The 2019-20 Premier League season could restart in June after clubs and league officials agreed stage one of Project Restart on Monday – small group training sessions.
Football has been suspended in Europe (bar Belarus) since mid-March due to the worldwide spread of the coronavirus meaning Arsenal players and our 19 Premier League rivals, have not been in team training for over two months.
Germany have set the bar for a return to professional football as the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga returned over the weekend after teams had been back in training for a month. The quality of football wasn’t at its peak whilst the setting was unique as no fans were allowed inside the stadiums.
This would certainly be the case for the Premier League should it return this summer, and likely continue into the 2020-21 campaign until a vaccine has been both created and available up and down the country.
With the country on lockdown and pubs shut, should the Premier League return next month, fans will likely be tuning into live football streams to watch the Gunners’ final 10 games of the 2019-20 campaign.
Prior to the disruption two months ago we were down in ninth and eight points outside the Champions League places, although unbeaten in the new year as things were starting to take shape under Mikel Arteta.
However, our remaining fixtures aren’t very favourable – trips to Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, and welcoming Leicester City and Liverpool to the Emirates.
The Premier League had previously identified 12 June as a possible restart date but is far from being set in stone. Officials will continue talks in the next week or two after full contact training has taken place.
On Tuesday, the Premier League published a statement stating that 748 players and staff across 19 clubs had been tested, with six coming back positive across three clubs. Those half a dozen people will now be placed in self isolation for seven days.
One would expect that the 2019-20 Premier League season will be restarted and completed over the summer given the efforts that the league has already made, and perhaps more importantly to them, the money that is at stake.
What we can expect from our players in the remaining fixtures, particularly the first handful of games back, is unknown. Even the efficient Germans looked far short of their best in their first game back – Bayern Munich scored both goals with their only two shots on target versus Union Berlin, the first being a penalty.
Mikel Arteta showed in less than three months in charge prior to the league’s suspension that he had a good mind for the game, setting us up well tactically, but lacking the players to pull off all the results we were looking for.
This does at least give us hope that we’ll be well prepared for the restart, whilst we also have games against Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford – two clubs that are opposed to the restart.
Who knows, maybe that could play into our hands and hopes of Champions League qualification?