Spurs, Man City & Man Utd Top Crowdless Premier League Table
Managers often say the league doesn't start to take shape until after the tenth game of the season.
The Premier League has reached that stage of the season and it is turning out to be one of the most competitive seasons in recent years.
Just four points separate the top seven sides and that does not include Manchester United and City who are five and six points behind joint leaders Tottenham and Liverpool respectively with a game in hand.
It's shaping up to be a thrilling campaign and the league is prepared to allow teams to open their turnstiles for the first time since March following the Government's latest Covid-19 guidelines.
The number of football fans permitted per ground depends on where the clubs are located and which tier their stadium is in.
None of the 20 Premier League clubs are based in the lowest tier which would allow for up to 4,000 supporters to attend games from Wednesday when the lockdown restrictions are eased.
Ten of the top flight clubs are based in tier 2 areas which will allow the six London clubs as well as Brighton, Southampton, Everton and Liverpool to choose which 2,000 fans will be allowed in to watch their upcoming games.
The remaining ten clubs will feel disadvantaged by the fact they are located in tier 3 areas which prevents them from opening their turnstiles for the foreseeable future.
Premier League Covid Tiers
|Tier 2||Tier 3|
Players may have gotten used to playing in front of empty stadiums and it might take a little bit of time for them to get used to having spectators in the stands. Having just 2,000 supporters in big stadiums like the Emirates, the London Stadium and Tottenham's new stadium may feel a little unusual at first.
The atmosphere generated by 2,000 fans shouldn't make much of a difference but it will be great to see fans back.
In the final round of fixtures with no fans permitted, Tottenham's 0-0 draw at Chelsea kept them top of the Premier League table and also kept them top of the table in games played behind closed doors.
Points Per Game Behind Closed Doors
Since lockdown, Jose Mourinho's side have taken an average of 2.05 points per game and they will be allowed 2,000 fans in their ground for Sunday's first north London derby of the season.
Will they be able to perform as well with a small number of their supporters in the stands?
Arsenal's 2-1 loss at home to Wolves means the Gunners are off to their worst start to a league campaign since 1981.
A derby win on enemy soil would be their second win in seven league games and could kick start their season.
The two Manchester clubs improved their points per game average last weekend with contrasting victories.
City cruised to their fourth successive 5-0 win over Burnley at the Etihad while United recorded their fourth come-from-behind win from their fourth away league game this season.
City and United, who will meet in the first Manchester derby on December 12 at Old Trafford – behind closed doors, both improved their points per game average to 2.05 and moved ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea.
Wolves' 2-1 win at the Emirates came at a cost with influential forward Raul Jimenez suffering a fractured skull, but their 1.74 points per game since lockdown is a healthy return as they prepare for their trip to Anfield this weekend which will be one of five fixtures to be played in front of a small number of fans.
Fixtures this weekend with up to 2,000 fans:
- Brighton v Southampton
- Chelsea v Leeds
- Liverpool v Wolves
- Tottenham v Arsenal
- West Ham v Man Utd
Leeds improved their points per game average in empty stadiums with their 1-0 win at Everton on Saturday but West Ham were the biggest movers over the weekend.
The Hammers' 2-1 win saw David Moyes' side jump from 11th to eighth in the 'behind closed doors' table as their average rose from 1.44 points per game to 1.53.
Leicester were one of the three teams West Ham moved above and the Foxes dropped two spots after suffering a shock 2-1 loss at home to Fulham who climbed above Sheffield United in the only significant change at the bottom of the table.
At the bottom of the table, the only significant change from last week’s table saw West Brom climb above Fulham into 19th place following the Baggies’ 1-0 win at home to Sheffield United, although that could change if Scott Parker's men can pull off a shock win at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester's King Power Stadium was the last ground to host a Premier League fixture prior to lockdown when 32,125 watched the Foxes beat Aston Villa 4-0 on March 9.
It will be months before we see crowds that big back at Premier League grounds, but to see spectators back this weekend will be a welcome step towards returning to normality.
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