training now allowed after a return to small-group training was a success.

The third round of COVID-19 testing saw a slight rise in positive tests compared to the last, as a total of 2,752 COVID-19 tests have now been carried out on Premier League players and staff with a total of 12 positive results.

All 20 Premier League clubs have agreed to return to contact training in stage two of the ‘Project Restart’ plan, as the main focus was to agree on a Premier League restart date that managers and players can now focus on.

Full steam ahead for ‘Project Restart’ for the Premier League.

Premier League standings, state of play

Leave a comment

Hey world, remember us? Of course, you do. We’re the 20 teams of the 2019-20 Premier League season, and we’re coming your way in mid-June.

[ MORE: Key issues ahead of Premier League restart ]

The 2019-20 Premier League season will restart on June 17, the league confirmed Thursday, as Liverpool kickstarts its inevitable first domestic title of the PL era.

And six teams without eight points of the bottom of the table are squirming in their seats again knowing their time in the top flight may be limited to about a month.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Reds’ lead is absolutely stunning, even if you haven’t forgotten it: Twenty-five points over Man City, with the reigning champions and current second-place side boasting a match-in-hand.

We have a date for that tilt with Arsenal now: June 17. Say City beats Arsenal to hit 60 points before Liverpool retakes the field. The Reds will clinch the PL title with two more wins or City non-wins.

Three of the top four should stay there unless Leicester City’s form dips considerably, but the race for fourth and fifth should be fierce. We may know whether fifth is a Champions League place after scheduled June 8-10 meetings to hear Man City’s appeal over its European ban.

With between nine and 10 matches left for everyone and eighth potentially being a Europa League spot, all the teams between fourth and 11th still have European hopes in the balance. That would change should Norwich City or Newcastle win the FA Cup, so call it 13 clubs.

The bottom of the table is just as wild, and will be even more congested if Aston Villa can come out of the gates with vigor and topple Sheffield United on June 17.

The action is going to come fast and often, with the league putting together a staggered schedule of kickoff times that will make matches even more of an all-weekend affair.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Liverpool 29 27 1 1 66 21 45 15-0-0 12-1-1 82
 Manchester City 28 18 3 7 68 31 37 9-2-2 9-1-5 57
 Leicester City 29 16 5 8 58 28 30 9-3-3 7-2-5 53
 Chelsea 29 14 6 9 51 39 12 7-3-5 7-3-4 48
 Manchester United 29 12 9 8 44 30 14 8-5-2 4-4-6 45
 Wolves 29 10 13 6 41 34 7 5-7-3 5-6-3 43
 Sheffield United 28 11 10 7 30 25 5 7-3-5 4-7-2 43
 Tottenham Hotspur 29 11 8 10 47 40 7 8-2-4 3-6-6 41
 Arsenal 28 9 13 6 40 36 4 7-5-3 2-8-3 40
 Burnley 29 11 6 12 34 40 -6 7-2-6 4-4-6 39
 Crystal Palace 29 10 9 10 26 32 -6 6-4-5 4-5-5 39
 Everton 29 10 7 12 37 46 -9 7-4-3 3-3-9 37
 Newcastle United 29 9 8 12 25 41 -16 5-6-3 4-2-9 35
 Southampton 29 10 4 15 35 52 -17 4-2-9 6-2-6 34
 Brighton & Hove Albion 29 6 11 12 32 40 -8 4-6-4 2-5-8 29
 West Ham United 29 7 6 16 35 50 -15 4-3-7 3-3-9 27
 Watford 29 6 9 14 27 44 -17 4-5-5 2-4-9 27

 Bournemouth 29 7 6 16 29 47 -18 4-5-5 3-1-11 27
 Aston Villa 28 7 4 17 34 56 -22 5-2-6 2-2-11 25
 Norwich City 29 5 6 18 25 52 -27 4-3-7 1-3-11 21

Key issues ahead of Premier League restart

Leave a comment

The 2019-20 Premier League season will restart on June 17, the league confirmed Thursday, but there are still plenty of issues to sort out ahead of the resumption.

‘Project Restart’ still has a little way to go, but we now have a date.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

The Premier League held in-depth meetings with all 20 clubs and, among other matters, June 17 emerged as the date games will return. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the Premier League season was suspended on March 13 with 92 games remaining.

[ MORE: Schedule | Reaction

As per the agreement, the two games in hand, Man City v. Arsenal and Aston Villa v. Sheffield United, will be played on June 17 so all teams are on 29 games played when then the rest of the games resume on June 19-21.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters confirmed the restart date of June 17, as long as everything goes as planned with a return to contact training and COVID-19 tests among Premier League staff and players.

There is still plenty to sort out though, so here’s a look at the key questions and issues which remain between now and the Premier League restart on June 17.


Will teams play games at home stadiums?

Some reports state that Liverpool will play home games at a neutral venue due to concerns from police about fans congregating outside Anfield considering their impending title victory. Other high-profile games such as Tottenham against Arsenal may not be played at home stadiums either as reports state that neutral stadiums such as Wembley may be used to host some of the higher profile matches. Simply put, the only thing we know about stadiums is that they will be empty for all of the remaining 92 games of the season.


What happens if there is a second wave of COVID-19 in the UK or within Premier League clubs?

The key part of Richard Masters’ statement was the first few sentences: “Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday 17 June. But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.” The Premier League have to first and foremost make sure there is no rise in the number of COVID-19 positive tests among its players and staff.

Staff and players are all tested twice per week and 60 tests will be available to each club. So far, out of 2,752 tests from three batches, there have been 12 positive COVID-19 tests. If those numbers stay that way, or fall, the Premier League will be in good shape to return, as planned, on June 17. If they rise, the date will have to be pushed back. There can be no room for complacency from clubs and players over safety protocols during the next three weeks and beyond. That said, the situation in the UK has been the worst in Europe in terms of the death toll and if a second spike arrives in England, the plan for the Premier League restart would be put in jeopardy.


If the season is delayed further and the games cannot be finished, then what?

It has been reported, but not confirmed, that clubs agreed that an unweighted points-per-game model will be used to decide the final table if the season is curtailed. That means that the average number of points teams have won during their games played so far will be calculated in accordance with their remaining games to play. The Premier League have admitted they will have to come to a curtailment plan just in case the situation worsens in the UK or within their clubs.


When is the 2019-20 Premier League season scheduled to finish?

As of right now reports state that the Premier League aims to finish the season on July 25. That means six weekends and three midweek windows of action. That would then allow the FA Cup to resume in early August and clubs in European competitions could finish their UEFA Champions League and Europa League campaigns in August too, before the 2020-21 season begins.


Using five substitutes per game?

This is something the Premier League can do as the IFAB rules allow it and have been modified during the pandemic. Clubs will be able to use five substitutes per game, up from three, but subs can only be used in specified windows such as half time so the flow of the game isn’t disrupted. This has worked well in the Bundesliga and it is expected it will also work well in the Premier League, especially with so many games being played in a six-week period.


What about players out of contract?

This is something the Premier League clubs have already agreed on. With most player contracts running until June 30, we now know that the 2019-20 season will run beyond that date. Up until June 23, clubs and players can agree to extend the contracts until the end of the 2019-20 season as a short-term measure. However, players and club do not have to do this so some players may be out of contract and free to move on from July 1.

Bundesliga wrap: Fortuna sinks Schalke, Hoffenheim flies

Bundesliga
Photo by MARTIN MEISSNER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Goals and tired legs were everywhere in the midweek matches of the Bundesliga’s restart.

[ MORE: Latest Bundesliga news | Current table ]

First, the 10 men of RB Leipzig saw their title hopes drift away in a 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin.

Then came the 2:30 p.m. ET kickoffs, which saw a wonderful goal from an American at Schalke and an even better assist from Hoffenheim’s Christoph Baumgartner.

Read on, as the relegation and seventh-place pictures swung a little on Wednesday.

Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-1 Schalke

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie’s diving header of a 54th-minute free kick gave goal starved Schalke a lift, but Fortuna Dusseldorf knocked it back to earth in painful fashion.

Rouwen Hennings and Kenan Karaman scored six second-half minutes apart as Fortuna picked up a huge three points for its bid to stay in the top flight. Fortuna moves a point back of safety and five points clear of 17th place Werder Bremen.

Schalke is now winless in 10 and sits ninth, dropping five points back of sixth-place Wolfsburg and two behind Hoffenheim. Seventh place may be enough for a Europa League spot.

The 21-year-old McKennie’s second goal of the season came in his 70th career Bundesliga match. It was just Schalke’s third goal since Jan. 17, and only two have come in the last seven (both from McKennie).

[ WATCH: McKennie’s diving header goal ]

The hosts dominated the early stages of the match but Schalke had the first real danger when Daniel Caligiuri used a slick flick and hard shot to force a fine save out of Florian Kastenmeier.

Fortuna had 76 percent of the ball at halftime and a 5-2 advantage in shots, but Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny could’ve easily had it 1-0 to Schalke after the break had he got his foot around a Guido Burgstaller feed.

Kevin Stoger’s smashed free kick was only palmed into the air by Schalke keeper Markus Schubert in the 63rd minute and Hennings nodded the equalizer over the line from close range.

Hoffenheim 3-1 Koln

The red mist went both ways as 10-man Hoffenheim rebounded from a slow restart to Bundesliga life and collected a 2-0 home win over 10-man Koln.

Christoph Baumgartner’s two goals and an assist joined a 26th-minute red card for the visitors to build a 3-0 advantage, but Hoffenheim’s Benjamin Hubner picked up a second yellow in the 50th minute to put both sides down a man.

Jacob Bruun Larsen and Robert Skov played providers for Baumgartner and Steven Zuber also scored as Hoffenheim climbed into seventh with 39 points. Seventh could still be a Europa League spot depending on the winner of the German Cup.

Koln’s Florian Kainz scored at the hour mark but Mark Uth saw a late penalty saved by Oliver Baumann. Koln fails in a bid to join the top half and leaves Wednesday in 11th with 34 points.

Just look at Baumgartner’s pass on the third goal. He was absolutely feeling it.

Union Berlin 1-1 Mainz

A bonafide relegation six-pointer, Union and Mainz traded goals in the first 33 minutes before a second Robert Andrich yellow card put the hosts in danger of slipping closer to the relegation places.

Union remained strong at the back, with 15 tackles, 11 interceptions, and 15 clearances to collect a point and, more importantly, keep Mainz three points in the rear view mirror.

Union sits 13th with 31 points, while Mainz’s 28 is just one more than 16th-place Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Augsburg 0-0 Paderborn

Last-place Paderborn needs wins but collected its third-straight draw of the restart and remain dead last with 19 points.

The visitors will feel they were the better win on the day, out-shooting Augsburg 15-11 but missing two big chances.

Augsburg is now just four points clear of the bottom three with 31 points.

Leipzig stumbles, draws 10-man Hertha

Leipzig v. Hertha Berlin recap and video highlights
(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Krzysztof Piątek scored a late equalizer as Hertha Berlin buried 10-man RB Leipzig’s title hopes with a 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena in Germany on Wednesday.

Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic had given Hertha an early lead before Lukas Klostermann leveled the score in the first half.

It was a game for the loanees, as Roma’s Patrik Schick gave Leipzig a 2-1 lead before the Milan loanee leveled it late.

Marcel Halstenberg was sent off for a second yellow card with the score tied in the 63rd minute, as third-place Leipzig finishes the day nine points back of Bayern. Hertha rises 10th with 35 points.

[ MORE: Latest Bundesliga news | Current table ]

Hertha had won its first two matches back 3-0 over Hoffenheim and 4-0 over Union in the Berlin derby, and began the toughest test of the return on a good note.

Grujic scored his fourth of the season and ninth in two years with Hertha when he knifed a Marvin Plattenhardt corner kick into the goal.

The ninth-minute lead was canceled out 15 minutes later on another corner kick, as Lukas Klostermann nodded Christopher Nkunku’s service across goal and in for 1-1.

A non-descript second half was jumpstarted by a silly lunge by Halstenberg that cost the left back his afternoon for a second yellow card.

Hertha would a little under a half-hour to find a winner with 10 men, but took less than five to concede to the hosts.

Schick’s low shot from high in the 18 bounded off Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein’s arm and chest before another flailing paw ushered the ball inside his own post.

It was the eighth goal of the season for the Roma loanee.

Ex-Everton man Ademola Lookman chopped down ex-Leipzig man Matheus Cunha in the box for ann 82nd minute penalty, giving Piatek the chance to restore the deadlock.

Americans Abroad: Tyler Adams started and went the distance at right back, putting up some impressive numbers. The 21-year-old USMNT man was credited with four tackles and a clearance, winning five-of-five ground duels but 0-for-4 aerial battles while passing at 94 percent.