England are slowly making moves to get their number one sport back up and running with clubs back in training. There might only be nine games left but there is still plenty to keep a watchful eye on. Here we look at five things that will likely pique your interest in the coming weeks.
LIVERPOOL’S LONG-AWAITED TITLE
Despite being widely regarded as one of England’s best clubs the Reds are yet to lift a league title since the Premier League was formed in 1992. They’ve had some agonising near misses over the years. There was Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip in 2014 and last year they fell short despite an incredible point haul of 97.
This year though has seen Liverpool race away from Manchester City in one of the most lopsided rivalries the league has ever seen. 2020 is their time. Prior to the forced break Jurgen Klopp’s men had opened a 25-point gap over the nearest challengers meaning just two wins will clinch a historic triumph for Liverpool.
DAVID SILVA’S FAREWELL
He’s without question one of the finest midfield players to have graced the Premier League. 11 medals to his name with Man City is some legacy and he’ll forever be a legend at the club for his role in making them successful. The goodbye he gets is likely to be rather subdued given the fact no fans will be present meaning attention can quickly turn to his next destination.
A return to his native Spain has been muted, as has the prospect of him following in the footsteps of his compatriots, Andres Iniesta and Sergi Samper, by joining Vissel Kobe of the J league.
The other possibility is that he heads to the MLS table to be the face of David Beckham’s new franchise Inter Miami. Either way, someone is getting a sprinkling of star quality.
A NEW LOOK NEWCASTLE?
It’s fair to say that Newcastle fans were not happy when Steve Bruce was appointed as Rafa Benitez’s replacement in the hot seat last summer. The ex-Sunderland boss has, however, done a reasonable job. The Magpies have reached the quarterfinals of the FA cup and, barring a disaster, they’ll be well clear of relegation come the final games of the season. Now though, a takeover is edging ever nearer, which would delight the fans who are united in their hatred for current owner Mike Ashley.
The prospective owners, PCP Capital Partners, are worth a staggering £320bn, and that has immediately triggered conversations of a Benitez return and a host of big-name players being linked. If the takeover gets the green light from the Premier League, then Newcastle will be transformed, and Bruce will quite possibly be sacked.
Not all teams in the Premier League’s bottom half are as fortunate as Newcastle; particularly where the bottom six are concerned. Three of them will be relegated if the season reaches its conclusion. Norwich City are looking doomed with a six-point gap – and inferior goal difference – to close but five other sides are well and truly in a fight to survive.
Brighton, who have a two-point advantage, and Aston Villa, who have a game in hand, might be looked on favourably to make it out of danger. That leaves Bournemouth, West Ham and Watford to think about. Who will fall through the trap door? A lot will depend on how the teams return after an extended break but it’s sure to be a rollercoaster. It is surely be an entertaining horse race and attracting as much betting interest as the Kentucky Derby contenders. Who are you backing to stay up?
JOSE MOURINHO’S TOTTENHAM
When the self-proclaimed Special One arrived at the newly built Tottenham Hotspur stadium the club saw a quick turnaround in their displays as Spurs closed in on a top four finish. The feel-good factor had begun to evaporate as injuries took their toll on the squad giving Mourinho a readymade ‘excuse’ for defensive tactics.
The Covid-19 break arguably came at a good time for Spurs with Harry Kane and Son Heung Min now likely to be fit for the restart. If that proves the case, will Mourinho go for an attacking approach and clinch a top four finish? The Portuguese will be box office regardless. That’s almost guaranteed.
There you have it, five reasons the Premier League is well worth a watch when it finally returns. What else are you eagerly waiting for?