The English Premier League (EPL) and EFL fixtures were earlier postponed until April 30 at the earliest as the world grapples with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
2019-20 EPL leaders Liverpool are just two games away from being confirmed champions, but their title charge has been thrown into flux by recent developments.
Meanwhile, the suspension of the season also leaves relegation and European qualification up in the air for the time being. The Football Association (FA) is pushing for the league to finish after the Euro 2020 was postponed to 2021. The governing body is looking at options to make sure the season gets a chance to get finished if the pandemic is controlled till then.
Earlier, West Ham United’s vice-chairman Karren Brady had called for the Premier League campaign to be declared “null and void” if the fixture list cannot be completed. The idea was also backed by former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.
At the moment football is at a standstill and with the government likely to implement further restrictions on mass gatherings and sporting events, there is no suggestion as to when football, and sport in general, will return in any form.
Many feel the season should end as it is which in turn will see Liverpool claiming the honour, besides teams qualifying for Europe alongside the last three sides getting relegated.
Meanwhile, if the season gets declared null and void, then we will have several winners and losers. On the same note, we look at the clubs which could end up as winners or losers.
Liverpool Would Be The Biggest Losers
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are just two wins away from securing their maiden Premier League title and a 19th English domestic honour. This would also be their first title in 30 years.
If the season is declared null and void, then Liverpool will miss out on the same. This will come as a big blow for Klopp and his men. They went into the suspension period with a bit of lack in form after UEFA Champions League and FA Cup exits. However, the club, who enjoys a 25-point gap, would want the season to end.
What About The Manchester Clubs?
Fifth-placed Manchester United were enjoying the best moment of their season after being undefeated in 11 games across competitions. Besides being fifth in the Premier League, they were in the decisive stages of the FA Cup and Europa League as well.
If the season isn’t completed, then United will not only lose out on top-four finish but will see a fight for silverware end. They could have fought till the very end. However, if cancellation is forced, it would be a sad blow to their campaign.
Manchester City won two trophies in 2019-20. The second-placed side in the league, were also vying for the Champions League and the FA Cup. It could have helped them with four trophies. With a potential European ban hanging over their heads, City will feel dismal.
Arsenal, Everton and Leicester City Will Lose Out
Third-placed Leicester City are vying for a top-four finish and earn a deserving Champions League berth. Cancellation of the season will end their fight. Alongside Brendan Rodgers’ men, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal will also miss out badly.
Arsenal were looking in a good run of form and under Arteta the solidity had set in. However, they will lose given they are battling for a top-four berth. They also won’t have Champions League football in the 2020-21 season.
It was great to see Everton make some improvement under Carlo Ancelotti. Forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin, particularly, was in the form of his life. The Toffees were vying for a place in Europe and this could all be done and dusted if the EPL 2019-20 season doesn’t resume.
Joy For Chelsea, Spurs and Relegated Teams
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard made some rapid strides in his debut season with some young players settling in nicely and playing solid football. The fourth-placed side also has the possibility of winning the FA Cup, but overall Chelsea would probably still just about take the assurance of Champions League football next season.
Spurs endured a horrific 2019-20 campaign. They are out of all cup competitions and former manager Mauricio Pochettino lost his job. The celebrated Jose Mourinho came in and there was not much joy. The club went on to lose Harry Kane and Son Heung-min to lengthy injuries and drift away from the top four.
If the season gets cancelled then Spurs would retain their spot in the Champions League. They would be one of the big winners.
Teams that are fighting relegation this season, are the genuine winners if there’s no resumption. This includes the likes of Norwich City, Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Watford and West Ham. If the season is declared null and void, then these teams will be playing the league next term. That’s a significant amount of joy for the sides.
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