The Premier League returned on Wednesday after a three-month absence – however not as we all know it.
After 100 days with out soccer motion because of coronavirus, the season received again underneath means, with a very completely different look.
Aston Villa and Sheffield United met within the first match again, taking part in out a 0-Zero draw within the 6pm kick-off, nevertheless it was not with out controversy.
That was adopted by a giant conflict as The Etihad as Pep Guardiola’s Man City welcomed again former assistant supervisor Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal aspect, dominating them in a 3-Zero win.
Here are 10 issues we observed from the Premier League restart.
1. Solidarity for Black Lives Matter
The Premier League have thrown their full assist behind the Black Lives Matter, and despatched out a robust message on its return to motion.
All gamers had their names on their shirts changed by Black Lives Matter, which might be repeated in all fixtures all through the primary spherical of video games.
Not solely that, however the matches had been briefly paused instantly after kick-off, with each participant and match official taking a knee on the sector.
It was a powerful show of solidarity, and one which soccer can construct on.
2. Subs galore
It was a case of subs galore for every crew, as 9 gamers lined every bench – 5 of which had been accessible to make use of.
Well we are saying bench, because of social distancing the subs had been pressured to sit down a couple of seats aside within the stands.
And Man City nonetheless managed to complete with 10 males, although Pep Guardiola could not have foreseen the sickening collision which ended Eric Garcia’s night time after he’d already used his full quota.
At one level Guardiola threw three subs on in a single go – which help any dramatic gung ho ways because the season reaches its finale.
3. Strange drinks break
Following three months with out soccer, the Premier League are eager to function on a security first foundation – and have even carried out a drinks break in every half.
This could also be extra of use within the coming weeks if groups are taking part in in sizzling circumstances, for now it offers gamers an opportunity to get a fast drink whereas limiting considerations over coronavirus.
Each participant has to drink from their very own bottle, and care should nonetheless be taken to not come into contact with others.
Wonder how they are not shelling out half-time oranges…
4. Teams emerge from tunnel individually
Gone are the pre-match handshakes, even the over-friendly variations between worldwide teammates within the tunnel.
Premier League protocol calls for each groups enter the sector individually and in a staggered method.
Makes sense, and it most likely would have saved Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira some bother had it been in place years in the past.
5. Crowd noise on TV
Behind closed doorways soccer won’t ever not be bizarre.
The lack of environment, the deathly silence, the random shouting.
It’s all only a bit odd.
Thankfully Sky have made efforts to attempt to fight it by permitting viewers to play simulated crowd noise via their TV’s whereas a match is happening.
Not solely that, however a choose variety of followers are additionally getting their reactions filmed – with Man City even exhibiting them on a display behind the objective.
6. We shall not be moved
Fans have been informed to keep away from stadiums, they usually’ve adopted orders thus far.
Having mentioned that there are a couple of supporters nonetheless determined to get their matchday repair.
One pair of Aston Villa followers even thought up a novel tactic to get a style of the motion, by watching the match from a laptop computer underneath a gazebo down the street from the bottom.
7. Clean as a whistle
The nook flags should be questioning what they’ve achieved to obtain such therapy – they’ve by no means been so clear.
As a part of the rules, internet hosting golf equipment are required to make sure all tools, together with targets, flags and nets are totally disinfected.
Brace your self for lots extra photos of masked males spraying down flags throughout the nation.
8. Marauding pundits
With the shortage of followers now current, Sky Sports have seemingly given their pundits licence to roam.
With Gary Neville supporting Martin Tyler on commentary duties, there was no room for Jamie Carragher within the gantry, who was chosen as a substitute handed a free position.
And he put it to good use.
Midway via the primary half of City’s conflict with Arsenal, Carragher popped up on the opposite aspect of the pitch, shielding himself from the rain by his umbrella – Steve McClaren-esque.
Later he was again within the stands, protecting a secure distance from Sky colleague Geoff Shreeves.
Wonder the place he’ll be when Liverpool seal their title triumph?
9. Celebrations permitted
There had been fears soccer could be returning with out the standard added factor of theatre, as celebrations got here underneath scrutiny,
But any considerations of celebrations being banned have been put to mattress, as City’s gamers congratulated their teammates on hitting the again of the web.
Although we’re most likely not going to see anybody kissing cameras anytime quickly.
10. Stadium decorations
There could also be empty seats, however Aston Villa and Man City have provide you with a intelligent means of creating their stadiums look much less desolate on matchdays.
Both golf equipment have adorned their stands with large banners, which go spherical the bottom, and making it appear a bit extra homely.
Sign as much as the Mirror Football electronic mail right here for the most recent information and switch gossip.