The Coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on football with fixtures, leagues and competitions all postponed in recent weeks to stem the spread of the virus.
On March 13th, England’s Premier League, along with several other of the countries other domestic divisions, took the collective decision to suspend all play in light of the escalating health crisis until April 4th, though that date is expected to pushed further down the calendar when stakeholders meet to discuss the options open to them week.
While the game is undoubtedly in an unprecedented state of anarchy, the Premier League’s lengthy postponement does at least open up an opportunity for currently injured stars and players to make recoveries and comebacks in time for the season’s run in.
Losing players to injury at during any campaign can severely hamper a team’s chances of glory or survival, however, a player returning from a lengthy lay-off can provide a timely, and sometimes destiny-altering boost.
Almost all the clubs competing in the Premier League will have their squads boosted by the return of fit again players for the season’s final nine or 10 fixtures.
Let’s take a closer look at some of those players hoping to make a positive impact on their respective returns from injury.
Want to know what football is still on during the Coronavirus crisis? Read our guide to find out.
Injured players to return: Alisson Becker, Xherdan Shaqiri.
Champions elect Liverpool had only minor injury concerns to contend with before the Premier League season was interrupted. However, first choice goalkeeper Alisson, who was expected to miss the Merseyside Derby at least, will be fit enough to feature instead of the butter fingered Adrian when the campaign resumes – much to the Reds’ supporters’ relief.
Back-up winger Xherdan Shaqiri should also be available again to add depth when he returns from an injury that has kept him on the sidelines since January.
Injured players to return: Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sane
Manchester City’s pursuit of second place in the Premier League and of Champions League glory this season could well be given a huge shot in the arm by the return from injury of two key players.
Centre-half Aymeric Laporte had already missed a large chunk of the 2019/20 with a knee injury before he picked up a hamstring strain shortly after his return in February, though the 25-year old should be read to go when top-level football returns later this year.
Want-away winger Leroy Sane’s entire season and possible City swan-song looked like being scuppered by a cruciate ligament rupture last year, though the wide attacker will now be fully mended for the final throes of the Citizens’ campaign.
Could Sane could Bayern Munich this summer? Read all of the latest transfer rumours here.
Injured players to return: Daniel Amartey, James Maddison
Just before the official postponement of top-level English football, Foxes’ creative conduit James Maddison picked up a calf strain that would have seen him miss Leicester’s FA Cup clash with Chelsea and their league tussle with Brighton at the very least, however, the midfielder should be well clear of niggles by the time City take to the pitch again.
Utility player Daniel Amartey, who hasn’t featured in Leicester’s first team since last September, could also be available again after ankle surgery.
Flying fullback Ricardo Pereira, who damaged his ACL earlier this month, probably won’t play football again this year however.
Injured players to return: N’Golo Kante, Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Frank Lampard will have welcomed a raft of first team squad members to the fold by the time Chelsea get their campaign back under way.
N’Golo Kante and Tammy Abraham had relatively minor ailments, while Callum Hudson-Odoi has been battling the effects of the Coronavirus.
Christian Pulisic has been out of action since January with an abductor muscle problem, while Ruben Loftus-Cheeks’ absence will span over a year before he makes his long-awaited return from an Achilles tendon rupture.
Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic was expected to sit out several of Chelsea’s matches with an Achilles problem of his own, though the talented technician will be back when the Blues get going again.
Injured players to return: Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford
Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will likely be handed a major double boost in his attempts to secure Champions League football for Man Utd when football resumes, with the return to fitness of two of his most talented stars.
Controversial French international Paul Pogba has missed almost the entire 2019/20 season so far with a mysterious ankle injury, and while the midfielder isn’t exactly a fan favourite at the moment, he remains the most naturally gifted player at Old Trafford.
A lower back stress fracture put paid to Marcus Rashford’s brilliant individual campaign in January, however, now the blossoming attacker could have the time he needs to recover fully ahead of United’s fixture laden run in.
Injured players to return: Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, Steven Bergwijn
With their season on the verge of collapse and their attacking options decimated by injury, the enforced break from Premier League football will likely strengthen Tottenham Hotspur and Jose Mourinho’s hand more than most.
High-profile attacking duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min’s seasons had been derailed by thigh and elbow injuries respectively, though the pair will almost certainly be available for selection again when football is back.
New signing Steven Bergwijn, who was expected to be sidelined for up to a month with an ankle problem, will also be back in the fold for Spurs when the campaign re-ignites later this year.
Injured players to return: Lucas Torreira, Calum Chambers
Combative holding midfielder Lucas Torreira’s ankle injury had looked like finishing the Uruguayan’s season when he picked it up earlier this month, but with a mid-May return pencilled in, the 24-year old should be back to complete the campaign.
Centre half Calum Chambers’ knee injury is likely to keep him out until late August, however, with the Coronavirus still to peak, the defender could find that he still has 2019/20 football to play when he is fully fit again.
Injured players to return: Jay Rodriguez, Matthew Lowton, Ashley Barnes, Johann Berg Gudmundsson
Defender Matthew Lowton, midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson and attacking pair Ashley Barnes and Jay Rodriguez should return to add numbers and quality to Sean Dyche’s Clarets squad in time for the last quarter of the season.
Frontman Ashley Barnes hasn’t featured for Burnley since January 1st, while Lowton hasn’t’ kicked ball in anger since February 2nd. Gudmundsson and Rodriguez picked up injuries just before the hiatus, but now they should have ample time to recover.
Injured players to return: Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Morgan Schneiderlin, Seamus Coleman
Carlo Ancelotti will be desperate to guide Everton to a top-half finish in his first season in charge at Goodison Park, and the experienced Italian coach’s aspirations could be helped by the return of some key personnel.
Toffees’ captain Seamus Coleman had been ruled out for six to eight weeks with a thigh injury at the end of March, though his period of recuperation will likely run alongside the duration of the Premier League’s postponement.
Midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Jean-Philippe Gbamin should also have time to recover their fitness after surgery.
Injured players to return: Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle, Ciaran Clark, Jack Colback, Martin Dubravka, Paul Dummett
The make-up of Steve Bruce’s Newcastle squad could look very different by the time the Premier League announces it’s return later this year.
Key performer Martin Dubravka had been expected to miss a month of action between the sticks for the Magpies, but now it looks as though the stopper won’t miss a minute of football.
Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle, Jack Colback and Paul Dummett are also likely to have shaken off their fitness issues to aid Newcastle’s push for a strong finish to the campaign.
Injured players to return: Jose Izquierdo, Steven Alzate, Aaron Connolly
Explosive Colombian fullback Jose Izquierdo hasn’t played a minute of first team football for Brighton this season following the major knee injury he suffered in April 2019, though the 27-year old should still have a part to play before the current campaign finishes.
Brighton chose to send Steven Alzate and Aaron Connolly under the knife for minor reparative procedures when the Premier League suspended play, and both should be fit and firing upon the division’s resumption.
Injured players to return: Ryan Fredericks, Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere
West Ham’s bid for Premier League survival should be given a lift by the return of injured trio Ryan Fredericks, Andriy Yarmolenko and Jack Wilshere……………..that is of course if club executive Karren Brady is denied her wish to cancel the entire season.
Fredericks had surgery to fix a shoulder problem in February, while Yarmolenko hasn’t been available for selection since December. The perennially injury prone Jack Wilshere hasn’t played since October and wasn’t expected to feature again this season, though the Premier League’s postponement substantially changes his outlook.
Injured players to return: Gerard Deulofeu, Daryl Janmaat
Relegation candidates Watford were dealt a major blow when flying winger Gerard Deulofeu damaged his cruciate ligament at the beginning of the month, and though his period of rehabilitation is likely to stretch until September, the Coronavirus crisis means that the current season could well be pushed close to or even past the Spaniard’s return date.
Experienced Dutch defender Daryl Janmaat, who has been absent since November, should also recover just in time from knee surgery to play a part this season.
Injured players to return: Lloyd Kelly, Charlie Daniels, David Brooks, Steve Cook
It feels like Bournemouth have been in the midst of an injury crisis of some sort for the entire 2019/20 season so far, though there could finally be some blue skies i on the horizon in terms of fitness news for Eddie Howe.
With top-flight football shelved, Lloyd Kelly, Charlie Daniels and David Brooks should have enough time to recover from long-term injuries to join the Cherries’ fight for survival, while Steve Cook’s thigh injury was recent enough to allow him to get back to full health without missing any games.
Injured players to return: Wesley, Tom Heaton, John McGinn
Beaten Carabao Cup finalists Aston Villa will be doing everything in their power to avoid more domestic woes in the form of relegation this season, and they will be banking on the availability of some key player for the run in to help their cause.
Dynamic Scottish midfielder John McGinn was on the cusp of a first team return before the Premier League’s postponement, though stopper Tom Heaton and big money signing Wesley have plenty more work to do before they return.
Both players are aiming to be back fit by the end of August, and though that seems like a long time away now, there are no guarantees that the current campaign will have finished by then.
Injured players to return: Timm Klose, Sam Byram, Oriel Hernandez
With six points between them and safety, bottom club Norwich are hanging on to their Premier League status by their fingernails, though the Canaries won’t have given up hope of mounting a late charge to beat the drop.
Their slim hopes could be widened by the return of injured trio Timm Lose, Sam Byram and Oriel Hernandez however. The latter of the aforementioned injured players had been expected to miss out on the remainder of the 2019/20 season, but now there is a chance that both could return City’s final fixtures.
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