Premier League clubs have agreed to restart the season in just three weeks’ time in what is a huge breakthrough for their Project Restart plans.
The Premier League have desperately been trying to finalise plans to get the season back underway again following its suspension at the beginning of March amid the coronavirus crisis.
June 20 has been lined up as the first round of fixtures following the Premier League’s resumption although Manchester City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United are set to go ahead on Wednesday June 17.
Manchester City vs Arsenal
Aston Villa vs Sheffield United
Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace
Brighton vs Arsenal
Everton vs Liverpool
Manchester City vs Burnley
Newcastle United vs Sheffield United
Norwich City vs Southampton
Tottenham vs Manchester United
Watford vs Leicester City
West Ham United vs Wolves
These two matches are the ‘games in hand’ for these four clubs, which will take all 20 Premier League teams up to 29 fixtures for the season.
Another game may be played on Friday June 19 but the first full round of fixtures will start on Saturday June 20, with matches staggered across the weekend.
The restart date leaves Premier League managers with just three weeks to get their squads ready for the eagerly-awaited kick-off. After the English top-flight was suspended in early March, it leaves clubs with plenty of work to do to get their squads as match-fit as possible following over three months away from the game.
Clubs only returned to small group training again last week, in line with the Premier League’s return-to-training protocols and UK Government guidelines on social distancing.
Premier League stars were only allowed to work in groups of five as clubs look to keep training as safe as possible ahead of the top-flight’s resumption. But on Thursday morning, training looked a more familiar site as contact was allowed again between players after Phase Two of Project Restart was given the green light.
Newcastle were the first team to publish pictures of their first-team stars in contact training on Thursday.
During a conference call on Tuesday, Premier League players gave the green light to return to contact training during a captains and PFA delegates chat — a step forward that was ratified on Wednesday.
But while some clubs plan to head straight into contact training from Thursday — with only four positive tests out of 1,008 in round three of testing — others will wait for two more rounds of clear results before moving into phase two of training.
Potential dates for the Premier League’s resumption had been going back and forth in recent times.
The Premier League were hoping to get the campaign up and running again on June 12 but that option was soon out the window due to the time needed to get players back up to match sharpness.