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Coronavirus latest: Which teams could benefit from Premier League postponement?

With football on lockdown across Europe, Sports Mole looks at which Premier League clubs could benefit from the suspension of play given their form and fitness.

The sporting world is still coming to terms with the sweeping postponements and cancellations caused by the coronavirus outbreak, leading to doubt and uncertainty regarding the immediate future of a number of leagues and clubs.

The Premier League is arguably the highest-profile competition to be hit by the pandemic so far, with the 2019-20 campaign stranded on 29 games for most teams and the fate of those whose positions are still undecided hanging in the balance.

Liverpool and Leeds United could yet be denied long-awaited glory if the season is declared null and void, while the battles for European qualification and Premier League survival still have plenty of questions unanswered.

The postponement is certainly worse news for some clubs than others, though, and here Sports Mole looks at which teams could benefit from the suspension providing the season is eventually completed.



Tottenham Hotspur

Harry Kane in Spurs training on March 9, 2020© Reuters

Spurs only looked to be going in one direction for the remainder of the campaign until it was called to a halt, with Jose Mourinho currently enduring the worst spell of his managerial career and repeatedly drawing attention to his side's crippling injury list.

Last week's Champions League defeat to RB Leipzig made it no wins and five defeats in their last six matches across all competitions, and they had been due to face an in-form Manchester United side next too.

In addition to getting them out of the rut which their form had left them in, the break in play will also allow Tottenham's key absentees to edge ever closer to fitness again, with Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn all long-term injury concerns.

Should the Premier League return when currently scheduled on April 4 then Sissoko is the only one of those who may be in contention to feature, but if as expected the suspension drags on for longer than that then Kane and Son could also come back into the picture - a welcome relief given Tottenham's troubles in front of goal.



Aston Villa

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith on March 1, 2020© Reuters

Another club who suffered a dreadful run of form before the postponement, Aston Villa will be hoping more than most that the season does get completed eventually given that they currently lie in the relegation zone.

The Villans' situation is made even more complicated by the fact that they have a game in hand over the teams above them and are just two points adrift of safety - victory in that game in hand would lift them up to 16th.

Dean Smith's side have lost their last five games in a row, though, including a 4-0 drubbing by Leicester City in what was the last Premier League match to be played prior to the suspension.

John McGinn is almost certain to be available again once play resumes, which will be a huge boost to Villa, and should the season not be completed until the summer then there is even the prospect of Wesley and Tom Heaton, who both suffered ACL injuries in the same game, returning before the new end of the campaign.



Chelsea

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard applauds on January 11, 2020© Reuters

Chelsea currently have one of the longest list of absentees in the Premier League, and so a break in play will allow Frank Lampard's squad to heal up with key players such as N'Golo Kante, Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic pencilled in for early-April returns.

The Blues were one of the first Premier League clubs affected by COVID-19 after Callum Hudson-Odoi contracted the virus and will have felt that they were beginning to build momentum again following back-to-back home wins over Liverpool and Everton by an aggregate scoreline of 6-0.

However, given the improving form of Manchester United behind them in the race for fourth place they may not be too upset at having some time off, particularly given that they were due to face Bayern Munich away in the Champions League in a likely futile bid to overturn a 3-0 first-leg deficit.

Matches against Manchester City and Leicester City are among the others to have been affected by the postponements and, while they will likely need to complete those fixtures anyway, they will much prefer to do so with a fully fit squad.



Bournemouth

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe on February 1, 2020© Reuters

Few teams have been hit as badly as Bournemouth when it comes to long-term injuries, so if the freeze on football extends into the summer then the Cherries could begin to welcome some key players back.

David Brooks, Charlie Daniels, Steve Cook, Lloyd Kelly and Arnaut Danjuma are among the players who have either already been sidelined for a significant length of time or are now facing a spell out through injury, leaving Eddie Howe's options severely depleted for much of the campaign.

Simon Francis, Artur Boruc, Chris Mepham and Joshua King were among the other injury concerns prior to the suspension, with no club hampered by a treatment room as full as Bournemouth's at the moment.

Add to that a run of four games in which they have picked up just one point to slip into the relegation zone, and Bournemouth may be relatively relieved that the season has stopped at this stage.



Newcastle United

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce reacts on February 29, 2020© Reuters

Newcastle are another club whose enforced absence from competition will allow them to rehabilitate some of those on their lengthy injury list, including the likes of Andy Carroll, Emil Krafth and Dwight Gayle.

Martin Dubravka sustained an injury shortly before the league was postponed but may now not miss a single game, while Jack Colback could also be back in contention before the end of the campaign.

The Magpies would need a major delay to the remainder of the season if they were to welcome Ciaran Clark, Jetro Willems and Paul Dummett back, with all three of those players having been ruled out for the rest of 2019-20 as things stand.

The suspension does come after Newcastle had won back-to-back matches and ended their Premier League goal drought, although they have still only scored once in the league since January and so any extra time on the training field may be used on finishing sessions.

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Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark pictured in November 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool32282270254586
2Manchester CityMan City32213881334866
3Leicester CityLeicester33177963313258
4Chelsea331761060441657
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd331510856332355
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33131374536952
7Arsenal33121384941849
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd32121193332147
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs32129115144745
10Burnley32136133645-945
11Everton32128124047-744
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle32119123343-1042
13Crystal Palace33119132840-1242
14Southampton32124164155-1440
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton33812133544-936
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham3286183856-1830
17Watford33610172952-2328
18Aston Villa3276193660-2427
19Bournemouth3376203259-2727
20Norwich CityNorwich3356222561-3621

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