What to Look Out for as the Premier League Returns
Written by: Jack Noveck Holmes
Though it looks nothing like the fan-filled, loud and rambunctious game it used to be, the English Premier League is back in full swing.
Players like Marcus Rashford, Kevin De Bruyne and Pierre Emerick Abaumayeng are commanding the pitch once again, only this time with advertisements covering the seats supporters used to fill and with artificial cheers ringing throughout stadiums. With 8 more match weeks left, here are the squads to keep an eye on.
Winless through their first two matches of the Premier League’s return, the Gunners have been their embarrassing usual selves. Mikel Arteta, a former Arsenal player himself who was appointed manager of the club in December, had his first season running the club halted in early March. It will be interesting to see Arteta’s attempt to successfully close out one of the Gunner’s worst seasons in recent years, as well as the answers to the confusing case of midfielder Mesut Ozil. Sitting at 10th place, Arsenal are only 2 points behind North London rivals Tottenham. And with a derby at White Hart Lane scheduled for July 12th, it’s likely this is the only opportunity Arsenal fans will have to get any joy out of what has been a dreadful season.
Sheffield United are amidst a great football story in the making. After coming in second in the EFL championship last season, to say they’ve made the most of their Premier League promotion would be an understatement. The squad sits at 7th in the league standings, only 2 points behind 6th place Wolves, while young goalkeeper Dean Henderson holds the title for most clean sheets in the league. Sheffield have some tough competition in their final matches of the season, facing teams like Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Wolves, Chelsea, and Leicester City. If the team can get power through these historical clubs and finish the season with a spot in the top 6, it will be an achievement worthy of recognition from all Premier League fans.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the current league leaders. How could one not pay attention to this team? With 9 matches left, Mo Salah and company have a resounding 22 point lead over second place Manchester City. Liverpool only needs two wins to clinch Premier League glory -- something the club has never been able to accomplish in the past. Their title quest resumes away at Goodison Park in the Merseyside derby, the club’s first match since their exit from the Champions League at the hands of Atletico Madrid in March. It’s fitting that this match, one with particular significance, is the beginning of one of, if not the most important stretch in the club’s domestic history. After Everton, Liverpool should handle business as usual with a fairly easy schedule for their standards, playing teams such as Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Burnley. All signs point to the reds lifting their first ever Premier League championship trophy.