The Premier League is set to return to action on June 17 after more than two months away from our screens.
The coronavirus pandemic brought England's top division to an unexpected halt in March and a protracted debate as to how the 2019/20 season should be completed has unfolded ever since.
And despite the leagues in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Scotland calling it a day, everything points towards the Premier League seeing out the campaign behind closed doors.
From there on in, all 20 clubs will be slugging it out to avoid relegation, qualify for Europe or in the case of Liverpool, see out the most inevitable title race in Premier League history.
- There will be 32 consecutive days of La Liga football when it returns
- Premier League reveal four positive tests for COVID-19
- Premier League planning 'TV bonanza' with 10 games played back-to-back
Premier League prediction
However, not every narrative thread is as much of a foregone conclusion as Liverpool's, so we couldn't help wondering how we think the Premier League table will eventually finish up.
Like with any footballing prediction, we've probably made a complete hash of things, but we couldn't help embracing the excitement by creating our own forecast for the final push.
So, get ready to type out an angry comment or reach for your nearest pitchfork, because here is the GIVEMESPORT prediction for the final 2019/20 Premier League table after lockdown:
20. Norwich City
We like you Norwich, we really do, but just two wins since the back end of November makes us feel pretty confident that there isn't a great escape on the cards when you return from lockdown.
Aside from having only won twice since mid-December, the fact Eddie Howe's men still need to play Manchester United, Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester City again means we're almost certain their five-year stay in the top division is coming to a close.
18. West Ham United
Perhaps the most controversial of our relegation nods, but with the Hammers boasting a pitiful 25% win rate under David Moyes, they're bound to decline from a 'new manager bounce' that can barely be called a 'new manager bounce'.
Their first three games back in action against Wolves, Spurs and Chelsea will completely ruin their confidence, though it could all come down to their trip to Villa Park on the final day.
17. Aston Villa
Speaking of Villa... they have their fair share of difficult fixtures coming up soon and don't think we're backing them to dodge the drop by anything more than a point or perhaps even goal difference.
But with a Team of the Season-bound Jack Grealish pulling the strings in midfield, we think they could outscore some of the teams around them to safety.
16. Brighton & Hove Albion
Just three losses in 2020 means Graham Potter's men are one of the sturdiest teams near the bottom and while, yes, they haven't won any either, they're the relegation candidates least likely to have a meltdown by our estimations.
It seems bizarrely generous to give Watford such a lofty position, but lest we forget that merely two points separate this position and the relegation zone at present.
So, it's going to be a close call, but Nigel Pearson's relegation-dodging expertise and the confidence boost of beating Liverpool will do enough to airlift them from a one-way ticket to the Championship.
Again, it's pretty tight in mid-table, so this is no major slight on Ralph Hasenhüttl, but there's no denying that the air has been let out the incredible renaissance they experienced in the winter.
Don't expect much more than Danny Ings scoring enough goals to keep them clear of a relegation scrap.
13. Newcastle United
Not much to say here other than the fact Newcastle's form is a little up and down just like their remaining fixtures, so maintaining their current position feels about right.
12. Crystal Palace
This seems a little harsh considering Palace's last three leagues game all resulted in victories, but still having to face four of the traditional 'top six' and having their momentum spoiled means we're predicting them to drop a spot.
If there's a team that taking a break for coronavirus has particularly stifled, then it's Burnley, who entered the lockdown period sitting pretty in second place on the form table with no defeats since January 11.
But with that momentum kneecapped by two months off and trips to the Etihad Stadium and Anfield still to come, we predict them to narrowly tumble into the bottom half of the table.
It's crazy to think that the Toffees are less than 10 points from fifth place and we think lockdown will suit them better than most teams, giving Carlo Ancelotti some much needed time to instil his attacking brand of football.
We expect to see a more swaggering versions of the Merseysiders that will do enough to sneak past Burnley and Palace for a place in the top half.
9. Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs can kiss goodbye to any hopes of Champions League qualification, so there's not all much to play for and early banana-skin fixtures with United and Sheffield United could kill off Jose Mourinho's motivation all together.
And as much as we're backing Harry Kane's return to get them some unexpected points, we're going with the history books as far as Spurs finishing above Arsenal is concerned.
Don't get too excited, Gooners, you're not making a dramatic charge for the top four, but we do think Mikel Arteta will reverse the current one-point deficit to Spurs, even though we're predicting them to lose their game in hand at the Etihad.
Easy three points are for the taking at Villa Park, the Amex Stadium and at home to Norwich.
7. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Like it or not, the gridlock of teams battling for the top four means the cookie is going to crumble in an ugly arrangement for one club and we think Wolves will be the unlucky side branded with 'seventh'.
Roman Abramovich will be doing backflips if our prediction comes true, but don't think for one minute that dropping Chelsea two places means we're expecting some sort of meltdown.
That being said, their grip on fourth place stands at a mere three points and their wonky form at Stamford Bridge means they're the team in the hunt that we expect to suffer the most upset defeats.
5. Sheffield United
Assuming the Blades win their game in hand which, considering it's against 19th-placed Villa, we suspect they will, fifth place will automatically be their's and we back Chris Wilder to hold the fort through game-week 38.
But most importantly of all, we reckon they'll emerge victorious when Chelsea travel to Bramall Lane and that's why we're giving them the narrowest of edges even with their inferior goal difference.
4. Manchester United
Bring on the hate. Go on, give us your worst.
The Red Devils are fourth in the form table without a defeat since January, fresh from wins over Chelsea and City, find themselves just two points shy of fourth AND have top-scorer Marcus Rashford returning from injury.
Chuck in fixtures with relegation-fighting Norwich, Villa, Bournemouth and Brighton to see there's plenty of scope for United to hoover up the points.
3. Leicester City
As much as people like to think the Foxes are going to implode on the home straight, we're struggling to imagine a scenario where they surrender a five point advantage.
Brendan Rodgers is one of the safest pair of hands in the division, relegation candidates Brighton, Bournemouth and Watford are still on their fixture list and two trips to north London are their only tough-looking away ties.
2. Manchester City
There's talent oozing from just about every position in Pep Guardiola's squad, so we can't possibly envisage a world where they throw away second place, but they can't possibly work the miracle needed to retain their trophy either.
Do we even need to justify this? I mean, come on, we know Liverpool have a history of bottling things, but even they can't manage to throw this position away. Surely... surely? Right?
Still so much to play for
Ok, sue us, we've played things relatively safe.
There was 10% of us that imagined the league could descend into utter chaos on the basis this short of mid-season break is unprecedented, but these are professional athletes, we think they'll be well prepared.
Perhaps the only area in which we could be completely wrong is reading too much into home and away fixtures because the lack of fans seems to have removed any advantage in Germany.
All that being said, we still fancy United to squeeze their way into the Champions League places and there's just something that tells us West Ham are dropping back to the Championship.
But when the world's most unpredictable league has been made even more unpredictable, it's probably safe to imagine we're miles off with this forecast. One can hope.News Now - Sport News