The Premier League suspending its season last month due to the global coronavirus pandemic delayed Liverpool’s inevitable clinching of their first top-flight title in three decades by at least two months.
The Reds, who were six points from winning their first-ever Premier League title, won’t lift the trophy until May at the absolute earliest. The season is suspended through at least April 30, and league executives reportedly will discuss what the remainder of the season could look like in a Friday conference call.
There wasn’t much drama remaining in Liverpool’s title challenge, but the same couldn’t be said for the rest of the Premier League by the time it closed its doors. Every club had at least nine matches remaining, with multiple spots for next season’s European competitions, all three relegation places still up for grabs and bragging rights in some of England’s best rivalries still unsolved
Which storylines would’ve captured our attention? Here are the five we’d be most closely monitoring had the Premier League season continued uninterrupted.
Wednesday's Manchester City-Arsenal match at Etihad Stadium has been postponed "as a precautionary measure on medical advice" after Arsenal personnel came in contact with Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who tested positive for the coronavirus, Manchester City said in a statement.
"Manchester City FC wishes Mr. Marinakis a speedy recovery, and further information will follow in the coming days about rescheduled dates, but supporters are advised not to travel to Etihad Stadium for this fixture," the statement read.
The postponed match is England's first due to the spread of the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has deemed COVID-19. Marinakis, who also owns Championship side Nottingham Forest, posted on his Instagram on Tuesday that the virus "visited" him and he is following doctors' instructions.
Manchester City's move comes a day after manager Pep Guardiola told reporters he would prefer postponing fixtures rather than playing in empty stadiums. Spain currently is playing matches without fans, while Italy -- amid the coronavirus' widest outbreak in Europe so far -- has indefinitely postponed all sporting events.
"I would not love to play matches in the Premier League or Champions League or the cups without the people," Guardiola said Tuesday. "But we are going to follow the instructions of the governments. Everybody around the world is involved in that and we just follow what we have to do and follow the instructions."
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UEFA rejected Wolverhampton Wanderers' request to postpone their Europa League Round of 16 match at Olympiakos on Thursday. Wolves will travel to Greece on Wednesday, playing in front of an empty stadium after the Greek government barred spectators from sporting events for two weeks last Sunday. Manchester United will play Austrian club LASK behind closed doors Thursday as well.
The United Kingdom currently has 373 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to NBC News reporting, the WHO, state government leaders and health officials. Six people have died in the UK.
Bragging rights are on the line when Manchester United hosts Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday.
United, who won the last head-to-head Premier League matchup with City on Dec. 7, will look to complete the league double with a win.
City are entrenched in the No. 2 spot in the Premier League table with no chance of catching first-place Liverpool. But a win over their rival would further increase the gap between them and third-place Leicester City.
United, currently seventh in the Premier League table, are one point behind Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wolves. A win Sunday combined with a loss by Chelsea to Everton would bring The Red Devils even with The Blues for the fourth-most points.
A lot is on the line in Sunday's Manchester derby.
Here's how to watch Manchester United-Man City live online and on TV:
When: Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. ET/9: 30 a.m. PT