Premier League restart: Clubs warm up with friendlies at stadiums
Premier League players will need to get used to the fact of playing in empty stadiums amid the coronavirus pandemic. This is perhaps the reason behind several Premier League teams holding training sessions at their grounds this week. Several teams have played full friendly matches to prepare the players. The EPL 2019-20 season is set to resume on June 17.
Mikel Arteta's Arsenal ran out 6-0 winners against Charlton Athletic in an inter-squad match at the Emirates Stadium. Eddie Nketiah scored a second-half hat-trick in addition to strikes from Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Joe Willock. Ninth-place Arsenal travel to Manchester City on June 17 to kick off their return to action.
At Old Trafford, Harry Maguire led a 'home' Manchester United team against an 'away' side captained by Bruno Fernandes. Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were seen playing as they returned from long injury lay-offs. They last played on January 15 and December 26 respectively. United, who are fifth, restart their season away at Tottenham on June 19. They host Sheffield United on June 24.
Chelsea held an in-house game on Saturday. Frank Lampard and his coaching staff officiated the match, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek scoring for the team donning the home jersey. Chelsea are above United in fourth and restart their campaign against struggling Aston Villa. Earlier this week, Liverpool held a series of short 11v11 matches at Anfield. Norwich and West Ham also returned to their stadiums.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa held a behind-closed-doors friendly against West Brom, who are second in the Championship, at Villa Park. Jack Grealish and Keinan Davis scored for the hosts as they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with the Baggies. Kamil Grosicki and Filip Krovinovic found the back of the net for the visitors.
Meanwhile, there were no positive results for coronavirus from 1,195 tests in the latest round of Premier League testing. The sixth round of testing took place on June 4 and 5. There have been 6,261 negative results in the first six rounds, besides 13 positive cases in total. The Premier League was earlier suspended since March 13 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.