Premier League Restart Recap

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It’s been over three months since the last English Premier League match was played but now the world’s biggest club competition is back for a frantic finish.

For Liverpool, it’s a matter of when, not if as they are on the verge of claiming their first Premier League title in 30 years, but the rest of the league still has plenty to play for.

The highly coveted places in next season’s Champions League are well and truly up for grabs as are the spots in the slightly less glamourous Europa League.

At the other end of the table, half a dozen clubs are still flirting with relegation and another four are well are a couple of bad results from being back in danger.

We’ve run through every Premier League club here and taken a look at what they have to play for over the next six weeks.

Liverpool

1st Place – 82 Points – GD +45

We know Liverpool is going to win the Premier League title, it’s just a case of when.

Sitting 25 points clear on top of the Premier League table, it has been a season to remember for the Merseyside Club.

It could be as early as this weekend if Arsenal manages to upset Manchester City on the opening day (stop laughing).

The other big question surrounding this side is whether or not they will match Manchester City’s centurions of two years ago, which at least gives them something to play for once the trophy is secured.

To do that, Jurgen Klopp’s men need six wins from their final nine matches, something that is very much in play given their record thus far.

Let the Reds enjoy this run to the title… and maybe mute a few of those louder Liverpool mates on Twitter.

Manchester City

2nd Place – 57 Points – GD +37

It just hasn’t clicked for City this season and while they are the only side that can catch Liverpool, you’d be foolish to think they will.

All that is left for them to play for here is ensuring they can hold on to second place for the time being, which may turn out to be all for nought with a Champions League ban hanging over their heads.

Leicester City

3rd Place – 53 Points – GD +30

Few sides may benefit more from the enforced hiatus of COVID-19 than Leicester, having recorded just two wins in their eight matches before that, ending their remote title chances.

With a mostly injury free squad, Leicester is more than capable of holding onto its top four spot and returning to the Champions League for the first time since the 2016/2017 season.

It may be worth keeping the powder dry on Leicester’s first couple of games though, until we see if the good or bad version of the club has come to play in the run home.

Chelsea

4th Place – 48 Points – GD +12

Even if you aren’t a Chelsea fan, you have to admit Frank Lampard has done a pretty good job with this side to have them in their current position.

Like every side not named Liverpool, Chelsea has battled inconsistency throughout this Premier League season and hit a major skid just before the halt.

Since New Year’s Day, the Blues have won just three matches, drawing four and losing two, but in an indictment of the sides chasing them, they have stayed steady in fourth place since late November.

While they are far from safe, a top four finish would actually be a phenomenal job by Lampard getting them back into the Champions League.

Manchester United

5th Place – 45 Points – GD +14

No side may benefit more from Manchester City’s looming Champions League ban than their cross town rivals.

Fifth place would be good enough for United to qualify for club football’s premiere competition should City be excluded from next season’s edition.

To do that though, they have to ensure they come out of the gates firing here, needing another 20 or so points to keep the literal Wolves at bay.

Wolves

6th Place – 43 Points – GD +7

We really should not be surprised by Wolves considering the number of top quality players in their squad.

They actually get a double bite at the Champions League cherry as well as they are still alive in the Europa League and could also qualify through there should they fall short in the Premier League.

With those competitions set to run one after another instead of simultaneously, it creates a great opportunity for Wolves to really go for it in the Premier League and have the Europa League as a backup plan.

Squad depth remains a big issue for them, especially with very frequent matches so staying as injury free as possible remains the priority for them.

Sheffield United

7th Place – 43 Points – GD +5

This is a huge surprise, through sheer determination, grit and some very well organised defence, the Blades are all but assured of their highest ever Premier League finish.

They have conceded a mere 25 goals from their 28 matches and should they win their game in hand against Aston Villa, they would actually leapfrog Manchester United into fifth place before they could kick a ball in anger.

Conversely, they have only scored 30 goals this season which does come as a by-product of having such a strong defensive focus but that plan has worked so far and it makes them one of the stories to watch over the next six weeks.

Tottenham

8th Place – 41 Points – GD +7

There’s something about North London this season where its Premier League teams have performed well below expectations.

Seemingly destined to miss out on Europe with several key players lost due to injury, Tottenham has been able to bring them back into the fold thanks to the three month layoff.

Jose Mourinho has only been in the job since November and will have spent his time away fuming over the two losses and a draw in their final three league matches plus their limp exit from the Champions League.

The return of Harry Kane makes Tottenham a lot more dangerous going forward and with rumours about a possible end of season transfer swirling, he will no doubt want to put his best foot forward here.

Arsenal

9th Place – 40 Points – GD +4

If nothing else, the race between Arsenal and Tottenham to finish ahead of one another will be fun to watch as both sides likely stumble to the finish line.

You could get excited about the fact Arsenal has a game in hand on Spurs, until you remember that comes against Manchester City.

This is in all fairness a lost season for Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta taking over just before Christmas and inheriting a squad that needs a drastic overhaul, something made even tougher by the current climate.

A Premier League high 13 draws is the perfect explanation as to why this team is out of the top four again and with fixtures still to come against City, Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool, plus an FA Cup Quarter Final, the Gunners may be in for a tough stretch here.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is just two goals behind Leicester’s Jamie Vardy in the golden boot race and could be on his way out of the Emirates at the end of the season, so don’t be surprised if he has a bit of extra motivation in this transfer audition.

Burnley

10th Place – 39 Points – GD -6

Burnley was on a seven match unbeaten run in the Premier League when things came to a stop, but that run was enough to bring them from 15th to 10th and have then all but safe from relegation for another season.

Perhaps more impressive about that run was that it featured wins over Leicester and Manchester United and also featured draws against Arsenal and Tottenham.

Scoring has been a problem for Burnley, having been held without a goal nine times this season but there is still a lot to enjoy about this side.

Crystal Palace

11th Place – 39 Points – GD -6

When Palace struggles, they REALLY struggle with a couple of poor runs of form consigning them to another season of mid-table mediocrity.

Working in their favour is the fact they have been able to counter those winless runs with some good patches of form that has kept them comfortably above the danger zone.

This season they have been able to take points off Manchester United, Arsenal twice and Manchester City so on their day they are more than capable of performing well, but it’s the inconsistency which gets you from a punting perspective.

Everton

12th Place – 37 Points – GD -9

When Marco Silva departed in December, he paid the price for Everton massively underachieving this season, at the time the side was in real danger of relegation.

Since Carlo Ancelotti took over though, he has worked his magic and turned this team into a much stronger outfit that has been as high as ninth place, and only lost to Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City since New Years.

Everton is a side that should be finishing in the top ten at the very least and assuming they can pick up where they left off there is no reason why they should not.

Newcastle

13th Place – 35 Points – GD -16

There are plenty of mea culpas going around when it comes to Newcastle, backed by many at the start of the season to be relegated, Steve Bruce and his side have done a good job to be out of the danger zone for the time being.

Even more impressive is the fact Newcastle is where it is despite scoring the equal fewest number of goals in the entire competition with just 25.

2020 has not been kind to them at all however with just two wins but they should have enough points in the bank to get by here.

Southampton

14th Place – 34 Points – GD -17

The Saints are probably the last side to feel somewhat secure in their Premier League survival, with an eight point buffer on the drop zone.

A second half of the season rally has brought them up from 18th and barring a major collapse they should just be able to keep their noses out of trouble.

Considering some of the dire performances we have seen from them this season, it’s a miracle they are even in a position to stay up but that’s how some clubs operate in the Premier League, just making sure they are not one of the three worst teams year in, year out.

Another win and a draw should get them over the line and with Norwich first up that should give them three vital points.

Brighton and Hove Albion

15th Place – 29 Points – GD -8

Brighton’s form depends on whether you are a glass half full or glass half empty person.

Just six wins is appalling by any stretch, however picking up points off several big sides including Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea has helped keep them afloat.

With no wins and five draws since New Years though, Brighton is in real danger of falling into the relegation zone unless they have sorted themselves out in the last three months.

Every Aussie would love to see Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy earn another season of Premier League football but the Seagulls need a hard reset over the final nine matches.

West Ham

16th Place – 27 Points – GD -15

For a brief period in September, we thought West Ham’s spending was going to pay off in a big way, up in fifth place and flying.

Just four wins since then has seen them fall all the way down to the bottom quarter of the table and just barely above safety.

Most Irons fans would just hope the club can do enough to survive the drop but it was looking very bleak back in March.

This side has enough talent in it to be mid-table at least and they will need every scrap of it to stay above the drop.

Watford

17th Place – 27 Points – GD -17

For 16 of the 29 matchweeks, Watford finished the weekend at the foot of the Premier League table and did not record their first win until early November.

But as they say in… other fields, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and this side is on the verge of pulling off a great escape a la West Ham in 2006/2007.

Not to mention they are (to date) the only side to defeat Liverpool in this Premier League season so something is clearly coming good at the right time.

Bournemouth

18th Place – 27 Points – GD -18

Another side that would like to forget 2020 existed, this calendar year has seen them fall into the relegation zone, picking up a meagre seven points in that time.

The Cherries have a very tough run home and in order to avoid the drop, they will have little to no margin for error against sides like Crystal Palace.

Aston Villa

19th Place – 25 Points – GD -22

One positive of Aston Villa at the moment, you know you’re guaranteed to get goals in their matches.

Having conceded a Premier League high 56 goals to this point, it’s no surprise they find themselves in the relegation zone but a bit of a shock they could end up as high as 15th when the weekend is over.

Villa will do their best to make the run home interesting but overs in their matches is probably the way to go.

Norwich

20th Place – 21 Points – GD -27

Remember last August when everyone was losing their minds over Teemu Puuki?

That was the highlight of Norwich’s season as it’s gone from bad to worse, needing a miracle to survive the drop here.

A rally is not out of the question but considering the last time they were outside the relegation zone was Matchweek Seven back on September 29, it’s not something you’d recommend backing in.

Chances are these are the last few matches Norwich will play in the Premier League for a while as they appear set to drop to the Championship next season.

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