Premier League soccer is back!
I’ll pause here for the shouting and living room dancing to subside…..
Excellent! Now then, we have to get right into it because, like all sports around the world we weren’t sure if this Premier League season would resume, and how and when. All of those questions have been answered. Games will resume Wednesday, June 17th, kicking off with Aston Villa v Sheffield United. Aston Villa also played in the last Premier League game of this season all the way back on March 9th against Leicester City.
Villa and Sheffield are the first of a doubleheader Wednesday, and it’s the second match that will really drive home that Premier soccer is back when Manchester City takes on Arsenal. It may be to date the biggest sporting event played since the coronavirus swept into our lives and brought most facets of everyday life to a standstill. And not only is it a major major game from a team vs team standpoint, but it also has major implications on Liverpool. The Reds are looking for their first Premier League championship and first English championship in 30 years.
Manchester City v Arsenal
The 29th league match was originally scheduled for play on March 11th. I could go on about how Arsenal had won its previous three Premier League matches and how they had momentum heading into this contest. I could also point out how City lost their most recent match to Manchester United or how Arsenal have not won in their last 6 trips to Etihad Stadium. But to quote Bad Boys II “I could say it, but… it’d be a bunch of bullshit today.”
The truth is, from a momentum and conditioning standpoint, this is basically like a new season. Three months off will derail any momentum anyone might have had. Players are fresh off mini training camps and as we have seen in the Bundesliga, home field advantage, at least in the interim, seems to be a thing of the past.
Health wise Arsenal looks to be getting a boost in the form of the returning Lucas Torreira. The Uruguayan midfielder was set to miss the rest of the season with a serious ankle injury back in March. As it turns out he may have only missed one game if he is able to step on the field Wednesday. But Man City is Man City and will still be one of the best teams to step on a Premier League field – even after only 3 weeks of preparation for the season’s restart.
Liverpool restarts EPL Championship Campaign
Currently, Liverpool need only 2 wins in their last nine games to clinch their first ever Premier League title. However, those 2 wins fall to 1 win if Arsenal is able to defeat Man City on Wednesday. Perhaps a tall order since, as stated previously, Man City is Man City. But, if Arsenal is able to pull out a victory Wednesday, Liverpool would only need a win at Everton on Sunday to clinch the league championship.
If Arsenal decide against helping the Reds, a victory back home at Anfield Wednesday should do it. I will admit not seeing Liverpool celebrate before a raucous would be a disappointment, but just a chance at clinching on the hallowed grounds of Anfield would be a fine consolation prize. I guess they’ll just have to win the league again next year to give the fans a true Anfield celebration.
Here is the full EPL schedule for this week
Wednesday, June 17
Aston Villa v Sheffield United 1:00 PM
Manchester City v Arsenal 3:15PM
Friday, June 19
Norwich City v Southampton 1:00 PM
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United 3:15 PM
Saturday, June 20
Watford v Leicester City 7:30 AM
Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal 10:00 AM
West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers 12:30PM
AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace 2:45PM
Sunday, June 21
Newcastle United v Sheffield United 9:00 AM
Aston Villa v Chelsea 11:15 AM
Everton v Liverpool 2:00 PM