Premier League: 6 games at neutral venues
Last week, when the Premier League confirmed plans to restart football on June 17, six matches were singled out to be staged at neutral venues.
Those fixtures are as follows:
– Manchester City v Liverpool
– Manchester City v Newcastle
– Manchester United v Sheffield United
– Newcastle v Liverpool
– Everton v Liverpool
– The game in which Liverpool could secure the title
Why Man United vs Sheffield United is included?
Of those six games, the Manchester United versus Sheffield United match seems like the odd one out.
This match isn’t a local derby, and there’s no real history of any significant rivalry between the teams.
However, ESPN’s James Olley has provided a few explanations for why this fixture has been highlighted.
Back in 2016, when Man United were drawn against the Blades in the FA Cup, trouble broke out in the streets. The BBC reported at the time:
More than 100 fans were involved in city centre violence ahead of Manchester United’s game against Sheffield United on 9 January 2016.
11 Man United fans received banning orders as a result.
James Olley also noted that the proximity between the clubs is also a concern, while the fact that the two clubs are both vying for a Champions League berth is another consideration.
Can see why at first glance the Man Utd v Sheff Utd game looks an odd selection for a neutral venue. Am told it relates in part to issuing of 11 banning orders after fans from the two club fought in a city centre pub in 2016. Proximity of two cities, race for Europe also factors.
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) May 29, 2020
For the record, if Sheffield United beat Aston Villa when the league resumes, the Blades will move above Man United into 5th spot.
That would currently qualify Sheffield United into the Champions League, as second-placed Man City are presently banned by UEFA.
Man City are scheduled to appeal that ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on June 8.
Liverpool set to play Premier League games at Wembley
As previously mentioned, three Liverpool games are also set to be played at neutral venues.
Matches against Everton, Man City and Newcastle have all been flagged as high risk.
On top of that, any Liverpool game which could seal the Premier League title would be added to this list.
Liverpool have objections to having these games played at neutral venues, as reported in the Guardian, and it’s possible that the Premier League ultimately scraps these plans.
However, in the event Liverpool do need to find a neutral venue for these fixtures, the Mirror on Sunday believe Wembley Stadium could stage these games. Readers are told:
Wembley is emerging as the most likely venue for Liverpool’s Merseyside derby with Everton AND their clash with Manchester City.
While there are still a good number of Liverpool, Everton and City supporters in London, Wembley is deemed to be the best option for those two games.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) May 30, 2020
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