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The Blog is Back

The Blog is Back

Editor’s Comment

By Henry Thomas-Aldridge

First of all, as the new Sports Editor at Riverside Radio, it gives me great pleasure to introduce our first sports blog. Over the coming weeks and months we’ll have a variation of posts on our blog, and for us, there is only one place to start!

I think I speak for everyone that whatever form football is returning in, we’re all excited! No crowds… but more free-to-air games than ever before. Pumping out fake crowd noise to make the atmosphere better, but then… pumping out fake crowd noise to make the atmosphere better.

Only the top 2 tiers of English football are returning, leaving many of our local sides without much needed match-day income. And it’s not just football clubs suffering, several of our other local sports clubs and personalities have struggled through this period as well. Have a look at which local sport clubs and figures are instrumental in your community and see if they need any help or are looking for volunteers to help others.

During lockdown we have aired 2 Sport Shows a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 3pm. We’ve been looking at how sport in our local area has been affected by Coronavirus but have also done several features and even announced a manager LIVE on air. You can listen back to all our shows here.

It’s certainly going to be a strange end to the season (and potentially longer) but we’re happy to have some sport back to talk about. So in this first blog, Elijah Allotey sets out what’s at stake in the final few Premier League games of the season.

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The Prem is Back!

By Elijah Allotey

On Wednesday it will be 100 days since the last Premier League game took place on Monday 9th March, a resounding 4-0 victory for Leicester City over Aston Villa.

Since then certain leagues around the world have continued but the major leagues have only just returned. The Bundesliga, with their German efficiency was first, with Italy and Spain following suit.

It’s refreshing to have football return. It feels like we are slowly returning to some sort of normal. It will be interesting to see how the game in England adapts to the after-effects of the pandemic.

With hopes that the campaign can be finished before the end of July we are in for a packed few weeks.

As things stand, all Premier League games for the remainder of the 2019-2020 season will be played behind closed doors. Clubs will be able to make five substitutions rather than the usual three as well as having a bench of nine players rather than seven.

We will have to get used to seeing the likes of the 99,354 capacity Nou Camp completely empty. Credit: Pixabay

With only 2 Victories needed, Liverpool have stormed to within touching distance of winning the league. They will be ending a 30-year title drought.

Jurgen Klopp’s side could clinch the trophy in their first game back against rivals Everton. But, only if City lose to Arsenal and they win. Phenomenal for a team that has won 27 times this season and only seen one team take maximum points off them.

Race for the Top 4

Manchester City, Leicester City and Chelsea are odds on to join Liverpool in making up the top four in the league. However, there is still time for the likes of Manchester United, Wolves, Spurs, Sheffield United and Arsenal to mount a challenge.

Leicester increased their chances of finishing third after beating relegation battlers Villa before the season was halted.

That win also maintained a five-point margin over third placed Chelsea, who kept a three point buffer over Manchester United, with a 4-0 win over Everton.

Manchester United are hot on the heels of Chelsea after beating their rivals Manchester City 2-0 and were on a 5-game unbeaten run before the lockdown.

To make matters even more interesting, Wolves, Sheffield United, Spurs and Arsenal could all put themselves in the mix.

Wolves have established themselves as a top side and Arsenal are on a 3-game winning run. Sheffield United will believe they can challenge anyone after mounting an unlikely European qualification challenge and Spurs now have a lot of their key players returning from injury.

There’s certainly going to be some key battles in the final games to decide who will be on their European travels next season.

Sitting in 9th, even Arsenal will be dreaming of playing in Europe next season. Credit: Pixabay

Who’s going down?

Norwich sit at the bottom of the table and are favourites to go down, even after a decent return to the top-flight with wins against Champions, Manchester City, and Newcastle.

They have 21 points and are 6 points from safety. Their last game before lockdown was a 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United. Their first game after the lockdown is against Southampton which has to be seen as a must win game.

Brighton, West Ham, Watford and Bournemouth are all in this fight but Villa have the worst record of all these sides. They’ve lost their last 4 matches, last tasting victory in January.

Bournemouth have also desperately struggled and are in dire need of a win. They’ve lost 3 of their last 4 going into lockdown.

I think Norwich, Villa and Bournemouth will go down. I feel like West ham, Watford and Brighton will all have enough to be safe.

Spurs hadn’t even been in their new stadium for a year before the lockdown. Credit: Pixabay

Once the league returns it will be strange having no fans in stadiums, that will take some real getting used to. I do feel for many of the sides battling relegation. Home games at this part of the season are crucial and that advantage will be sorely missed.

Many international tournaments have been moved to next year. It’s great for players like Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford, as it gives them another shot at the Euros.

But this stretch of games and the added number of players on the bench will also hopefully provide youngsters with an opportunity for minutes and stake a claim for the England squad next summer.

It may not be back as we know it, but i’m so happy that the Prem is back!!

June 16th, 2020

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