The Premier League is inching ever closer to a restart in June following a second round of testing which has revealed only two positive cases of coronavirus. The UK government has also given the green light for close contact training.
League bosses, clubs and players have been watching the progress in Germany, where the Bundesliga has just completed its second week following resumption. And with no problems reported, the other big European Leagues are getting ready to follow suit.
As and when the English league restarts there is plenty to play for. While Liverpool are agonisingly close to winning their first league title in 30 years, the race for fourth place between Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolves could be a nail-biter. The Premier League 2020 betting odds back the Blues but the momentum is with the chasers.
The Red Devils, in particular, will be itching to restart and the government’s announcement that close contact competitive training can be phased in is positive news.
With a total of eight confirmed cases from 1,744 tests in the Premier League, confidence is returning. This is a big week for the league, with club captains and coaches set to discuss the government’s advice tomorrow, before voting on Wednesday and meeting again the following day to progress plans.
A start in June looks likely, but it might be later than the initial proposed date of 12th June as medics are concerned about the risk of injury to players if they return too early. What impact the break will have only time will tell, but form guides may not be as reliable as in normal times.
Burnley head coach, Sean Dyche says we might see some surprising results over the opening weeks: “You often notice at the beginning of a season and the end of a season you get these odd results where teams are either finding their feet or playing out the season when other teams are fighting for something.
“Some teams are talking about the mentality of their players with the idea that some players do not want to play. I think that will probably dissipate eventually but you get to that first game and how focused is everyone going to be?”
You can safely predict that Burnley’s focus will be a laser-sharp as ever…
Call for research for BAME players
The players’ union, the PFA, has asked the UK government to put more resource into research to improve our understanding of the potentially heightened risk of COVID19 to Black and Asian players.
Some BAME players have raised concerns that they are more at risk from the virus, with a recent study in the UK suggesting that black people were almost twice as likely to die from the disease as white.
Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Watford’s Troy Deeney made the Premier League 2020 news last week as two players who didn’t return to training, and some clubs have expressed fears that the level playing field will disappear as some will have more players sidelined than others.
The Hornets really need their captain on the pitch to give them the best chance of survival in what is sure to be a fierce relegation scrap. When the bottom six renew hostilities, the SBOBET odds will predict a narrow escape for Watford, but it is far too close for comfort.
Leeds are looking up
In the second tier of English football, Championship league leaders Leeds United are desperate for the season to restart, they don’t want their Premier dream to turn into a nightmare of the season being voided.
The Yorkshire club, alongside West Bromwich Albion, are well clear at the top of the Championship table and heavily odds-on for promotion.
Once giants of the English game, Leeds have been playing in the lower leagues since 2004 and their passionate fans will despair if they cannot renew acquaintances with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United.
Angus Kinnear, chief executive at Leeds, said: “England has some of the finest sports scientists and football administrators in the game. It would be a national embarrassment if the Bundesliga, La Liga or Serie A were able to complete safely and the first and fifth biggest leagues in the world were not allowed to follow suit if the context remained comparable.”
Of course, there are agendas at play in both the top two leagues. Who wouldn’t want the season voided if it meant your club would escape the spectre of relegation? But for Leeds United, and indeed Liverpool, the show simply must go on.
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS
Stay updated with everything sports and betting.