One narrative to follow for each of the 20 Premier League clubs
Other than winning the title, qualifying for Europe and avoiding relegation, there is a storyline that makes every team worth watching between now and the end of the season.
Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future
One of the biggest questions for Arsenal surrounds their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has just a year left on his deal.
The Gunners' skipper has already been linked to several of the biggest clubs in Europe, but will he continue his prolific form and sign a new deal at the Emirates? Or has his head been turned?
Aston Villa – Dynamic duo back together
Every club suffers injuries, but Aston Villa have been particularly unfortunate to lose half of the dynamic midfield duo that won them promotion last season.
Grealish has been brilliant this term, but the return of John McGinn from injury should result in Dean Smith’s team improving a lot.
Bournemouth – Win-win for David Brooks
It’s a similar story at Bournemouth, for whom the absence of David Brooks has been felt harder than anybody could have expected.
The Welshman surely won’t be at Dean Court next season if the Cherries are relegated so this unexpected run of fixtures is a win-win for him: keep them up or impress potential suitors.
Brighton – Potter must work his magic
Graham Potter was handed a new six-year contract in November after a positive start as Brighton manager.
The Seagulls’ style of play has continued to impress, but goals and points have dried up. The pressure is on Potter to ensure that the worst doesn’t happen, otherwise he and the club will face questions about why they committed to each other for so long so soon.
Burnley – The emergence of Dwight McNeil
Dwight McNeil has grown from being a promising youngster into a key creative force for Burnley since breaking into the team last season.
With the pressure off between now and the end of the season, he has the opportunity to continue his rise to prominence – and perhaps secure a big transfer.
Chelsea – Pressure on Tammy Abraham
Now that their transfer ban is over, Chelsea have wasted no time in securing a deal for RB Leipzig and Germany striker Timo Werner.
With one of Europe’s best prospects set to arrive at the Bridge, the pressure is now on Tammy Abraham to deliver. It’s hard to imagine that he could have had a better season in Frank Lampard’s first team, but it looks like he’ll need to do much more to keep his spot.
Crystal Palace – Zaha’s last chance to impress
At 27 years old, and with the coronavirus pandemic affecting the finances of every major club on the planet, Wilfried Zaha must be wondering whether he will ever get his big move from Crystal Palace.
He must rip it up between now and the end of the season to stand any chance of a transfer this summer. If he does, it will be worth watching.
Everton – Delay Liverpool’s title celebration
Everton are arguably the Premier League team with least to play for.
Carlo Ancelotti will use the remaining games to help decide who he wants to sell and who he wants to keep for next season – and they will be pretty keen to prevent Liverpool from winning the title at Goodison Park on the first weekend back, too.
Leicester City – Vardy on the verge of PL greatness
Not only do Leicester stand on the verge of another Champions League campaign, but their talisman is close to further reinforcing his status as a Premier League great.
Vardy currently leads the race for a first Golden Boot by two goals, while he is just one strike away from becoming the 29th member of the division’s 100-goal club.
Liverpool – History is within their grasp
Liverpool will be named 2019/20 Premier League champions, that much is clear. Even if the season is forced into a second suspension, the Reds will likely be awarded the title on a points-per-game basis.
The question now is: just how good can their season be? They have already collected 82 points and, with a potential 27 still remaining, they could easily break City’s 100-point mark from 2017/18.
Manchester City – Leroy Sane’s return
City’s failure to keep pace this season cannot be attributed to one thing, but the absence of Sane on the left flank hasn’t helped.
A serious knee injury has seen the winger miss the entirety of the season so far, but he is now on the verge of his long-awaited comeback. He could help salvage some pride for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Manchester United – Paul Pogba is back
United’s record signing has played just seven matches in all competitions this season owing to a recurring ankle injury.
Now back to full fitness after the enforced break, Pogba presents a selection headache for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Can he play alongside Fred? Will he link up well with new signing Bruno Fernandes? The final nine games of the season will go a long way to determining his future at the club.
Newcastle – Takeover distraction
The potential departure of Mike Ashley and the moral and political wranglings that a Saudi Arabian takeover would bring are set to dominate Newcastle’s remaining matches.
Steve Bruce’s side are not yet safe from relegation, though, and must produce on the pitch despite knowing that plenty of them could be out of a job by August.
Norwich City – Several exciting young players
In a current and post-Covid-19 world, football clubs are going to need to need every penny going, particularly those outside the Premier League.
If Norwich are relegated in the next six weeks, they still need some eye-catching performances from Ben Godfrey, Jamal Lewis, Emi Buendia and others so that they can demand big transfer fees for them this summer.
Sheffield United – Players must impress brutal Wilder
Despite being on the verge of European football in their first season back in the Premier League, this Sheffield United squad will know they cannot be complacent.
Chris Wilder is known to be brutal in the transfer market. He made several signings last January despite the Blades being well on their way to promotion and wasted no time in replacing John Lundstram, who had impressed in the first few months of this campaign, with Sander Berge in January.
The Blades’ key first-teamers must impress right to the very end if they want to remain at Bramall Lane for another season.
Southampton – Hasenhuttl is in it for the long-term
Southampton have been rewarded for sticking by manager Ralph Hasenhuttl since October’s humbling 9-0 defeat to Leicester, ranking ninth in the Premier League since then.
Handing a new four-year contract to Hasenhuttl suggests that the club still has every confidence in the German’s vision and a few good results in June and July will set them on their way to making a much better fist of things next term.
Tottenham – The return of Harry Kane
This season has not gone to plan for Tottenham or for Jose Mourinho, with their four-year run in the Champions League looking unlikely to continue.
Their slim chances of breaking into the top four have, however, been boosted by the return of Harry Kane, who could give them an edge in that battle.
Watford – Watch out for Ismaila Sarr
It took Ismaila Sarr a few months to get his Premier League career going, but his devastating performance in Watford’s stunning win over Liverpool in February signalled that he is very much at home now.
Any Premier League left-backs feeling the effects of a quick return to action will not want to come up against the Hornets’ record signing.
West Ham – All eyes on Jarrod Bowen
Jarrod Bowen made a fast start to life at West Ham before the lockdown, impressing in the vital win against Southampton in February.
He scored 17 goals for Hull before his January move and his direct style is bound to catch the eye before the end of the season.
Wolves – Traore aiming to continue stunning season
The story of Wolves’ season so far has been the emergence of Adama Traore as a bona-fide Premier League-quality player. The winger has terrorised some of the division’s best defences and registered four goals and seven assists.
If Wolves are to secure another season in Europe, and if Traore is to truly establish himself as a top-flight star, then that form simply has to continue into the restart.
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