Liverpool could seal elusive crown against Everton in first match back from virus break. It will be their first English top-flight title in 30 years.
The Premier League has released its revised fixture list for the first three weeks of the restarted season, including a rare blockbuster Friday game featuring Tottenham taking on Manchester United on June 19.
The competition has been on hold since March 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Project Restart is entering its final stretch and the quarter-finals of the FA Cup were also confirmed for June 27-28.
Four clubs have games in hand so those fixtures – Manchester City against Arsenal and Sheffield United against Aston Villa – will be held first on June 17 to bring all 20 teams onto 29 league games played, with nine remaining.
All matches are to be held behind closed doors in line with the enhanced government health and safety measures drawn up to minimise the risk of contracting the Covid-19 disease.
The Reds, 25 points clear of City at the top, are two victories away from winning the Premier League, but can secure the title if City lose to the Gunners and they go on to beat the Toffees.
The league’s chief executive Richard Masters said: “We are pleased to provide fans with further updates on the provisional restart of the Premier League season.
“We know it won’t be the same without our loyal supporters in stadiums but… I am delighted we are able to take another positive step towards the season returning in just under two weeks.”
There will be another shareholders meeting next week when clubs are expected to either agree on the neutral venues idea for selected games, including any Liverpool title-decider, or stick to the normal home and away format.
The BBC, however, said that the Red Devils’ June 24 game against Sheffield United would be held at Old Trafford.
The plan to switch things up was put forth by local police because of fears fans may still gather outside of stadiums for certain big games, which would be in breach of safe distancing guidelines.
As for the other major issue on how the season is to be settled if it is halted again owing to the pandemic, it was reported clubs have agreed to put the matter on hold.
Three models have been tentatively explored – taking the table as it stands, using a points-per-game average or a weighted points-per-game format.
But discussions will only resume in the event that the league is unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
However, the points-per-game formula was used to determine the winner of the English Women’s Super League yesterday.
Chelsea, who were second behind Manchester City but had a game in hand when the competition was put on ice in March, were named the winners, while Liverpool were relegated.
OTHER SELECTED FIXTURES
- June 20 Leicester v Watford, Brighton v Arsenal
- June 21 Aston Villa v Chelsea
- June 22 Man City v Burnley
- June 23 Leicester v Brighton, Tottenham v West Ham
- June 24 Liverpool v Crystal Palace
- June 25 Chelsea v Man United, Southampton v Arsenal
- June 30 Brighton v Man United
- July 1 Arsenal v Norwich, West Ham v Chelsea, Everton v Leicester
- July 2 Sheffield United v Spurs, Man City v Liverpool