English Premier League back with doubleheader after 100-day shutdown

ISLAMABAD:     Exactly 100 days after the last game, the Premier League is back.
In stadiums restricted to around 300 people due to the ongoing pandemic risks, Aston Villa will take on European hopefuls Sheffield United on Wednesday night followed by Manchester City vs Arsenal.
It will usher in an unprecedented summer blitz of games in an attempt to complete the season by July 26.
Social distancing exemptions have been granted to allow teams to return to training and now full matches. There has been a month of twice-weekly COVID-19 tests for players and coaches.
The Premier League was suspended after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the coronavirus on March 12. Now Arteta’s on-field priority is trying to return Arsenal to the Champions League.
The north London club goes into the restart ninth in the standings, eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea. But fifth place will secure a spot in the elite European competition if second-place Manchester City’s two-season European ban is confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month.
The blue half of Manchester knows it will be surrendering the Premier League trophy to Liverpool. The celebrations have been delayed since March, but the title can be secured in the next week. If City loses to Arsenal in Wednesday’s kickoff, Liverpool can end a 30-year league title drought by beating Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday.

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