Premier League Return: Which Teams Have A Favourable Run-In?
After two months of negotiations, the Premier League has finally been given the go-ahead to resume its 2019/20 season to the delight of Liverpool supporters everywhere.
The league, like all major leagues, was put on hold as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world. Now that phase one of the disease is over, authorities have given permission for the Premier League to resume.
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In order to contain the virus, players will be tested regularly as matches will be played behind closed doors like they have been in Germany’s Bundesliga, who resumed their football season on May 16.
Liverpool were on course to claim their 18th league title before the season was put on hold. Needing just two wins to be crowned champions, Jurgen Klopp's players have been made to wait a little longer for their first league title in 30 years.
The question everyone wants to know the answer to is whether they will be able to pick up from where they left off when the campaign, which was halted following Leiceste's 4-0 win over Aston Villa on March 9.
Had the season continued without the break, the Premier League trophy would likely be on display at Anfield by now. The Reds are expected to wrap up the title upon the resumption of the season, which sees them travel to neighbours Everton in their first game back on June 21 before hosting Crystal Palace three days later.
If Liverpool's nearest rivals Manchester City lose at home to Arsenal on their return to action, then the Reds could be crowned champions at Goodison Park, the ficture having been given the green light to be played at the Toffees' home ground.
The title race may be all but over, but there is still plenty to play for at both ends of the table.
So, which team has the more favourable run-in between now and the end of the season?
We have analysed each club's remaining fixtures and produced a table based on the average league position of the opponents they have to face.
Most Favourable Run-Ins
|Rank||Team||Average Pos. of Remaining Opponents|
The good news for Manchester United is that they have the 'easiest' run-in which could help them climb above Chelsea into fourth place and secure a place in next season's Champions League, which they're 7/4 to achieve.
United do not have to play leaders Liverpool or second-placed Manchester City before the season comes to a close. Five of United's remaining nine fixtures are against sides 14th or lower which manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will target for maximum points.
Their first match upon the league resumption is a trip to Tottenham on June 19 before welcoming Sheffield United to Old Trafford on June 24.
Frank Lampard's Chelsea - who bookies make 8/13 for a top-four finish - still have to face both the top two sides in their remaining fixtures as they aim to qualify for Europe's elite competition for the second season running. Their return to action will begin at Aston Villa on June 21 before Manchester City travel to Stamford Bridge the following Thursday.
Wolves and Sheffield United return from the break with hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League still within their grasp, but at odds of 8/1 and 16/1 respectively.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo will be confident of overturning the five-point gap between them and Chelsea, knowing his team don't have to face any of the sides currently in the top three.
A trip to West Ham is Wolves' first game back before facing Bournemouth at Molineux the following Wednesday.
Wolves and Sheffield Utd find themselves in the hunt for a top-four finish (© PA Images)
Meanwhile, Chris Wilder's Blades have been the surprise package of the season so far following their promotion last May. Qualifying for the Champions League may not have been discussed before the season got under way, but it is certainly a possibility and the break may have refreshed his squad for the final 10 games they have to play.
United may not have the top two on their remaining list of games, but they do have the other five sides in the top eight to face. Their trip to Villa Park on June 17 will be the first Premier League game played since the league was suspended after Villa were heavily beaten at Leicester. Dean Smith will hope his side can start better than they played before the suspension.
Foot Of The Table
At the bottom of the table, all the teams currently finding themselves in a relegation battle will be looking to secure every point available. Relegation favourites (1/9) Norwich, sitting bottom – six points from safety – have their work cut out to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
Daniel Farke's men have a more favourable run-in compared to the three sides directly above them. Back-to-back home games against Southampton and Everton give the Canaries a chance to return with a win before hosting Everton.
Bournemouth and Aston Villa resume the season in the bottom three and the bad news for both sides is that their remaining fixtures are the toughest of any team in the league. Eddie Howe's side have the most difficult run-in with their nine opponents all placed 14th or higher in the standings.
The Cherries return to action at the Vitality Stadium with the visit of Crystal Palace before travelling to Wolves four days later. Villa are the only side in the bottom five who still have to face champions-elect Liverpool and they have five other sides currently in the top half of the table left to play.
They too return with successive home games against Sheffield United on June 17 before Chelsea travel to the 'Second City' the following Sunday.
Brighton won't be taking their place in next season's Premier League for granted especially with the fixtures they have to play. They, along with Arsenal, are the only teams who still have to play the top three sides.
The points they pick up in their other six games could determine what league the Seagulls will be playing in next season. They resume their campaign with a home game against Arsenal before a trip to Leicester follows on June 23.
Remaining fixtures (Home fixtures in bold):
LIVERPOOL: Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Everton, Newcastle, Brighton, Aston Villa
MAN CITY: Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Burnley, Newcastle, Southampton, Brighton, Watford, Bournemouth, Norwich
LEICESTER: Man Utd, Sheffield Utd, Tottenham, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Everton, Brighton, Watford, Bournemouth
CHELSEA: Liverpool, Man City, Wolves, Sheffield Utd, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Watford, Aston Villa, Norwich
MAN UTD: Leicester, Sheffield Utd, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Brighton, West Ham, Bournemouth, Aston Villa
WOLVES: Chelsea, Sheffield Utd, Arsenal, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Everton, West Ham, Bournemouth, Aston Villa
SHEFFIELD UTD: Leicester, Chelsea, Man Utd, Wolves, Tottenham, Burnley, Everton, Newcastle, Southampton, Aston Villa
TOTTENHAM: Leicester, Man Utd, Sheffield Utd, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Everton, Newcastle, West Ham, Bournemouth
ARSENAL: Liverpool, Man City, Leicester, Wolves, Tottenham, Southampton, Brighton, Watford, Aston Villa, Norwich
BURNLEY: Liverpool, Man City, Wolves, Sheffield Utd, Crystal Palace, Brighton, West Ham, Watford, Norwich
CRYSTAL PALACE: Liverpool, Leicester, Chelsea, Man Utd, Wolves, Tottenham, Burnley, Bournemouth, Aston Villa
EVERTON: Liverpool, Leicester, Wolves, Sheffield Utd, Tottenham, Southampton, Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Norwich
NEWCASTLE: Liverpool, Man City, Sheffield Utd, Tottenham, Brighton, West Ham, Watford, Bournemouth, Aston Villa
SOUTHAMPTON: Man City, Man Utd, Sheffield Utd, Arsenal, Everton, Brighton, Watford, Bournemouth, Norwich
BRIGHTON: Liverpool, Man City, Leicester, Man Utd, Arsenal, Burnley, Newcastle, Southampton, Norwich
WEST HAM: Chelsea, Man Utd, Wolves, Tottenham, Burnley, Newcastle, Watford, Aston Villa, Norwich
WATFORD: Man City, Leicester, Chelsea, Arsenal, Burnley, Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham, Norwich
BOURNEMOUTH: Man City, Leicester, Man Utd, Wolves, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Everton, Newcastle, Southampton
ASTON VILLA: Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd, Wolves, Sheffield Utd, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Everton, Newcastle, West Ham
NORWICH: Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Burnley, Everton, Southampton, Brighton, West Ham, Watford
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