We are back!
Anyone who reads this blog might have seen that the posts stopped little over a month ago. I had gone for a slight vacation and then forgot to renew the subscription, along with the fact that the whole word went into lockdown because of a small pandemic called the Coronavirus or Covid-19. It has now been around a month since I have been on lockdown and a similar amount of time since football took a hiatus for the well being of all. The most important thing is to defeat this virus so that we can go back to enjoying and living our lives which includes enjoying the sport that we love. There are also several lessons to learn in that we need to appreciate the environment and animals as well, let them grow keep a good distance from them. We have seen in the last month how our cities are breathing fresh air again and animals are coming out of hiding to explore their surroundings and we need to do more if we are to coexist going forward. At Park The Bus though are main goal is football and so this post will look into the situations in the top 5 leagues in Europe and what might happen in each of them.
Premier League MW 29
As it stands the Premier League stopped around 11th March with 9 more matchweeks to go. Liverpool, Man City, Leicester and Chelsea made up the top four with City having played one less game. United sit 5th, 3 points behind Chelsea while Wolves and Sheffield are 2 points behind them with 43 points. Sheffield though have a game in hand and could move into 5th and a potential CL spot with the City ban. Tottenham are then 8th 2 points behind Sheffield and Wolves while Arsenal are 9th with a game in hand and a point behind Spurs. Burnley and Palace are 10th and 11th as they sit a point behind Arsenal while Everton are 2 points behind Palace in 12th. Newcastle are 13th and 2 points behind Everton as they are at the cusp of being acquired by the Saudi Arabian Royal family which would make them the richest club in England and possibly the world. Southampton sit a point behind Newcastle in 14th. 15th is where the fight for relegation starts with Brighton having 29 points and West Ham, Watford, and Bournemouth all behind them with 27 points. Villa then sit 19th with 25 points and game in hand while Norwich are 4 points behind Villa bottom of the table with 21 points.
Now there have been many theories on what will happen once football is back and those have gone from the season ending as it is, to it being voided. Now some teams might prefer it being voided like Norwich or any of the other teams in a relegation battle while teams like Liverpool would want to finish the season given that they are so close to success no matter how tainted the season might have been. The latest is that the season will go ahead by early June and the remaining games will be played over the course of a few weeks so that they could start the next season on time. These games of course would be played behind doors and fans will probably not be allowed in stadiums until next year. There is too much money at stake and so the goal is to finish the league. The fact is that much has changed from when the season took a break to when the season might resume with teams that had extensive injury lists now having players back. The pause could help some of the relegation teams while Liverpool who were going through a rough patch will also be thankful that the break came.
FA Cup Quarter-Finals
The FA Cup stopped at the quarter-final stage with Leicester set to play Chelsea, Newcastle were to entertain Man City, Sheffield United were going to welcome Arsenal, and Norwich were going to play Manchester United. Some very entertaining encounters and much like the league it is likely that the fixtures will take place but rather than the ties being played over two legs they could be straight knockouts in neutral locations which would make it more entertaining.
The teams fighting for promotion to the Premier League will also want the season to continue as it would be a massive boost financially. There had been 37 MW’s played with Leeds leading the table with 71 points and West Brom right behind them with 70 points. Fulham were 3rd with 64 points while Brentford were 4th with 60 points along with Nottingham Forest who were level on points with them in 5th. Preston North End just made it into 6th with 56 points. The final spot for the playoffs could go down to the 11th placed team in Swansea as they had 53 points while Bristol, Millwall, Cardiff, and Blackburn all fell in between 6th and 11th.
La Liga MW 27
La Liga paused after MW 27 with Barcelona leading the table with a 2 point lead while Real were 2nd with 56 points. Sevilla sit 3rd with 47 points while Real Sociedad are 4th with 46 points. Getafe are 5th with 46 points while Atletico are 6th with 45 points. Spain has been one of the countries that has suffered the most due to Coronavirus and it is yet to be seen when exactly the League might resume. It has been decided that players can return to training though and so a restart might not be far off maybe around late May. Barcelona has suffered some turmoil in recent weeks with there being some major problems at a boardroom level while Real will hope that those problem affect the players form on the pitch if play does resume. Teams like Real Sociedad, Getafe and Sevilla will want to maintain their European places while Atletico will want to finish in the top four.
Copa Del Rey Final
Only a final was left to be played in the Copa Del Rey as Real Sociedad were set to take on Atheltic Bilbao for the trophy. The Coronavirus has delayed proceedings though but it looks like the final will be played alongside the resumption of the league.
Serie A MW 26
Serie A was in the middle of playing MW 26 with several teams still needing to finish the MW. Juventus lead the table with 63 points while Lazio are right behind them with 62 points. Inter sit 3rd with 54 points but have a game in hand while Atalanta are 4th with 48 points also with a game in hand. Roma are 5th with 48 points while Napoli are 6th with 39 points, Milan are 7th with 36 points. Bologna are 10th with 34 points while Hellas Verona, and Parma sit between them and Milan with all the teams standing a chance at European qualification. Juventus are looking at making it 9 league titles in a row but Lazio were in the form of their life and will hope that they can start off from where they left the league at. The latest news is that all teams in Serie A have decided to finish the league as soon as they can and so most likely we will get an answer to that question, although with Italy being the worst affected country in Europe the resumption should take more time than expected.
Coppa Italia Semi-Finals
The 2nd legs of the Coppa Italia semifinals were to be played with Napoli leading Inter 0-1, and Milan tied with Juventus with a score of 1-1. If the tournament is to resume then the fixtures could turn into straight knockout’s and will most likely be played in neutral grounds which would mean that those scores would not count.
Bundesliga MW 25
The Bundesliga paused on MW 25 with Bayern sitting top of the pile with 55 points. Dortmund had moved into 2nd with 51 points while Leipzig were 3rd with 50 points. Borussia Monchengladbach were 4th with 49 points while Bayer Leverkusen were 5th with 47 points. Schalke were comfortably 6th with 37 points. Germany has been the European country that has tackled Covid-19 most efficiently and that means that the clubs were able to resume training a couple of weeks ago albeit with gradual escalation. The latest news from Germany is that they will resume the league on May 9th although there will be no fans. Either way the resumption will be a sight for sore eyes for mostly all football fans and for a few weeks the Bundesliga will probably have a record number of viewers from all over the world.
DFB Pokal Semi-Finals
The DFB Pokal had reached the semi-final stage with Bayern Munich set to welcome Eintracht Frankfurt while FC Saarbrucken who play in the 4th tier of German football were set to welcome Bayer Leverkusen for what was a massive fixture club. With football set to resume in Germany it is likely these teams will get to play these games and finish out the tournament.
Ligue 1 MW 28
Ligue 1 was in its 28th matchweek with the usual suspects leading the table in PSG who have a 12 point lead with a game in hand. Marseille are 2nd with 56 points while Rennes are 3rd with 50 points. Lille are 4th with 49 points while Reims are next at 5th with 41 points. Lyon are 7th with 40 points while while Monaco are 9th with 40 points. There’s not much to play for at the moment when it comes to Ligue 1 but the with 10 games to go things could change with Lyon and Monaco hoping to make Europe in some capacity. Ligue 1 have decided to resume the league by mid June if everything goes as planned and so it is yet another league which will make sure that they finish the current season.
Coupe De France Final
Similar to Spain all that was left to play in the Coupe De France was the final with PSG set to take on St.Etienne. With football set to resume these teams should also be able to see out the result.
Thats that for the status update of the major leagues in Europe. All of them look like they are set to return to action at some point over the next few months with mostly all trying to finish the current season by the end of July. The main priority will remain the safety of the players and people involved with the clubs and so we might see several World Cup style camps set up with games being played at select stadium in the countries. Fans will probably need to wait until the beginning of 2021 to witness the sport in person but while the experience will be tainted with no fans in the stadium it will at least be a relief to know that football is back to consume a large chunk of our lives.