EPL

Coronavirus: Premier League clubs set to welcome fans as restrictions eased

By Sports Desk November 26, 2020

Fans will be able to return to up to half of the Premier League's grounds after new coronavirus measures were announced.

The United Kingdom government confirmed on Thursday the national lockdown in England would end on December 2, with regional restrictions in place thereafter.

While no areas hosting top-flight clubs were included in the most relaxed Tier 1, several fell into Tier 2, meaning up to 2,000 supporters would be allowed to attend games.

The 10 Premier League clubs who will be able to welcome fans under the new rules are London sides Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Fulham, as well as Liverpool, Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton.

That leaves the other half of the division still forced to play home games behind closed doors, including Manchester United and rivals City.

It means the December 4-7 round of top-flight fixtures should see the return of supporters, with games including the north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal coming up.

Numerous Football League clubs will also be able host fans once again, with matches scheduled in all three divisions next Wednesday.

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    Victory for Leicester put Brendan Rodgers' side top of the table at least until Manchester United go to Fulham on Wednesday, while Chelsea will be 11 points adrift of the summit if the Red Devils win.

    It was not so long ago that Chelsea were being dubbed favourites for the Premier League title by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, with Lampard's side top of the pile as recently as early December.

    Since beating Leeds United to go top on December 5, Chelsea have taken just seven points from a possible 24 and Tuesday's defeat meant only Newcastle United (52) have conceded more away goals in the Premier League than them (50) since the start of last season.

    Reports began to emerge a few weeks ago about Lampard's position being in doubt, and it is unlikely he has done himself any favours by essentially conceding defeat in the title race.

    "I don't think this is the first time I've been asked this, been asked this a few times in the last few weeks – after 16 unbeaten we lost two on the bounce and I was starting to be asked these questions, and I understand it," Lampard told reporters.

    "It's the expectations of this club. Whether I think it's right or wrong… As I said pre-match, we are not in the position of a Chelsea that we were in periods when we were winning leagues.

    "I took this job knowing that there will be difficult times because it's not a club ready to compete. We had a transfer ban, we had young players. Now we have new players and we can see that the new players, the younger players are striving for form, to be settled into this team.

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    That stretched from April 2003 to September 2004, spanning well over a full season as they comfortably beat the 23-game record they themselves set between August 2001 and September 2002.

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    ROUND-UP

    - Sky Sport Germany claims Bayern Munich star David Alaba will not decide on his future until he has spoken to Barcelona. Marca reported that Madrid had struck a deal to sign Alaba on a free transfer at the end of the season. However, Alaba is reportedly holding out for Barca as the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and PSG try to lure the Austria international.

    Martin Odegaard has asked to leave Madrid on loan due to his lack of game time, reports Marca and Diario AS.

    Romelu Lukaku has no intention of leaving Inter for City, says Express Sport. Lukaku spent two years at United before moving to Italy in 2019. Pep Guardiola's City have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland amid doubts over Sergio Aguero's future.

    - Mundo Deportivo claims Manchester City defender Eric Garcia could join Barca this month or at the end of the season.

    Milan are eyeing Barca's Junior Firpo on loan, while Serie A rivals Napoli are also interested, according to Calciomercato.

    - Eurosport reports Tottenham are looking to prise Danny Ings away from Southampton. Ings is reportedly stalling on a new contract as he eyes a Champions League club.

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