After a one-hundred day hiatus, arguably soccer’s most popular league is back. The English Premier league has returned right where it left off. Each year, the league is deemed the most exciting due to its competitive nature throughout the table. This year is no exception.
For the 2019/’20 season, many fans were disheartened with the top-table title race. By Christmas, Liverpool was on track to win the title in March, the quickest in history. Though in February, they suffered a shock defeat from bottom-table Watford. From this game on, fans were reminded just how notoriously unpredictable the EPL is. Soon after, coronavirus postponed the season.
When the games returned, fans forgot just how close the rest of the league was. When looking at the bottom of the table up to the beginning of Champions League placements, everything is still up for grabs.
Along with teams barely escaping the relegation zone like Watford, the mid-table teams are getting exciting with Everton, Crystal Palace, Newcastle and even Burnley well within reach of the top 8. Everton and Palace especially have been impressing lately under the hands of their veteran managers Carlo Ancelotti and Roy Hodgson. Both have respectable win streaks.
Arsenal and Tottenham, both teams usually top 6 stables, are also sitting mid-table now. Arsenal sits at a horrible 11th spot where Tottenham stays in 7th (but four points back). Still, both teams have star players and quality managers that will not end without a fight. With the remaining games, they look to spice up the race even further.
Up a few spots, the race for European competitions is easily the closest. Sheffield United, upon their recent promotion, seemed to be having a fairytale season within grasps of reaching a Champions League spot. With their two most recent games, the teams under them have gained hope too as Sheffield has lost a combined 6-0 to the aforementioned Newcastle and then Manchester United. Their falls have given hopes to all the teams around them and lessened the gap between the top six and mid-table.
Manchester United picked up where they left off, continuing a 10 game unbeaten streak in all competitions (now at 12 games). With the return of Paul Pogba, they look to overtake Chelsea for the Champions league. Chelsea looked rusty for their win against 19th placed Aston Villa.
Wolverhampton is also showing out with their star players Adama Traore and Raul Jiminez combining perfectly in the past two games to be tied with Man U, only behind on goal difference.
Even Leicester City has played very shakily losing the past two games and seceding their steady third place hold. They now only lead Chelsea by four points with a game in hand.
The remaining fixtures have many teams pitted against each other than can decide their whole seasons. Many managers’ jobs are dependent on where they place. Many players futures depend on these performances. With all these incentives, the next month of English soccer looks to be the closest it has been in recent years.
Picture: Rui Vieira / AP