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Has the premier league season restart been a disappointment?

Premier League football is well and truly back. The title has been won and there’s still plenty to be won and lost at either end of the table as the 2019/20 seasons edges towards its conclusion.

The format of football has changed since ‘Project Restart’ began with no fans, backroom staff wearing face masks, mid-half drink breaks and the disinfectant of equipment. This is all part of the new normal for football, but has all the change left the Premier League season as a disappointment?

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In the earlier games of the restart, it was clear that games were scrappier and less entertaining. It was questionable how fit the players were and comparisons were being made with the pace of pre-season friendlies. This certainly showed in the first round of results with three 0-0 draws between Aston Villa and Sheffield United, Everton and Liverpool and Leicester and Brighton.

But, as the games have picked up momentum, there has been no lack of action on the pitch with plenty of high scoring fixtures. This weekend, Manchester United played out a sensational 5-2 thriller against Bournemouth, while Chelsea and Leicester both won 3-0. Last week, Sheffield United stunned Tottenham 3-1 and West Ham and Chelsea played out a dramatic game with the Hammers coming from behind to win 3-2 so there certainly hasn’t been a lack of action in the past few weeks.

EPL Preview Match 26

With most teams now having something to play for, as the points and league positions are so close, the competition is becoming fiercer throughout the league. The European places still need to be settled and five teams continue to battle against relegation. This adds to tension and drama heading into the final weeks of the campaign.

For instance, Norwich face Watford and West Ham within five days this week, fixtures which could determine the league status for all of these teams next year. Near the top, Wolves and Sheffield United paly each other in the race for Europe and Arsenal play Leicester as the Gunners look to make a late run for the top eight. Even teams like Everton and Newcastle, in 11th and 12th, can still make the European places. Such competition in the league adds to the entertainment value and this would have been lacking if the season was declared null and void earlier in the year.

The only clear disappointment of the Premier League return has been the lack of fans. While the league and broadcasters have done all they can to make it a realistic experience with canned crowd noises and sound effects, it really isn’t the same. Many have their preference and opinions on the option of crowd noises, but watching a match without it feels like a Sunday league game being played at the local park.

This was especially felt when Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 4-0 last month to take their biggest step towards winning the league. Anfield would have been full to the brim and the Kop electric, but, in some ways, these shared moments between fans and players now go missing.

PS: Check out our English Premier League Predictions