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Project Restart: How would a points-per-game system affect Premier League table?

:Headline: Project Restart: How would a points-per-game system affect Premier League table?:
Sports Mole looks at the impact of each method of ending the Premier League season should the 2019-20 be curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2019-20 Premier League season appears closer than ever to being completed after all 20 clubs agreed to resume play on Wednesday, June 17.

By that stage it would be exactly 100 days since the last Premier League match and Aston Villa, who were in action in that one, will be playing again when the campaign resumes.

Dean Smith's relegation-threatened side will welcome European hopefuls Sheffield United to Villa Park, while champions Manchester City take on Arsenal in the other rearranged fixture still outstanding.

The purpose of holding those two matches first is to get all clubs on an even keel in terms of matches played, lessening the danger of having to resort to deciding the final table on a points-per-game basis should they be unable to complete the season.

Curtailment of the 2019-20 campaign remains a possibility should the Premier League's plans not get the green light from the government, or if the number of coronavirus cases within football and the wider population begins to rise again.

Here, Sports Mole looks at the possible ways the Premier League season could end if that is not the case.

In all scenarios Liverpool would win the title, while Chelsea, Leicester and either Manchester City or Manchester United would qualify for the Champions League - depending on the result of City's appeal against their European ban.



The Premier League table as it stands

One option would be to end the season with current standings counting as final - as happened in the Netherlands and Belgium.

However, that possibility is fraught with complications, particularly due to the fact that Manchester City, Sheffield United, Arsenal and Aston Villa have all played a game fewer than the rest of the division.

That those discrepancies come in some crucial positions is the main reason why this method has been ruled out by the Premier League; victory for Sheffield United in their game in hand would mean the difference between Europa League and Champions League football next season, while for Aston Villa it would be the difference between relegation and survival.

Man City would not move up or down either way, but Arsenal could have climbed as high as sixth with victory in their game in hand.



Unweighted points-per-game table

If for any reason the Premier League is unable to be completed then an unweighted points-per-game system is expected to be implemented as a way of taking the games in hand into account.

The French and Scottish top flights took this approach too, although an obvious drawback is the fact that not every team has played the same opponents, and so those with easier or more difficult run-ins are not taken into account.

There would only be two positional changes in this scenario, but both could be important in the race for European football.

Sheffield United would leapfrog Wolverhampton Wanderers into sixth and therefore guarantee a place in the Europa League for 2020-21, where they could be joined by Arsenal, who would move ahead of their bitter North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur into eighth.

That standing could be enough for Europa League football next season, pending the result of Manchester City's appeal against their two-year ban.

Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich City would all still be relegated in this scenario, despite Villa's game in hand.



Weighted points-per-game table

One way of ensuring that both home and away form is taken into account is a weighted points system which takes each team's form from their own ground and their matches on the road to provide an average for each, which is multiplied across a 38-game season.

This has been discussed as a possible way to conclude the League One and League Two seasons, but as with the unweighted points-per-game technique is does not take into account the difficulty of opponents still to face.

West Ham United would be the big losers from this scenario - they would fall from 16th to 18th and subsequently be relegated from the Premier League, while Bournemouth would survive.

Aston Villa and Norwich would also go down, Sheffield United would finish sixth above Wolves and Spurs would keep their lead over Arsenal in eighth and ninth respectively.



Roll the season back to when all teams had played the same number of games

One left-field suggestion was to roll the campaign back to the point where every club was last level on games played - in this case gameweek 27.

However, this does not take into account recent improvements of form and would be particularly harmful to Watford, who would be relegated along with West Ham and Norwich.

The idea of expunging games after a certain date was considered in France but has never seriously been on the table for the Premier League given that only half of the positions from the current table would remain unchanged.

The top five would be unmoved, but Spurs would be sixth, Wolves would drop down to eighth and Bournemouth and Aston Villa would avoid relegation.



Roll the season back to the halfway stage

The only way to ensure that all teams had played the same opponents - and so eliminating the argument of easier or tougher remaining run-ins - would be to roll the campaign back to the halfway stage.

However, that would effectively mean wiping out the results of 10 fixtures for most clubs.

Leicester City would leapfrog Man City into second in this scenario, but the top five would otherwise remain unchanged.

Aston Villa, Watford and Norwich would be relegated, while Arsenal's final standing would be 13th and Newcastle United would shoot up to ninth. body check tags ::

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool34302275264992
2Manchester CityMan City34223986345269
3Chelsea341861063461760
4Leicester CityLeicester34178964323259
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd331510856332355
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34131384537852
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd34131293533251
8Arsenal34121485042850
9Burnley34147133846-849
10Tottenham HotspurSpurs33139115244848
11Everton33128134048-844
12Southampton33134164255-1343
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle341110133550-1543
14Crystal Palace34119143043-1342
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton34812143647-1136
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham3487194059-1931
17Watford34710173153-2231
18Aston Villa3376203662-2627
19Bournemouth3376203259-2727
20Norwich CityNorwich3456232663-3721
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool34302275264992
2Manchester CityMan City34223986345269
3Chelsea341861063461760
4Leicester CityLeicester34178964323259
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd341610858332558
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34131384537852
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd34131293533251
8Arsenal34121485042850
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs341310115244849
10Burnley34147133846-849
11Everton34129134149-845
12Southampton34135164356-1344
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle341110133550-1543
14Crystal Palace34119143043-1342
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton34812143647-1136
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham3487194059-1931
17Watford34710173153-2231
18Bournemouth3477203259-2728
19Aston Villa3476213664-2827
20Norwich CityNorwich3456232663-3721
Scroll for more - Tap for full version
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