Top four, Thierry Henry’s record & Golden Boot: What’s up for grabs ahead of Project Restart

There's plenty left to play for in this season's Premier League, with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal locked in a top-four battle, and Liverpool targeting the title
There’s plenty left to play for (Picture: Getty)

We’re a day away from the return of the Premier League.

No ball has been kicked in English football’s top flight since Monday 9 March, when Leicester City hammered Aston Villa 4-0, before the coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be paused.

Relegation-threatened Villa will also be the first team back in action this Wednesday, when they face Champions League hopefuls Sheffield United – a match that could have plenty of implications at both ends of the table.

With nine full gameweeks to go, there’s an awful lot left to play for in Project Restart – here’s a reminder of what’s still up for grabs.

Title and points record

Yes, Liverpool could still technically miss out on a first Premier League title – but it seems virtually impossible.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have a commanding 25-point lead over nearest rivals, and defending champions, Manchester City and it would take a phenomenal meltdown for them to fail to lift the trophy come the end of the season.

Liverpool need just two wins to secure the title and could possibly do it in their first game back – against bitter local rivals Everton – should Pep Guardiola’s City lose to Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League
Klopp and co. are chasing the title (Picture: Getty)

The Reds are also in the frame to surpass City’s record points tally – set two seasons ago.

Should Liverpool win all nine of their remaining fixtures they will end the campaign on 109 points – nine clear of City’s 100-point record. Six wins from nine would draw them exactly level.

With Liverpool out of the Champions League and FA Cup, they only have the league to play for so they can make a real push to state their claim to be the greatest Premier League team of all time.

Champions League spots

With Manchester City facing a ban from European competition, fifth place could be enough to secure a Champions League spot, however, teams will be determined to clinch a top-four position to guarantee entry.

Liverpool and Manchester City look set to finish in the top-two, with Leicester currently closer to City than fourth-placed Chelsea.

Then, it’s very tight.

Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Carabao Cup Round of 16
Solskjaer and Lampard’s teams are in the mix for top-four (Picture: Getty)

Three points separate Chelsea and Manchester United, with ninth-placed Arsenal probably the lowest-placed side with a realistic chance of catching Frank Lampard’s men.

Alongside the usual suspects of United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs, Wolves and Sheffield United are also in the mix.

Should Sheffield United beat Villa in their first game back, they will leapfrog United into fifth, just two points behind Chelsea.

Champions League qualification could also come through the European competitions, with Manchester United and Wolves probably the most realistic bets in the Europa League.

Europa League places

The same bunch will likely be in the hunt for Europa League spots, barring inspired runs from the likes of Everton, Burnley and Crystal Palace.

Sixth place will be enough to guarantee European football after City won the EFL Cup, while the FA Cup place could still yet be drafted back into the league.

If City’s ban is upheld and one of the already-qualified teams wins the FA Cup then Europa League qualification could go as low as eighth place so there’s plenty to play for on that front.


There’s equally plenty to play for at the other end of the table.

There are eight points separating the bottom six, with just two points spanning 16th-19th.

Should 19th-placed Aston Villa win their game in hand against Sheffield United on Wednesday, they will leapfrog West Ham, Watford and Bournemouth into 16th.

Rock-bottom Norwich City aren’t cut adrift yet, but they are four points behind Villa and six points from safety, while 15th-placed Brighton are only two clear of the relegation zone.

Southampton and Newcastle look safe, having hit the 34 and 35-point marks respectively – with nine games still to play – so it will likely be between Norwich, Villa, Bournemouth, Watford, West Ham and Brighton to occupy the three relegation spots.

Golden Boot

There is also a battle to be the league’s top scorer.

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy leads the way on 19 goals, with Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang just two goals behind, while Liverpool and Man City attackers Mohamed Salah and Sergio Aguero have already notched 16 league goals.

Premier League top scorers 19/20

19 – Vardy
17 – Aubameyang
16 – Aguero
16 – Salah
15 – Ings
14 – Mane
14 – Rashford
13 – Abraham
13 – Calvert-Lewin
13 – Jimenez

Southampton’s Danny Ings has been the surprise package of the season, scoring 15, he’s one in front of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford – who is fit again after a back injury.

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Wolves’ Raul Jimenez (all 13 goals) are rank outsiders to top the scoring charts.

Thierry Henry’s assist record

A less-celebrated battle for supremacy takes place for those at the top of the assists chart.

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne is four clear of Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (who is four ahead of third-placed Riyad Mahrez) and looks likely to be crowned the league’s assist king – but he also has a long-standing record within his sights.

Most Premier League assists 2019/20

16 – De Bruyne
12 – Alexander-Arnold
8 – Mahrez
7 – Firmino
7 – Buendia
7 – Traore
7 – Mane
7 – Robertson
7 – Son
7 – David Silva

Thierry Henry produced the most assists in a single Premier League season (20) in 2002/03, but De Bruyne is only four off that total already.

The pair have exchanged a bit of banter about the record and De Bruyne seems incredibly motivated to surpass the French World Cup winner.

Golden Glove

This year’s Golden Glove – the award handed to the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets – is a very tight affair.

Burnley’s Nick Pope leads the way after 11 shutouts so far, but Dean Henderson will draw level with him if Sheffield United keep Aston Villa at bay on Wednesday.

Golden Glove race 2019/20

11 – Pope
10 – Henderson
10 – Alisson
10 – Schmeichel
9 – Dubravka
9 – Foster
9 – Guaita
9 – Ederson

Liverpool’s Alisson and Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel have also kept 10 clean sheets.

Four goalkeepers have managed nine so far, with Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka, Watford’s Ben Foster, Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita and Man City’s Ederson all potentially able to make a late surge for the prize.

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