PL: Teams warm-up for a restart with stadium friendlies
Playing in empty stadiums is the new norm footballers will have no choice but to get used to. In preparation for the League return on 17th June, teams warm up with stadium friendlies.
The Premier League is set to resume on 17th June after its suspension on 13th March. Warming up with stadium friendlies might be the reasoning behind several Premier League teams to give a taste of what is yet to come.
At Old Trafford, Harry Maguire captained a “home” Manchester United team against an “away” side led by Bruno Fernandez.
The stadium friendly marked the first time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men played on home soil since their 2-0 win over derby rivals Manchester City on 8th March.
It had been even longer for Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba to last feature for United on 15th January and 26th December respectively before the long injury lay-offs.
They both donned the red team kit as Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka joined Fernandez in the away team for the match refereed by fitness coach Charlie Owen.
With United currently at fifth in the League’s title race, they will restart their season away at Tottenham on 19th June before welcoming Sheffield United at the Theatre of Dreams on 24th June.
Rather than an inter-squad match, Arsenal went one step further and welcomed Championship strugglers Charlton to Emirates Stadium.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners ran out 6-0 winners over the Addicks with Eddie Nketiah scoring a second-half hat-trick in addition to strikes from Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Joe Willock.
Ninth-place Arsenal travels to Manchester City on 17th June to kick off their return to action.
Frank Lampard took his Chelsea players to Stamford Bridge for a change from their Cobham training base, holding an in-house game on Saturday.
Lampard and his coaching staff officiated the match, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek scoring for the Blues in blue.
Chelsea is three points above United in fourth and resumes their campaign at Aston Villa.
Villa held a behind-closed-doors friendly against West Brom who are second in the Championship at Villa Part.
Jack Grealish and Keinan Davis scored for the hosts as they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with the Baggies, for whom Kamil Grosicki and Filip Krovinovic found the back of the net.
Newcastle took a trip home St James’ Park for an inter-squad friendly which finished in a 1-1 draw. Joelinton gave his side-wearing the Magpies’ orange strip-the lead before Nabil Bentaleb equalized for those wearing the black and white kit with a stunning strike from outside the box.
Earlier this week, Liverpool held a series of short 11v11 matches at Anfield while Norwich and West Ham returned to Carrow Road and London Stadium respectively.