Villa to Start ‘Project Restart’
It’s understood that the Premier League have agreed in principle to restart the 2019/20 season on 17 June with Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal, effectively the league’s two games in hand.
A full fixture list would then follow on the weekend of the 19-21 June, as the league’s remaining 92 games are played out.
Ironically, Villa also played in the last Premier League before the suspension of the league on 13th March due to the pandemic. Villa’s forthcoming behind closed doors fixture date with Sheffield United will be a full 100 days since that 4-0 loss to Leicester City.
With Villa currently sitting in a precarious position in the relegation zone, in which even their game in hand doesn’t help them escape relegation on a Points Per Game (PPG) basis, they will be desperately looking for three points against United.
A win would put them in a favourable PPG position going forward, in case the league is suspended again in light of a second wave of Covid-19 cases.
With the Premier League clubs looking at closing the league out on August 1st, any further delays potentially wouldn’t be feasible considering the 2020/21 season must end before the delayed Euros begin next year.
Villa must begin the league restart well and then metaphorically keep their heads above water, outside of the relegation zone, in case the league is eventually suspended for good.
So far, testing for Corvid-19 amongst players and staff has largely produced promising results with only 12 positive coronavirus reported from 2,752 tests across the league. Such results will offer some optimism that the threat can be managed and games can go ahead safely.