EPL

Coronavirus: Premier League to restart on June 17 - reports

By Sports Desk May 28, 2020

The Premier League season will resume on June 17, according to widespread reports, with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United.

Those Wednesday fixtures, the first of the 92 remaining in a season that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, represent games in hand for the four teams involved..

Once completed, each of the 20 Premier League clubs will have played 29 games.

A full round of matches will then take place the following weekend, as Liverpool - with a 25-point lead at the top - aim to secure their first top-flight title in 30 years.

The Premier League hopes to complete the campaign by or on August 2, with the FA Cup final potentially taking place the weekend after.

No matches have been played in the Premier League since March 9 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the suspension of sport across the globe.

A total of 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the league.

However, with teams having returned to contact training this week, the Premier League – following a shareholders meeting on Thursday – is poised to confirm a restart date for the competition.

Football in Germany has already got back under way, with three rounds of Bundesliga fixtures having been played behind closed doors.

LaLiga has been granted permission to restart in the week commencing June 8, while Serie A clubs are awaiting the green light from the Italian government to resume next month.

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  • Lampard refuses to play blame game with Thiago Silva Lampard refuses to play blame game with Thiago Silva

    Frank Lampard was in no mood to play the blame game after an error from Thiago Silva on his Premier League debut and says the Brazil centre-back will become crucial for Chelsea.

    Silva was at fault for the second of West Brom's three first-half goals at The Hawthorns, as the Blues had to fight back from an error-strewn opening 45 minutes to draw 3-3 thanks to Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham.

    It was the veteran defender's first action in the Premier League at the age of 36 and it was an unfortunate slip in an otherwise steady top-flight bow.

    Chelsea boss Lampard said Silva is experienced enough to own up to his mistakes without the need for him to pile in too.

    "Listen Thiago Silva is going to be fantastic for us, he's been incredible in his career," Lampard told a post-match news conference. 

    "I will not look at him, I can talk about the mistakes - they're clear and we have to be open and honest about that, but I'll not put any blame on him. We're a team that has to react around that and to be fair the team did in the second half. 

    "It's nothing on Thiago, I'm sure he'll stand up and say it was a mistake, other than that I thought he was faultless in the game.

    "That's his first Premier League game done and in the bank, we'll get more from him as he gets fitter and the team gets fitter." 

    Chelsea's equaliser had a hint of fortune, with Kai Havertz potentially handballing in the area in the build-up.

    West Brom boss Slaven Bilic, who also felt there a was a foul prior to Hudson-Odoi bringing it back to 3-2, had no doubts the gal should have been chalked off.

    "The third goal is very difficult to accept," Bilic said. "For me that is so clear that I don't even want to talk about it, it is obvious. 

    "It's not maybe, it's not possibly handball, it is handball that's end of story, full stop. How someone can say that's not a handball is beyond me."

  • Lampard rues errors but says Chelsea are a work in progress Lampard rues errors but says Chelsea are a work in progress

    Frank Lampard warned his Chelsea side they must quickly cut out basic mistakes but insists the Blues remain a work in progress after fighting back for a 3-3 draw at West Brom.

    Chelsea were staring down the barrel of an unexpected defeat at The Hawthorns after an inept display of defending saw them 3-0 down inside 27 minutes.

    Errors from Marcos Alonso and Premier League debutant Thiago Silva saw Callum Robinson score twice before Kyle Bartley benefitted from more poor defending at a corner.

    But Mason Mount and substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi brought Chelsea back into the game before a third academy graduate in the form of Tammy Abraham rescued a point in injury time.

    "It's two points dropped and that's no disrespect to West Brom," Chelsea boss Lampard told Sky Sports. 

    "But to come here and sort of understand the game and know that transition and mistakes is something they'd try to jump on, counter-attack against us and [use] set-pieces – we spoke about it before the game and you can't legislate for pure mistakes, which they were today. 

    "Then it gives you a really difficult game to get back in to. I can laud character because we showed character and persistence but we didn't need to if we did things properly in the game.

    "They were clear mistakes, the first one Marcos heads it into the middle of the pitch for them to make the transition. The Thiago one is a mistake, he's been around long enough to know that and we'll certainly give him that one in his first game. Then Marcos loses his man for the third goal from the corner. 

    "You can do as many meetings as you want, if you make those mistakes you're going to give yourself a mountain to climb."

    Lampard felt the introductions of Cesar Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi at half-time brought a different dimension to Chelsea.

    "It brought a bit of urgency, a bit of speed of pass to move it," he added. 

    "Azpi brings personality straight into the team even at left-back. Callum one-v-one brought something different, he got at people. Those are things Callum can and needs to do, he made a big difference."

    Lampard said the fact Chelsea created going forward meant it was an easy message to try and lift his team at the break and is convinced a new-look squad will come good.

    "We created two or three really great chances in first half and i thought we'd create more," he said. 

    "The only problem when you're 3-0 down is West Brom are going to seriously protect the lead which means dropping back, frustrating moments and it was about staying patient. We did that to a big degree. 

    "But it's a lesson for us in the detail of a game, it doesn't how much you create, and we will create a lot, we will get better.

    "We're definitely finding our way with new players in the team and a lack of pre-season. 

    "Part of the process of getting better is accepting things that aren't right in our game today because we lost two points."

  • Abraham reveals Lampard's words of wisdom after Chelsea comeback Abraham reveals Lampard's words of wisdom after Chelsea comeback

    Tammy Abraham revealed the words of wisdom from Frank Lampard that provided the catalyst for Chelsea's comeback in an entertaining 3-3 draw at West Brom.

    The Blues were sloppy in defence as the Baggies went 3-0 up inside 27 minutes at The Hawthorns, where Thiago Silva endured a rude awakening on his Premier League debut.

    But the visitors were able to breathe a sigh of relief after a second-half revival in which Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi scored before Abraham netted a stoppage-time leveller.

    And the England forward praised the impact his manager made at half-time in picking his side up off the floor.

    "We all went in and our heads were down and he had to lift us up," Abraham told Sky Sports.

    "He said we didn't look like a team ready to go out and win and we needed to pick each other up in the second half.

    "Thankfully Mason got the goal which meant we could believe. I knew we'd get chances but to come back from 3-0 is never easy. The boys deserve credit, they kept going."

    The opening 45 minutes was a strange spectacle indeed, with Slaven Bilic's men finding themselves three goals to the good despite having very little of the game.

    And Abraham conceded Chelsea had made life hard for themselves, while lamenting a missed opportunity of his own.

    "In the first half we made it difficult for ourselves. I had a chance I should have put away and one I should be taking at this level," he said.

    "They scored from every shot. We knew we had to come out in the second half and not drop our heads – and that's what we did.

    "We need to cut out the mistakes as a team so we don't concede. We need to be strong together and keep encouraging one another."

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