Back in March, hardly anyone would have predicted that it would have been the festive season before fans were allowed to return to watch a Premier League match.
Yet here we are, nine months on, and the UK Government have now announced which of the Premier League clubs will be able to welcome some fans back into stadiums after the lockdown in England ends on December 2.
The decisions on the tier system in the UK means that we now know which of the ten Premier League matches in Gameweek 11 will be allowed to be played in front of fans.
The following fixtures are due to be played in tier 2 areas of England and therefore they will be permitted to be staged in front of 2,000 fans:
- Brighton v Southampton
- Chelsea v Leeds
- Liverpool v Wolves
- Tottenham v Arsenal
- West Ham v Manchester United
Currently, 10 of the 20 Premier League grounds sit in tier 2 locations. These stadiums will therefore be able to have fans when their teams play at home:
- The Emirates (Arsenal)
- The Amex (Brighton)
- Stamford Bridge (Chelsea)
- Selhurst Park (Crystal Palace)
- Goodison Park (Everton)
- Craven Cottage (Fulham)
- Anfield (Liverpool)
- St Mary’s (Southampton)
- Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Spurs)
- London Stadium (West Ham)
This leaves the following grounds unable to welcome fans back currently, as they sit in tier 3 areas of the country:
- Villa Park (Aston Villa)
- Turf Moor (Burnley)
- Elland Road (Leeds)
- The King Power (Leicester)
- The Etihad (Manchester City)
- Old Trafford (Manchester United)
- St James’ Park (Newcastle)
- Bramall Lane (Sheffield United)
- The Hawthorns (West Brom)
- Molineux Stadium (Wolves)
These restrictions will be reviewed on December 16 and stadiums may move between the tiers depending upon infection rates in those areas.
Should a club’s stadium be in an area that moves from tier 2 to tier 3, they will once again be unable to host supporters. Likewise, if the area that the stadium is in moves from tier 3 to tier 2, they will be allowed to have 2,000 fans in the stadium once more.
Under the rules of the new system, tier 2 stadiums will be allowed to welcome 2,000 home fans back. However, no away supporters will be permitted at matches under existing government legislation as a result of restrictions on travel to reduce the rate of infection.
These rules on Premier League matches will also apply to the League Cup when the quarter-finals are played in December, as well as to European matches in both the Champions League and the Europa League.
Will fans in stadiums make a difference?
The news that fans will be allowed back into ten of the Premier League grounds is a significant step on the path to normality. But will this see the return of the home advantage and have an impact on the games and results that are played in front of spectators?
We have seen that home stadiums haven’t been the fortresses that they once were without the cauldrons of noise that the home fans usually create. The atmosphere has been lacking since March and the players themselves regularly comment on a desire to have fans back in the stadiums. But how much of a difference can 2,000 fans wearing masks make in a stadium that is meant to hold 60,000? In the newer grounds, such as the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the acoustics were designed to carry the sound and keep it inside the stadium and so the noise of 2,000 fans, who have been desperate to see their team live again, may be greater than we appreciate.
In the older stadiums, such as Craven Cottage, the noise and impact that a reduced crowd makes may be less impactful as a result of the dated architecture.
Having said that, the mere presence of any fans in the stadium could be a huge motivational drive.
The impact of fans in some stadiums and not in others may change the way we view our transfers and captaincy, should there be an upturn in home performances and results in the weeks ahead.
Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles
Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99. A FREE trial is now available during December.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.