Troy Deeney is expected to return to Watford training after holding positive talks with health officials.

The Hornets captain, though, detailed the significant abuse he had received after initially opting not to train when clubs were permitted to resume non-contact sessions.

Deeney, 31, had concerns over the health of his son – who has breathing difficulties – and statistics that showed BAME people were more at risk from COVID-19. 

He is now poised to join his team-mates when Watford train next week after the approval of contact training, having held discussions with Dr Jonathan Van-Tam, the Government's deputy chief medical officer, and the Premier League.

"I only said that I wasn't going back for the first week," Deeney told CNN. "People took that as I'll never go back.

"Jonathan is doing really well, not only answering questions, he has also been honest enough to say at times: 'I don't have the answer'.

"The first conversation I had with Jonathan was maybe three weeks ago. The last conversation we had was on Friday and he had so much more information, so much more detailed analysis.

"So it just filled me with confidence that he's trying his best to make sure that we have all the information. The risk factor will be down to players.

"He's been doing very, very good research and there is a lot of goodwill on his part to tell me, ultimately, that I'm going to be looked after as best as they can.

"Ultimately, there is going to be some form of risk for all of us going back to work. Lockdown [ending] and the social distancing measures coming down mean people will still always have risk."

Deeney said some of his meetings with the Premier League were "productive", while others were "heated". 

"I needed more questions answered with a bit more authority and, at the start, they couldn't really do that, but it was just because they didn't have the information," he said.

"I think everyone can appreciate everything that the Premier League is trying to do as well. I don't think it's a pure neglect of: 'We're going back to work and get on board or [else],' it's nothing like that. They have very good lines of communication.

"There's some frustrating conversations. When somebody said I'm at the same risk of getting coronavirus by playing football or going to the supermarket, I said: 'I've never had to jump for a header while picking up a cucumber'."

While the issue over his training dilemma appears to be solved, Deeney was unhappy with abuse he received, particularly that which targeted his son.

He added: "I saw some comments in regards to my son, people saying: 'I hope your son gets coronavirus'. 

"That's the hard part for me. If you respond to that, people then go: 'Ah, we've got him' and they keep doing it.

"In a time where it's all about mental health and everyone says: 'Speak up, speak out,' Danny Rose spoke out – and I spoke out and we just get absolutely hammered and battered for it.

"The missus gets direct messages and you'll be walking down the street and people will be like: 'Oh, I'm at work, you go back to work’."

Watford captain Troy Deeney believes the integrity of the Premier League season is "already gone" and said the coronavirus pandemic has spoiled Liverpool's dominance.

Liverpool held a 25-point lead atop the Premier League table when the campaign was suspended in March due to COVID-19.

While the Premier League is bidding to restart its season, Deeney has spoken about his health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And the 31-year-old forward feels for Liverpool because their dominant season has been spoiled.

"I believe that when it comes to the integrity of this season anyway, it's already gone," Deeney told CNN.

"I feel sorry for Liverpool because no matter how it plays out, they deserve to win the league. They deserve to get the trophy.

"But no matter how it plays out, even if we play all the games, it's still going to be the year spoiled by the pandemic.

"It's not going to be that year that Liverpool won the league being the best team and, you know, it's 30 years they haven't won for."

Liverpool had won 27 of 29 Premier League games this season, with one draw and a loss to Deeney's relegation-threatened Watford, who ended their 'Invincibles' bid.

But Deeney said the integrity of this Premier League campaign had been ruined.

"I do feel sorry for Liverpool and their players and Jordan [Henderson, captain], but in terms of integrity, there's no way you could say that this is a viable competition," he said.

"It's like running a marathon, 20-odd miles, stopping for two months and then sprinting the last bit and going: 'Ah, that was a good time that.'"

Gary Neville is optimistic the Premier League will vote to restart the season in the near future, but he expects more players to drop out.

The United Kingdom government has given Premier League teams the green light for "close-contact" and "competitive" training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Following that advice, top-flight teams, who are already training in small groups while following social distancing measures, will vote on Wednesday over whether they will proceed to contact training, representing phase two of Project Restart.

Former Manchester United captain Neville is glad a return to action is on the horizon, but he feels more stars will follow the lead of Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante and Watford forward Troy Deeney, who have opted not to train for personal reasons.

"I think the clubs will unanimously vote to restart the season in the next few weeks," Neville said to Sky Sports.

"I think there will be a few more players who drop out. I don't think it helps that the Premier League are relying on government advice and we are all watching what's going on with the government at this moment in time.

"The Watford situation seems to have the most focus at this moment but Kante missing for Chelsea is an absolutely huge blow for them from a football point of view, but you completely understand it from a personal point of view.

"That situation seems to have been accepted more than the Watford situation because there is this doubt, this lingering doubt, that the clubs at the bottom are trying to exploit the situation."

Neville added: "Everyone's saying it, the bottom six will be thinking, what's the upside for us? They really will. They'd much prefer null and void but that doesn't seem the scenario right now.

"Every single scenario has to get played out. They have to manage everything because you don't know [what might happen].

"If a load of players go down with coronavirus from a couple of teams, you have to then play out that situation - what if they can't fulfil the fixtures?

"At least they're doing it and fingers crossed, we can get football back on the menu very soon.

"I think relegation will happen and points-per-game will come into play if clubs for any reason can't compete the season."

Christian Kabasele joked Watford are "injecting" COVID-19 into players and staff members in a sarcastic response to the club being accused of trying to avoid relegation.

Watford spent much of the Premier League season in the bottom three but sat 17th when the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the suspension of play in England's top flight in March.

Adrian Mariappa confirmed he was one of three people from the Hornets – and six across the Premier League – to test positive for the virus in the first round of analysis conducted by clubs last Sunday and Monday.

Watford captain Troy Deeney has refused to return to training due to health concerns and has voiced his opposition to the season resuming, which it is hoped will happen by June 12.

The club also opposed plans to play the remaining Premier League fixtures at neutral venues.

Kabasele hit out at a Twitter user who claimed Watford have been tactically trying to stop 2019-20 reaching its conclusion on the pitch to ensure their top-flight status is retained.

The centre-back posted: "So let me explain our tactic: we are doing one injection of COVID-19 once a week.

"We draw the player/member of staff who gets it [and] like this we are sure that we never play again and avoid relegation."

Kabasele finished the tweet with an emoji of a man facepalming.

When the same Twitter user said Kabasele should "get back to work", he replied: "Can I laugh at someone who can say to someone that he should 'GET BACK TO WORK' when actually he went back to work…

"And it's not a question of being a coward or not when literally you can kill someone from your household if they get the virus from you. Anything else?"

The Premier League announced on Saturday that the second round of coronavirus tests returned two positives from as many clubs.

Watford defender Adrian Mariappa has revealed he tested positive for coronavirus.

The Premier League announced six positive results from three clubs on Tuesday after 748 tests were carried out on players and staff at 19 of the top-flight teams.

Burnley confirmed that assistant Ian Woan had tested positive and Mariappa on Wednesday spoke of his surprise at finding out he has COVID-19.

"It's quite scary how you can feel absolutely fine and not really have left the house, and yet still get the virus," Mariappa told Telegraph Sport.

"If it wasn't for the fact I had gone back to training and had this test, then I'd never have found out that I had the virus and I would just be getting on with things as normal. That's obviously quite a strange thought.

"I live with three of my children, who are five, nine and 11, and my partner and, obviously, now I'm a bit worried about them.

"They are all fine and are not showing any symptoms, but you can't help but think about it and keep your distance once you know you've tested positive."

Those who tested positive will self-isolate for seven days.

A player is among three people to test positive for coronavirus at Premier League club Watford.

The Hornets confirmed on Tuesday that all three will now self-isolate for seven days, in line with competition protocols, before being tested again.

"Watford Football Club confirms that three people have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus following testing at the training ground over the past 48 hours," the club said.

"Of those three positive tests, one is a player and two are members of staff. All three have asked that medical confidentiality be respected and, therefore, the club will not be naming those involved.

"All three will now self-isolate for seven days – in line with the protocols set out in Premier League guidelines – before being tested again at a later date.

"Strict adherence to the Premier League guidelines has ensured the training ground remains virus-free and a safe environment for the players to continue to work."

There were six positive results for COVID-19 from among 748 tests carried out on Premier League players and staff throughout Sunday and Monday.

Ian Woan, the Burnley assistant manager, has been named as one of the positives. The Clarets said he was asymptomatic and self-isolating as per regulations.

Watford captain Troy Deeney has previously spoken out in opposition to plans to get the 2019-20 campaign back underway, with the Premier League having been suspended since March.

Teams have been allowed to resume non-contact training this week with a view to a return to matches next month as part of 'Project Restart'.

However, Deeney insisted he was not prepared to risk becoming infected at training and then spread it to his family, particularly amid concerns that black, Asian and minority ethnic people are more susceptible to the virus.

He told Eddie Hearn and Tony Bellew on Talk the Talk YouTube show: "It only takes one person to get infected within the group and I don't want to be bringing that home.

"My son is only five months old, he had breathing difficulties, so I don't want to come home to put him in more danger."

Coronavirus tests carried out on Premier League players and staff returned six positive results across three clubs, it has been confirmed.

The Premier League announced the results after 748 tests were administered across Sunday and Monday.

Those who were positive have been ordered to self-isolate for a week.

A statement read: "The Premier League can today confirm that, on Sunday May 17 and Monday May 18, 748 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19.

"Of these, six have tested positive from three clubs.

"Players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days. 

"The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and oversight.

"No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the Premier League due to legal and operational requirements."

The Premier League, like most major sporting competitions across the globe, has been on hiatus since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A decision to suspend the competition was taken after Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi were both found to have contracted COVID-19.

The Bundesliga became the first major European league to resume action at the weekend, while Premier League clubs have voted to return to training in small groups without contact work from Tuesday, despite reports over conflicts of interest among the 20 teams on aspects to do with 'Project Restart'. 

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said on Monday there was flexibility on the June 12 target for fixtures to be played. 

Barcelona and Juventus are getting close to an incredible exchange deal.

Miralem Pjanic has continued to be linked with a move to Camp Nou, although there has been uncertainty over how, and if, Barcelona could get a transfer done.

It seems they are on the verge of sealing a deal for the midfielder.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, JUVENTUS CLOSE TO AGREEING EXCHANGE DEAL

Barcelona and Juventus are close to agreeing an exchange deal involving four players, according to Sport.

It says Pjanic and Mattia De Sciglio will join Barca, with Jean-Clair Todibo – who is on loan at Schalke this season – and Arturo Vidal or Ivan Rakitic heading to Turin.

Barcelona have also been linked with moves for Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar.

ROUND-UP

- Kingsley Coman is wanted by three of Europe's biggest clubs. Sky reports Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City are interested in the Bayern Munich attacker.

- Linked with a move away from Tottenham, Tanguy Ndombele may be going nowhere. The Mirror says Spurs will not allow the midfielder, reportedly a target for Barcelona, to leave this close season.

- Another Spurs player, however, could leave. Tottenham defender Juan Foyth, who is contracted at the club until 2022, is being eyed by Barca, according to the Mirror.

- It seems Angel Gomes is leaving Manchester United. The Mirror claims Chelsea feel they are close to landing the midfielder, whose deal at Old Trafford expires at the end of June.

- Real Betis and Portugal midfielder William Carvalho is drawing plenty of attention. Diario de Sevilla reports Wolves are the latest club to join the race for Carvalho, who has been linked to Tottenham, Monaco, Leicester City and Watford previously.

Whenever English football is able to resume following the coronavirus pandemic, things will undoubtedly be different.

Spectators are seemingly unlikely to be inside stadiums to see the action unfold, while Premier League players and staff may need to be quarantined away from families for their safety. Seasons may still be played out to a conclusion, but just not when we quite expected on the calendar.

However, could shorter games also be the future?

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor suggested as much during an appearance on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Tuesday.

"We don't know the future, what we do know is what propositions have been put, what ideas have been put, the possibility of having more substitutes, games possibly not being the full 45 minutes each way," he said.

With Taylor's comments causing quite a stir on social media, Opta worked out how the Premier League table would look right now if teams had played 80-minute matches instead - and the revised standings made for interesting reading.

 

Liverpool still remain well clear at the summit, of course, yet their 25-point lead over Manchester City would be whittled down to 15. The top four remains the same as the current table in terms of positions, though Manchester United close the gap to Chelsea for the final Champions League spot.

Arsenal receive a welcome bump up from ninth to sixth after gaining three points, just ahead of Crystal Palace and comfortably clear of rivals Tottenham, who slip into the bottom half.

Not going for the full 90 works out nicely for Aston Villa and Bournemouth, though, as they gain six and four points respectively to climb out of the relegation places. Watford are another to benefit, moving further clear of danger.

The team to suffer under the change are Newcastle United, as a deduction of seven points sees them slip to 19th, sandwiched by Brighton and Hove Albion and Norwich City. The Canaries do actually add five points to their current tally, yet still prop up the rest.

Such a scenario is hardly Taylor made for potential new owners at Newcastle, although they would still have games to play to get out of trouble.

Watford have confirmed former France youth international Pape Gueye will join on a free transfer from Ligue 2 side Le Havre in July.

Gueye, a defensive midfielder who came through Le Havre's academy, has signed a deal until 2025 effective from July 1, with his contract in France expiring at the end of June.

The 21-year-old has represented France up to Under-19 level and is said to have been tracked by numerous top-fight clubs around Europe, including Arsenal and Milan.

The Gunners were even said to have been close to agreeing a deal for Gueye in February, but instead the midfielder will move to Vicarage Road.

A Watford statement confirmed his pre-contract agreement has already been "lodged with all relevant authorities".

Ben Foster believes Premier League clubs must commit to a blanket policy on pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic, or else it could "get a bit messy".

The topic of footballers' salaries is in the spotlight after health secretary Matt Hancock suggested players in the top flight should make a contribution to help during the health crisis.

The Premier League called for players to take a 30 per cent pay cut in a statement released on Friday, though the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) responded by pointing out such a move would lead to a loss in important revenue via tax contributions.

Watford goalkeeper Foster revealed there is an "understanding" from players that something needs to be done during these unprecedented times, but said any action - whether through salary cuts or wage deferrals - should come as a united front.

"Pretty much every footballer I've spoken to... I think it is something we understand, we completely agree that something needs to be done," Foster told talkSPORT.

"But from a player's point of view, and I’m sure the PFA will be talking about it today. As long as it is done in a structured manner.

"It is important to cover every team with the same [policy], whether it's a deferral or a cut, so that we are all under the same blanket.

"Now, more than ever, it is so important that we do this together. When you start getting teams doing their own individual wage cuts or deferrals, that's when it starts to get a bit messy.

"I know from talking to everyone at Watford that we are understanding that this needs to happen.

"Something like this is unprecedented. No one knows where it's going or how hard it's going to be. If we can do something in the meantime, you've got to do it."

The Premier League season is suspended indefinitely due to the virus, though there remains a commitment to completing the 2019-20 fixtures.

As the world continues to battle against the coronavirus pandemic, football fans across the globe face another weekend scratching around for something to fill the void.

The domestic calendar in England has been halted in a bid to reduce social gatherings and the Premier League has confirmed its fixtures will not resume at the start of May.

While we cannot say for sure how this weekend's Premier League fixtures would have gone, our friends at Opta have come up with a system to predict the outcomes.

What chance would your team have had? Take a look below.

Predictor explainer:

The Opta Predictor estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) given each team's attacking and defensive quality. The team's attacking and defensive qualities are based on four years of historic results, with more weighting given to their most recent results. The model will take into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes against and reward them accordingly.

ASTON VILLA v WOLVES

Home win: 27 per cent
Draw: 28 per cent
Away win: 45 per cent

Struggling Aston Villa were rated as unlikely to get a key victory in their battle against relegation in their scheduled fixture at home to Wolves. A home win is the least likely of the three results, with Villa having lost five straight matches across all competitions. Top-four chasing Wolves have only won five of 14 top-flight away games this season, but are backed to pick up a sixth here.

BOURNEMOUTH v NEWCASTLE UNITED

Home win: 39 per cent
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 32 per cent

The predictor percentages for this match are all in a very close range across the three results, indicating how hard it would have been to call. Home advantage sees Bournemouth, who sit in the bottom three, rated as narrow favourites, as they were bidding to end a four-match winless run against a Newcastle side sitting five places and eight points above them.

ARSENAL v NORWICH CITY

Home win: 67 per cent
Draw: 21 per cent
Away win: 12 per cent

The predictor rated Arsenal versus Norwich City as the most one-sided match of the week, with the Gunners given a massive 67% chance of victory. No other team got over the 50% mark. Three straight wins boosted Mikel Arteta's men prior to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Meanwhile, bottom-of-the-table Norwich only have one win in 15 away attempts in this season's Premier League.

BRIGHTON v MANCHESTER UNITED

Home win: 25 per cent win
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Of the 10 away teams in action, Manchester United were rated as the second-most likely to earn victory in their contest at Brighton and Hove Albion. Prior to the halt in football, United had closed within three points of Chelsea in the race for fourth place, while struggling Brighton are still yet to win a match in 2020.

CRYSTAL PALACE v BURNLEY

Home win: 41 per cent
Draw: 30 per cent
Away win: 29 per cent

No game in this match week was rated as more likely to end in a draw than the mid-table battle between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park. Sitting 10th and 11th, Palace and Burnley are level on points and also have the same goal difference, with Sean Dyche's side only ahead in the table due to goals scored. It is Roy Hodgson's hosts who would have gone into the clash with a narrow advantage in win probability.

WATFORD v SOUTHAMPTON

Home win: 39 per cent
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 32 per cent

Another tight match would have seen Watford host Southampton as Nigel Pearson's side continue their battle against relegation. Playing at home and with a win over Liverpool in their last contest at Vicarage Road, they would have gone in as very slight favourites, but Saints sit seven points better off and this is another that goes down as too close to call. 

SHEFFIELD UNITED v TOTTENHAM

Home win: 32 per cent
Draw: 30 per cent
Away win: 38 per cent

A game between two teams chasing a European place, Sheffield United and Tottenham, was the one the predictor had significant trouble calling a winner for. At 30%, it is tied with the Palace v Burnley contest as the most likely draw of the weekend. Interestingly, Spurs – who have not won for six games - do go in with a better chance of victory despite the contest being held at Bramall Lane and Sheffield United, by contrast, being on a six-match unbeaten run.

WEST HAM v CHELSEA

Home win: 25 per cent
Draw: 27 per cent
Away win: 48 per cent

Of the 10 away teams, Chelsea are given the best chance of victory in their match on the road against West Ham. Frank Lampard's men thumped Everton 4-0 before the break in action and are given a 48% chance of following that up with a win over their London rivals West Ham, who are on a poor run of one win in 10 games.

MANCHESTER CITY v LIVERPOOL

Home win: 46 per cent
Draw: 27 per cent
Away win: 27 per cent

Unquestionably the biggest match of this week was due to be second-placed Manchester City's clash with runaway league leaders Liverpool. After an almost perfect season, Jurgen Klopp's men had finally started to show some vulnerability prior to the suspension of action. They had lost three of their last four games in all competitions and the predictor believes they were most likely to go down to another defeat here, although surely it would not have been enough to derail their title bid.

EVERTON v LEICESTER CITY

Home win: 36 per cent
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 35 per cent

The closest match of the week is the game that was going to be the Monday night contest between Everton and Leicester City. The predictor can hardly split the two teams, with Everton given a 36% chance of winning, compared to 35% for the Foxes. Of the teams who are favourites, Carlo Ancelotti's men have the lowest percentage. They would have come into the game having collected only one point from three games, but those were against Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. Leicester are third but without a win in three top-flight away fixtures.

With football no closer to being resumed as the coronavirus pandemic continues, players across Europe's top-five leagues have lots of time to pore over their performances from this season.

Using Opta data, we have already examined some of the worst attacking numbers from 2019-20, so now it's the turn of those ball-playing technicians: the pass-masters.

We have analysed nine key metrics for outfield players to play in at least 10 league games this season, thereby giving us a good summary of those whose passing could use some improvement. Those metrics are focused on the number of passes (overall, in a player's own half and their opponent's half), the accuracy of those passes, corners and crosses, and losing possession.

As always when it comes to data, context is key. For instance, we have included overall accuracy percentages to give balance to the simple number of passes. A team's playmaker or set-piece taker, for example, is arguably more likely to have a larger number of misplaced passes than team-mates simply because he will be attempting more of them, and often in difficult areas.

It's also worth noting that the number of times possession has been lost excludes 'Hoofs' (which, by their nature, make losing the ball more common), while corner and crossing accuracy is taken only from those to attempt, on average, at least one per game.

That said, the below gives a good indication of some passing figures that need improvement - and there are one or two surprising names...

THE WORST PASSING STATS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

BUNDESLIGA:

Most passes failed: Robert Andrich (291)
Worst passing accuracy: Anthony Modeste (55.4 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Jamilu Collins (110)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Kai Proger (60.5 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Sebastian Andersson (215)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Anthony Modeste (42.1 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Filip Kostic (199)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Wendell (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost: Filip Kostic (616)

LALIGA:

Most passes failed: Leandro Cabrera (352)
Worst passing accuracy: Enric Gallego (48.6 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Pervis Estupinan (94)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Sergio Leon (57.1 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Joselu (283)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Leandro Cabrera (43.5 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Jesus Navas (134)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Karim Benzema (0 of 19)
Most times possession lost: Pervis Estupinan (534)

LIGUE 1:

Most passes failed: Issiaga Sylla (281)
Worst passing accuracy: Suk Hyun-jun (44.8 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Fabien Centonze (111)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Suk Hyun-jun (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Andy Delort (238)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half:  Suk Hyun-jun (44.4 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Mathieu Dossevi (142)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): M'Baye Niang (0 of 11)
Most times possession lost: Angel Di Maria (539)

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most passes failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (480)
Worst passing accuracy: Christian Benteke (52.4 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Cesar Azpilicueta (132)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Matej Vydra (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (359)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Christian Benteke (48 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (246)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Gabriel Martinelli (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (867)

SERIE A:

Most passes failed: Stefano Sabelli (324)
Worst passing accuracy: Lautaro Martinez (59.5 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Stefano Sabelli (94)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Stefano Sabelli (230)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Florian Aye (58.5 per cent)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Roberto Inglese (54 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Erick Pulgar (134)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Kevin Lasagna (0 from 13)
Most possession lost: Stefano Sabelli (494)

AND THE TOP NINE:

Most passes failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (480)
Worst passing accuracy: Suk Hyun-jun (44.8 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Cesar Azpilicueta (132)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Suk Hyun-jun and Matej Vydra (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Trent Alexander-Arnold (359)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Anthony Modeste (42.1 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (246)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Wendell and Gabriel Martinelli (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost: Trent Alexander-Arnold (867)

As the world continues to battle against the coronavirus pandemic, football fans across the globe face another weekend scratching around for something to fill the void.

The domestic calendar in England was halted last week in a bid to reduce social gatherings and the Football Association confirmed its leagues would not return until at least the end of April.

While we cannot say for sure how this weekend's Premier League fixtures would have gone, our friends at Opta have come up with a system to predict the outcomes.

What chance would your team have had? Take a look below.

 

Predictor explainer:

The Opta Predictor estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) given each team's attacking and defensive quality. The team's attacking and defensive qualities are based on four years of historic results, with more weighting given to their most recent results. The model will take into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes against and reward them accordingly.


 

BURNLEY v WATFORD

Home win: 49 per cent
Draw: 26 per cent
Away win: 25 per cent

Watford may have handed Liverpool their first defeat of the Premier League season, but with just one victory in their past three visits to Turf Moor it is Burnley who are expected to win by the predictor. Sean Dyche's side have gone unbeaten in seven top-flight matches to move into a more comfortable position in the middle of the table.

CHELSEA v MANCHESTER CITY

Home win: 30 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Manchester City are the pick to prevail at Stamford Bridge, a ground where Pep Guardiola has lost on two of his three Premier League visits. Kevin De Bruyne's winner in September 2017 fired City's charge to a 100-point title romp but goals from N'Golo Kante and David Luiz saw the Blues hand Guardiola's men the first league defeat of their triumphant 2018-19 campaign. Kante and De Bruyne were both on target when the sides met at the Etihad Stadium back in November, before Riyad Mahrez sealed a 2-1 comeback win for the hosts.

LEICESTER CITY v BRIGHTON

Home win: 62 per cent
Draw: 22 per cent
Away win: 16 per cent

Brighton won at Arsenal back in December, but that was just one of two away victories for the Seagulls so far in the Premier League this season, so their prospects at Leicester were inevitably looking bleak. After a worrying slump, Leicester looked to have rediscovered their mojo by the time the league ground to a halt, with Jamie Vardy back on the goal trail following a drought. Leicester’s nine wins at the King Power Stadium this term looked highly likely to become 10.

LIVERPOOL v CRYSTAL PALACE

Home win: 76 per cent win
Draw: 16 per cent
Away win: 8 per cent

A predicted triumph for Liverpool at Anfield is by no means a surprise given they are on a top-flight record of 22 straight home wins. With just an eight per cent chance of winning, Palace had the lowest chance of victory in this round of fixtures. However, with City predicted to come out on top against Chelsea, the Reds' wait to clinch the Premier League title would have continued.

MANCHESTER UNITED v SHEFFIELD UNITED

Home win: 48 per cent
Draw: 30 per cent
Away win: 22 per cent

The halt in football action came at a bad time for Manchester United, who were on a magnificent roll - 11 matches unbeaten with eight victories. The Opta predictor backed the hosts to continue that run, but at 48 per cent, a home win was seen as far from a certainty. Amid an amazing season, Sheffield United are just two points behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men and at 30 per cent, it is the most likely contest on the matchday to end in a draw. That was also the outcome in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane in November.

NEWCASTLE UNITED v ASTON VILLA

Home win: 54 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 22 per cent

The predicted win for Newcastle is something Aston Villa – second from bottom and 10 points shy of Steve Bruce's men – could ill afford in reality. Newcastle are unbeaten in five matches at St James' Park, although that run includes three consecutive 0-0 draws. Villa have lost four in succession in the Premier League and only won three times in the top flight since beating the Magpies 2-0 in the corresponding fixture on November 25.

NORWICH CITY v EVERTON

Home win: 28 per cent
Draw: 26 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Norwich prop up the Premier League table and the predictor reflects as such, with Everton having a greater chance of victory on the road. The Toffees' last win at Carrow Road came in 2004, though, and Everton were beaten 2-0 at home by Daniel Farke's side back in November, Todd Cantwell and Dennis Srbeny with the goals at Goodison Park.

SOUTHAMPTON v ARSENAL

Home win: 28 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 48 per cent

Southampton’s resurgence during December and January had given way to a worrying patch of form over February and early March. Ralph Hasenhuttl's men did beat Aston Villa at home, but this Arsenal side under Mikel Arteta’s leadership are a different prospect to the team Saints held 2-2 in north London back in November. The Gunners are unbeaten in the Premier League in 2020, and they would have fancied claiming all three points on offer at St Mary's.

TOTTENHAM v WEST HAM

Home win: 70 per cent
Draw: 17 per cent
Away win: 13 per cent

The Hammers were not predicted to fare particularly well at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but they did defy the odds with a 1-0 win at the same venue in April 2019, Michail Antonio scoring the winner. Tottenham were the victors in the reverse fixture this season, a 3-2 triumph in Jose Mourinho's first match in charge.

WOLVES V BOURNEMOUTH

Home win: 58 per cent
Draw: 23 per cent
Away win: 19 per cent

Wolves are unbeaten in all three of their Premier League matches against Bournemouth, including a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture, and the predictor has them as the more likely winners on this matchday. That would come as a welcome relief to Wolves, who have won just one of their last five home top-flight matches, while Eddie Howe's men would be primed for a seventh consecutive away loss.

The Premier League has been suspended until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so what does that mean for the rest of the season?

Decisions made by UEFA and CONMEBOL to push back Euro 2020 and the Copa America until 2021 opened the door for domestic competition to continue longer than initially planned.

Upon announcing a four-week extension to the initially planned hiatus on Thursday, the Football Association (FA) revealed it would allow its leagues to continue beyond the June 1 deadline set out in its regulations.

The eventual run-in could prove to be heavily congested. Some Premier League teams are still competing on three fronts, others possess a game in hand, while UEFA is still hoping for a round of international matches in June.

If no games are cut out, we look at how the calendar for English teams could hypothetically shape up if competitions across Europe were able to resume following April 30.

 

May 2/3 - Matchday 30

May 7 - Postponed Europa League last-16 first legs and unplayed matchday 29 games

May 9/10 - Matchday 31

May 12/13/14 - FA Cup quarter-finals

May 16/17 - Matchday 32

May 19/20/21 - Champions League and Europa League last-16 second legs

May 23/24 - Matchday 33

May 26/27/28 - Champions League and Europa League quarter-final first legs

May 30/31 - Matchday 34

June 2/3/4 - Champions League and Europa League quarter-final second legs

June 6/7 - Matchday 35

June 13/14 - International week

June 20/21 - Matchday 36

June 23/24/25 - Champions League and Europa League semi-final first legs

June 27/28 - Matchday 37

June 30/July 1/2 - FA Cup semi-finals

July 4 - Matchday 38

July 7/8/9 - Champions League and Europa League semi-final second legs

July 11 - FA Cup final

July 15 - Europa League final

July 18 - Champions League final

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