Arsenal will face Manchester City on the Premier League’s new restart date of June 17th, according to the latest reports.
Aston Villa will also host Sheffield United on the same day, before the fixtures get back underway in earnest that weekend – Friday 19th to Sunday 21st.
The plan is to complete the season by the weekend of August 1st-2nd. That would allow the FA Cup final to take place the following Saturday.
Hence playing the games-in-hand before the rest get underway, rather than afterwards or squeezed in between. Arsenal will need space in the already-congested calendar to play their FA Cup fixture(s).
Plus, it will leave all teams on the same number of games played. Then, if the season has to end early, it’s much easier to take the league standings as final.
Elsewhere, The Athletic suggest some Premier League teams are planning ‘pre-season’ friendlies for the new kick-off date. That would certainly be a smart idea, as long as they can play them without significantly increasing the risk of coronavirus infection.