Some clubs are facing the daunting prospect of playing three matches in a week when the Premier League season resumes, reports suggest.
Three months after English football was brought to a standstill by the Covid-19 pandemic, the suspended 2019-20 top-flight campaign is due to restart behind closed doors on Wednesday, June 17.
Manchester City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United are set to be the first of the remaining 92 games on the revised schedule, which is now reportedly close to being finalised.
According to The Guardian, it is inevitable that certain teams will have to play three times in seven days as part of the new fixture list, which is expected to feature six rounds taking place on long weekends from Friday-Monday plus an additional three midweek rounds on 23-25 June, 7-9 July and 14-16 July as the league aims to finish the season on the weekend of 25-26 July.
The report adds that Bournemouth vs Newcastle, Arsenal vs Norwich, Brighton vs Manchester United, Everton vs Leicester, Manchester City vs Liverpool, Sheffield United vs Tottenham and West Ham vs Chelsea are the fixtures set to be moved to midweek by the FA Cup quarter-finals, which have now been rescheduled to take place on 27 and 28 June.
After initially running individual and then socially-distant small-group training as part of ‘Project Restart’, Premier League clubs – who are due to hold the next virtual meeting of shareholders on Thursday – have now resumed contact sessions following a unanimous vote held last week.
Teams such as Liverpool have run 11 v 11 sessions in full kit at their own stadiums, while others – such as Leicester City – have indicated an intention to play practice matches at home in a bid to prepare players for fixtures held without fans in attendance.
Indeed, it now appears that Premier League clubs have been given the go-ahead to schedule friendlies at their training grounds or stadiums ahead of the season resumption.