We’ve not yet had the news all football fans have been waiting for but there can be no doubt we are moving in the right direction and the re-start of the English Premier League season is now within sight. Finally, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Recent reports in the media tell us discussions have begun concerning the best way to get the top flight of English football moving again. We are still in the early stages, with many important points still to be decided, but fans are encouraged, to say the least.
West Ham back training
Pencilled in is an 8 June restart and that would require all Premier League teams to return to training by 18 May. Some have already made the first steps in their preparation, including Brighton, Arsenal and West Ham. The latter have opened their training ground to allow players to use the facilities. Like what we saw in Germany with Bundesliga teams, players will begin training by themselves before progressing to small group sessions when the UK lockdown has been lifted.
When the season does resume, West Ham know they have a fight on their hands to beat relegation and save their place in the top league for another campaign. It is little wonder they are keen to get back to business. The east London side sit 16th in the pecking order, their stats showing seven wins and six draws against 16 defeats. 27 points on the board leaves them level with Bournemouth and the bottom three.
Could we see West Ham playing Championship football next term? Everyone connected to the Stratford based club certainly hope not but they have a few things working in their favour. For example, their recent form shows they have taken three of the last six points available, The Cherries taking just one in the same period.
This is when money really talks in the Premier League. Financial backing from big sponsors like the global betting firm Betway and Lycamobile. That support helps take the strain at a time when many clubs across the United Kingdom are struggling with a lack of incoming cash.
Squad size a benefit
On paper, they also have a better quality of player in the squad compared to other teams involved in the relegation dog fight. The break would have allowed those players a rest and chance to build up the low confidence that had held them back earlier this year. The player pool available to manager David Moyes is also the envy of his rivals.
He has a decent sized squad and the opportunity to rotate the starting 11 while building fitness levels will be key. Getting teams back playing is one thing but those stuck at the wrong end of the table will be required to hit the ground running. There can be no settling in period so the squad will have to be fully fit and raring to go. A shallow player pool in this situation would be a major handicap for those aiming to distance themselves from the drop zone.
One option open to the Premier League at present is playing games behind closed doors, but that’s not something that sits well with many clubs. Haller recently said to Transfermarkt that he wants to play in front on fans and that was one of the reason he came to the club.
Empty stadiums certainly won’t help their cause but, at this stage, it seems the safest and quickest way back to a full fixture list being completed in time for summer.