Liverpool lead cut, Arsenal move up and Newcastle in trouble: Opta revise Premier League table for 80-minute games

By Rob Lancaster 5 May 2020 870
Liverpool lead cut, Arsenal move up and Newcastle in trouble: Opta revise Premier League table for 80-minute games

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.

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