Coronavirus: Everything You Need to Know About the Impact on English Football

English football finally saw sense on Friday and agreed to postpone all games in the top divisions as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.?

The Premier League, EFL, Women’s Super League and academy leagues as well as the FA Cup have all been ?brought to a temporary halt as part of an emergency plan to keep players as safe as possible going forward.

There’s a whole lot to wrap your head around, but here’s everything you need to know about the situation in English football.


Why Is English Football Suspended?


Many leagues around the world have been suspended? because of the coronavirus outbreak, but English football was one of the final major leagues to actually make a decision.

Officials had been keen to continue playing fixtures behind closed doors, but that was until ?Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and ?Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the virus, so it was finally agreed that all football needed to be stopped.


When Will the EFL Return?

The English Football League have confirmed that matches are currently scheduled to resume on Friday 3 April?, but that obviously depends on how the virus develops over time.


When Will the Premier League Return?

While the rest of English football returns on the Friday, the ?Premier League will wait one more day and get back underway on Saturday 4 April.?


Are England’s International Fixtures Affected?

Gareth Southgate

?There was an international break scheduled in late March, but the English FA have wisely agreed to postpone the Three Lions’ fixtures for that week.

As a result, friendlies against Italy on 27 March and Denmark on 31 March will no longer take place.


What Have the Government Said?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had stated that there was no need for football to be postponed, and so the EFL did confirm that they were set to continue, although that came before the high-profile cases of both Arteta and Hudson-Odoi.

An emergency meeting was called between league officials the morning after the pair’s diagnoses, where it was decided that the government advice needed to be ignored as players and teams across the country were no longer able to safely fulfil their fixtures.


Has the Champions League Been Cancelled?

At the minute, a definitive decision over the future of the ?Champions League and Europa League has not been made.

The games which had been scheduled for between 17-19 March have been postponed, and UEFA are set to meet in the coming days to discuss further action, which could also see Euro 2020 pushed back one year.


When Will the Postponed League Fixtures Be Played?

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This is the real conundrum. It’s hard enough rescheduling fixtures in a normal season, so having to find time to play three weeks’ worth of games is a real nightmare.

The current aim is to reschedule the fixtures, rather than cancel them completely, but when they will do that is currently unknown. It has been suggested that the league could bleed over into the summer, but obviously that depends on Euro 2020.


What Will Happen to the Premier League Title?

Juergen Klopp

It’s almost certainly just a matter of time before ?Liverpool get their hands on the league title. They had been two wins away from glory, but now they could be just one.

If the league restarts as planned on 4 April, and fixtures are kept the same, then Jürgen Klopp’s side could actually win the title one day later at the Etihad Stadium if they can beat ?Manchester City.?


What About the Transfer Window & Expiring Contracts?

Hakim Ziyech

As with every season, some players’ contracts will expire on 30 June and others have already agreed to move clubs on 1 July. That’s totally normal, but the problem is that the season might not actually be completed by then.

After speaking to agents, ?football.london note that ?it will be nearly impossible to stop players leaving or joining if contracts dictate they must, so deals like Hakim Ziyech’s imminent move to Chelsea will still go through.

Emergency changes to the transfer window could be made, but nothing has been confirmed just yet.


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Premier League Games to Go Ahead After Government Issues Coronavirus Update

All Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend, following a government update regarding the spread of coronavirus.

COVID-19 has caused games all around the world to be postponed, cancelled or played behind closed doors, particularly in Europe.

A ?Premier League statement reads: “Following the latest update from Government issued this afternoon, all Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend.

“While the Prime Minister advised that all sporting events should take place as normal for now, he also indicated that Government is considering banning major public events, like sporting fixtures.

“We are therefore continuing to work closely with our clubs, Government, The FA, EFL and other relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate contingency plans are in place as and when circumstances change.

West Ham United v Southampton FC - Premier League

“The welfare of players, staff and supporters is of paramount importance and we will continue to follow Public Health England guidelines thoroughly. We will keep everyone updated as appropriate.”

Serie A has been postponed until next month along with MLS, La Liga, the Dutch Eredivisie and Portugal’s Primeira Liga, while Bundesliga games are both scheduled to be played without spectators in attendance in the coming days.


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The Longest Premier League Unbeaten Runs in Traditional 3pm Saturday Kick-Offs

?Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 23 games that kicked off in the traditional Saturday 3pm timeslot, making the Gunners ‘Kings of the Blackout’ that exists in the UK on live broadcasts.

Liverpool are marginally behind on 21 games without defeat at 3pm on a Saturday – the Reds’ recent 3-0 loss to Watford was a Saturday evening kick-off. The Gunners and Liverpool are the only Premier League clubs for whom the current streak is over 20 games.

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Given the demand for their games to be broadcast live on UK television, which is banned on a Saturday afternoon, Arsenal actually play very few games at 3pm. As such, their 23-game unbeaten streak stretches as far back as November 2015 and a 2-1 loss to West Brom.

Only four of Arsenal’s 29 Premier League games this season have been a 3pm on a Saturday.

Again, due to Liverpool’s popularity and the desire for games to be broadcast live, they often don’t play at 3pm on a Saturday. Their last defeat in the timeslot, 21 games ago, was back in February 2017 against Hull.

Oumar Niasse

Sheffield United are the Premier League with the next best unbeaten run in Saturday 3pm kick-offs. That stands at 11, but due to the less popular Blade playing at that time more often than not, those 11 games only go back as far as September 2019 and a loss to Southampton.

Wolves are unbeaten in eight Saturday 3pm games, for Tottenham it is six, while for Manchester City it is five – yet for the reigning champions the last loss is still more than a year ago when they were beaten by Crystal Palace in December 2018.

Brighton and Everton are also among the better 3pm Saturday sides, both unbeaten in four.

Longest Current Unbeaten Runs in Premier League 3pm Saturday Kick-Offs:

?Team Unbeaten?
?Arsenal ?23
?Liverpool ?21
?Sheffield United ?11
?Wolves ?8
?Tottenham ?6
?Manchester City ?5
?Brighton ?4
?Everton ?4

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Leicester Ready to Compete With Chelsea to Sign £40m Rated Porto Defender Alex Telles

?Leicester are set to rival Chelsea in the race to sign highly-rated Porto left-back Alex Telles this summer, with the Foxes potentially having to part with £40m for the Brazilian.

Chelsea have a longstanding interest in the defender, with rumours consistently circling that suggest Telles is a priority for the Blues, who are currently looking for an adequate replacement for Marcos Alonso.

The left-back is currently contracted with Porto until 2021, but recent reports have claimed that the 27-year-old is unwilling to sign a new deal with the Dragons.

Alex Telles

According to the ?Leicester Mercury, the Foxes are ready to re-ignite their interest in Telles, having previously sent scouts to watch the defender play during the last summer transfer window.

However, they will face stiff competition from ?Chelsea this summer, who have made their interest in Telles perfectly clear over the course of the past few transfer windows.

Telles has already made 40 appearances for Porto this season, scoring ten goals and registering nine assists in the process, and has continued his stellar form this campaign following several seasons of sensational performances in Portugal.

As a result of Telles’ quality, the defender won’t come cheap for either ?Leicester or Chelsea, with the Brazilian perhaps setting either side back £40m.

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A potential deal may hinge on Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell’s future – whose performances have helped push the Midlands club up to third in the ?Premier League table – who has been touted with a move to Chelsea themselves this summer.

The Foxes are in desperate need of reinforcements ahead of their likely venture in to the Champions League next season, with the 2015/16 title winners seriously lacking in squad depth.

Leicester have also been interested in bringing in another centre-back for some time, with deals for Merih Demiral and Kristoffer Ajer looking possible in the upcoming transfer window.

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Chelsea Prepared to Sell Michy Batshuayi in Summer With Crystal Palace Keen

?Chelsea are prepared to listen to offers for out-of-favour striker Michy Batshuayi in the summer, with Crystal Palace said to be interested in bringing him back to Selhurst Park.

The Belgian has endured a frustrating season at Stamford Bridge, making only five starts for the Blues and coming off the bench for the rest of his 19 appearances. 

On Sunday, having already put four goals past Everton, manager Frank Lampard opted to give 18-year-old Armando Broja an opportunity off the bench, as opposed to the former Marseille attacker who was unused again.

Palace are in the market for a new striker, with loan striker Cenk Tosun suffering serious knee injury that has cut short his spell in south London and ending any chance of signing him permanently.

Michy Batshuayi

And according to the ?Express, the Eagles have set their eyes upon bringing back ?Batshuayi, who appears to be on the move as ?Chelsea are prepared for offers concerning the striker in the summer.

The 26-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Selhurst Park and scored five goals in 11 games for Roy Hodgson’s side during his brief spell.

Michy Batshuayi

Yet the south London club were put off when they inquired about the fee Chelsea wanted for the Belgian for a permanent deal, which was said to be £45m. With one year left on his contract, the Eagles will want to pay a much reduced fee for the attacker this summer.

The Blues paid Ligue 1 club Marseille a fee of £34m for the services of Batshuayi in the summer of 2016, and had hoped to make a profit by selling him at a high price.

He is said to have told friends of his desire to remain in London should he depart Stamford Bridge, which would give? ?Palace an advantage over other potential suitors.

With ?Olivier Giroud now playing more regularly for Lampard, and the early promise displayed by Tammy Abraham in the first half of the season, it appears the Belgian is very low down the pecking order of forwards at the club, and a move looks increasingly likely at the end of the season.

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