Thankfully 2020 is almost over.
The Premier League title race is starting to take shape with 3 points separating the Top 4 (Top 6 if Manchester City & Aston Villa win their games in hand). At the bottom of the table Sheffield United look finished. And I don’t have much faith in West Brom surviving the drop.
HAS COVID DERAILED MANCHESTER CITY’S SEASON?
Four hours before kick off, Manchester City were forced to postpone their match against Everton. Gabriel Jesus & Kyle Walker were already ruled out for this game after testing positive on Christmas Day & more results came back positive in the latest round. Reports are circulating that a number of them were first team players & will need to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days.
To halt the spread City have closed their training ground. This will impact their preparations for upcoming matches with players forced to train at home. This is the second time this season a game has been called off after Newcastle also had an outbreak at their training ground earlier this month.
The season is already condensed & this could potentially derail The Citizens season. They are active in four competitions & have played 2 fixtures less than most of the other Premier League sides. We are still waiting for a decision to be made on their game with Chelsea January 3rd & Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United January 6th.
Pep Guardiola’s side can’t afford another postponement.
Man City's fixture at Everton, due to be played at 20:00 GMT this evening, has been postponed following a Premier League Board meeting— Premier League (@premierleague) December 28, 2020
Full statement: https://t.co/1acm2JUr69#EVEMCI pic.twitter.com/IoFWEPdkC2
THE GOVERNING BODIES BROUGHT THIS ON THEMSELVES
No one could have predicted that a highly contagious mutant strain of COVID-19 would run wild in the U.K.
Still, even after the success of Project Restart, it was optimistic, brave & foolish for the FA, Football League & Premier League to commit to a full schedule this season. It seems none of them were willing to compromise & learned nothing from the first shutdown. Back in March when games were getting postponed, it was apparent there was minimal flexibility in the schedule to accommodate them later in the season.
There is a concern that this season might not finish. The latest round of testing returned 18 positive cases, the highest since testing began in August. Fulham might have to postpone their game with Tottenham due to positive tests in their squad & Sheffield United have confirmed cases. Ralph Hasenhüttl managed their 0-0 draw with West Ham remotely after a member of his household tested positive.
Talk has turned to the Premier League taking a 2 week break to halt the spread. I can’t see this happening until after the FA Cup 3rd Round. 64 sides are competing from all levels of the Football Pyramid. Delaying these fixtures will impact leagues across the country.
Here are the 2020-21 Premier League Matchday 17 Betting Lines.
PREMIER LEAGUE MATCHDAY 17 BETTING LINES
ODDS & ENDS
- I really like Wolves at +180. Nuno Espírito Santo’s side have played well in their last two fixtures. Brighton haven’t won in 7 games & the pressure’s starting to increase on Graham Potter.
- It looks like Mikel Arteta has turned things around & will keep faith with his young attacking trio. Back Arsenal win to nil +170.
- I think there’s good value in Aston Villa or the Draw +118. Dean Smith’s side are on a 5 game unbeaten run & their front 4 are in great form.
- Burnley VS Fulham +215 & Everton VS West Ham +260 both have potential to end in a draw.
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