The John Horgan column: Countdown is on to the Premier League return to fill the gap without live GAA

The John Horgan column: Countdown is on to the Premier League return to fill the gap without live GAA
Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Salah and Rhian Brewster have returned to training with the sights set on the title. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

EVERY so often this column delves into the world of the Premier League and there’s hardly a more appropriate time than to do so again.

The green light has been given to commence proceedings again in less than two weeks and there are still plenty of issues to be sorted out.

In fact, it’s going to be saturation coverage on TV with every game right to the end of its conclusion going to be gracing our sitting rooms.

On some occasions, we are going to get three and four games in one day.

So it’s very much a case of strapping yourself in for a journey that may still have many twists and turns.

The only certainty about the whole thing is that probably sooner rather than later Liverpool will be crowned champions.

In fact, as Jamie Carragher stated recently in a bit of banter with Gary Neville, Liverpool could lose all their nine remaining games and still end up as champions.

He’s probably right there because Manchester City are more than likely going to trip up somewhere along their remaining 10 games.

They had already lost seven games before the season was suspended because of the health crisis.

Contrast that to Liverpool who have lost only once so there should be absolutely no argument about the Merseysiders right to the title.

They have been simply sublime and for a Manchester United supporter that’s a fairly painful admission to have to make but the truth sometimes hurts greatly.

Therefore, the major interest will lie in the battle for Champions League places and at the other end who will take the big drop into the championship.

Right down to Arsenal in ninth place, every team is right in the hunt for those coveted places.

If Arsenal win their game in hand with Manchester City they will be just two points adrift of Manchester United who are currently fifth.

United were the form team before the Pandemic struck, going 11 games undefeated in the competitions that they remain in.

Now with Marcus Rashford and Pogba ready to resume, there’s no reason why they cannot keep that bold bid going. Maybe Pogba has had a long re-think about the direction his career is heading during his lengthy lay- off and if he decides to answer critics like Graeme Souness and Teddy Sheringham, his undoubted ability might well be the difference on whether United will be in among Europe’s elite next season.

The biggest story outside of Liverpool’s relentless pursuit of the title has been Sheffield United’s brilliant form.

If they win their game in hand with Aston Villa they will elevate themselves to fifth above Manchester United.

With nine games subsequently remaining they could be the fairytale team with Chris Wilder challenging Jurgen Klopp for Manager of the season Wolves too are unlikely challengers for one of those Champions League places and they too have been a great story.

Down at the other end the battle for survival will be just as intense.

Norwich look very vulnerable right now, four points adrift and in their remaining games they must face Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Bournemouth have been a revelation since Eddie Howe brought them into the big time but maybe time is now running out for them.

They are berthed in the bottom three currently and their run-in looks very intimidating, games against Man Utd, Tottenham, Leicester, Man City being among them.

Aston Villa are deep in the mire too and look who they must face in the coming weeks, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal and away to West Ham in the season’s last game when the Hammers could be fighting for their survival as well.

Of course, nobody knows how things are going to pan out. The games will be played behind closed doors.

One hopes that Watford survive because Nigel Pearson has done a fantastic job since he took over at a time when they were already nearly relegated.

Another factor to consider is that no team has any recent form to go on, being out of action for over three months.

They won’t have a lead in with a few pre-season games and getting back up to match day fitness may well be a factor too.

The end of season too is going to be very congested, teams hardly having time to breathe but it will be same for everybody.

Of course, there’s the little matter too of getting the FA Cup concluded and trying to find a solution there will not be easy either with Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester and Sheffield United still in contention.

Come up with a winner from that lot.

Munich's Robert Lewandowski, left, and team mate Alphonso Davies celebrate the fifth goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Fortuna Duesseldorf. Picture: Christof Stache/Pool
Munich's Robert Lewandowski, left, and team mate Alphonso Davies celebrate the fifth goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Fortuna Duesseldorf. Picture: Christof Stache/Pool

The Bundesliga in Germany has filled a bit of a gap for us in recent weeks but let’s be honest, the interest in it is miles off the Premiership despite the latter’s imperfections.

The football in Germany has been very good at times and Bayern Munich are just a cut above everybody else and watching Lewandowski in action and converting goals has been a joy to behold.

But give me the Premier any day of the week. It will be good to have it back even if we do have to look on and watch Jordan Henderson accept the trophy.

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