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Sunday Supplement: Intriguing to see which Premier League teams have done their homework

The Supplement panel discussed how the lockdown period will have given teams ample time to analyse other teams and their own tactics

Jose Mourinho looks on alongside members of his Tottenham  staff before his opening game at West Ham
Image: Which Premier League teams will have done their homework during the lockdown period?

The Sunday Supplement panel discussed the return of Premier League football, and the intrigue around which teams will have done their homework.

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The Premier League returns on Wednesday with Aston Villa vs Sheffield United (6pm) and Manchester City vs Arsenal (8.15pm), both live on Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League.

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After over three months off, the Supplement panel discussed how the lockdown period will have given teams ample time to do their homework on other teams, and even adopt a tactical style change themselves...

'This could separate best from the rest'

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Speaking on The Football Show, Paul Merson fears for Arsenal’s concentration levels behind closed doors, and says fans keep defenders honest and focused.

Mike McGrath, Football Reporter at the Daily Telegraph

"It's going to be really interesting in terms of fitness levels, but also in terms of momentum; have they used the time to look at other teams? Analysts have had nothing to do but look at other teams in the past three months.

"For example, Sheffield United had been on fine form, have teams looked at them and figured out how to beat them? Figured out how Newcastle beat them at Bramall Lane? Will they use that blueprint?

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"And on the flip side, Chris Wilder will have his team as fit as anyone; will he come up with a different game plan to surprise us for the second time in one season? I think the coaches themselves have had a long time to think about it. If you've had a good mini pre-season, it could really separate the best teams from the rest."

'Spurs could hit the ground running'

Jose Mourinho looks on alongside his coaching staff before a Premier League match
Image: Could Spurs get off to a winning start against Manchester United on Friday evening?

Rob Draper, Chief Football Writer at the Mail on Sunday

"The lockdown generally has exposed bad leadership and validated good leadership. Good leadership thrives in a crisis time like this.

"Particularly if you are across technology, and know how to use it well, you'll have had a good lockdown.

"I think it will be intriguing to see who responds to this well; so I would guess that Liverpool, who are across technology brilliantly, will have had a good lockdown.

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"I'm also intrigued by Tottenham. It seems clear to be that Jose Mourinho is sensing a real opportunity that something that was previously slipping away, if he could take three points off Manchester United in the first game, they could be right back in it. He probably feels his players are fit and ready to go, and I suspect they've coped well with lockdown and I suspect they'll hit the ground running."

'Some clubs rely on home crowds'

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Chartered psychologist Steven Sylvester says Premier League teams are likely to be affected by the lack of fans at games once the league resumes.

Sami Mokbel, Football News Correspondent at the Daily Mail

"One thing I'm looking forward to is the behind-closed-doors issue, and how that will affect teams going forward. A lot of clubs, particularly down the bottom, are reliant on their home form, leaning on crowd support which isn't going to be there anymore.

"Will players feel more relaxed and able to express themselves more without the pressurised environment? That's one of the things I'm most looking forward to seeing, the dynamic and how it plays out."

Watch the Premier League with Sky Sports

Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games when the season resumes. In addition to the 39 matches already scheduled to be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel, allowing the whole nation to be part of the return of live sport.

Free-to-watch highlights of every remaining Premier League game this season will be available from shortly after the full-time whistle on the Sky Sports website, Sky Sports App and Sky Sports Football YouTube channel.

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