The Premier League’s Project Restart commenced successfully after the two catch-up fixtures played out.
As the Premier League returns, at last, the games in hand from the League Cup final have finally been played. Sheffield United traveled to Villa Park to play Aston Villa in the first game back before Manchester City hosted Arsenal after.
With all 20 teams now having played 29 games, we look at where today’s fixtures leave the sides in action, heading into the final nine games.
Sheffield miss chance to jump Manchester United
Sitting two points behind Manchester United with the game in hand, Sheffield United had a chance to jump over their rivals for the final Champions League spot, assuming City’s suspension holds up. Instead, Sheffield could only draw with Aston Villa 0-0, although it was a controversial fixture.
Sheffield looked to have taken the lead on the cusp of halftime after Oliver Norwood’s freekick was mishandled by Ørjan Nyland and caught behind the line. Somehow, the crowd of players in front of the goal interrupted the goalline technology system, and the match remained scoreless.
Sheffield would never find the back of the net after this, giving their Champions League ambitions a hit. They currently sit in sixth, one point off fifth place Man U and one point ahead of Wolves in seventh. With the tough schedule Sheffield has ahead, this was a crucial time to pick up all three points.
From here on out, they have to play all the teams around them, with fixtures against Leicester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Wolves, Spurs, and Arsenal, in the remaining nine games. For a table so tight, a schedule this tough may heavily affect the sides Champions League ambition.
Chris Wilder and his Blades could have to settle for the Europa League this early after the restart. But this will still be looked at as an overachieving effort.