In 2020 the world of football has been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and the restrictions governments have in place. Within this blog post we are going to look into how the Premier League teams, players and fans have been impacted by the restrictions in place. And will also investigate how these changes have impacted the performance of the squads by comparing their season-to-season stats.

Changes to Scheduling and Spectators

empty stadium

The Premier League has seen two seasons in total impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions which lead to an alteration in scheduling as well as spectators. In this section of the article, we are going to look into how these two important elements of the football season have been adjusted accordingly.

In March 2020 England went into a full lockdown which saw a stay-at-home order in place. This was constantly extended to roughly four months which saw the Premier League matches postponed. However, in July these restrictions were altered so that matches could go ahead but without supporters in the stands. Therefore, the season ended two months later than expected which subsequently meant that 20/21 started later than scheduled to allow for the regular season break.

In December 2020, the restrictions for spectators were updated for England which saw a handful of supporters allowed back into stadiums under new regulations. Low-risk areas known as Tier 1 were allowed to have 4,000 spectators or operate at 50% capacity (whichever was the lowest figure) and medium risk areas called Tier 2 were allowed 2,000 spectators or 50% capacity (again, whichever was the lowest. Despite this development, high risk areas in Tier 3 are unable to host or attend any matches.

Starting on the 5th December, here are the first few matches to go ahead with spectators:

  • Chelsea V Leeds
  • West Ham United V Manchester United
  • Liverpool V Wolves
  • Tottenham Hotspur V Arsenal
  • Brighton V Southampton

The release of this list brought great excitement and relief to supporters as they were able to attend matches to watch their idols play once more. However, the atmosphere was not to be as expected as every attendee was distanced from one another but still united. The introduction of supporters back into stadiums we believe brought a great benefit to the spectators as well as the players as they were able to receive vocal backing and support from their fans again.

However, this enjoyment didn’t last long, as England is once again plunged into another lockdown which sees matches and training sessions postponed for the foreseeable. This came as a result in a surge of cases across the country which heavily impacted players and staff alike. Therefore players will have to maintain their fitness outside of the training grounds to ensure that they are ready for when matches commence.  

Comparing Season Results and Performance

Now in this part of the article we are going to look into how COVID-19 and its restrictions have impacted the teams who have taken part in both affected seasons. We are going to see if we can identify whether the break for lockdown had negatively affected the teams. As well as looking at their stats from 2019/20 and 2020/21 we have also compared their standings from 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 to see if there is an overall change to how the Premier League table looks between seasons.


  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 9 wins, 6 losses, 13 draws, 40 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 5 wins, 4 losses, 1 draw, 16 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 5th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 8th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 11th place

Arsenal seems to be slipping further down the table as seasons go on. Before the pandemic hit, they were in 5th place but during the disruptive 2019/20 season they dropped by 3 places. And now they are in 11th which is a disappointing trend for the team to start. Can they reclaim their top 10 spot?

Aston Villa

  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 7 wins, 17 losses, 4 draws, 34 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 2 wins, 4 losses, 3 draws, 7 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – Did not qualify
  • 2019/20 Standings – 17th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 8th place

2019/20 was a very weak season for Aston Villa as they found themselves in 17th place despite recently being promoted to the Premier League. However, they appear to be back with a vengeance as they are now in 8th place, did the disruptive 2019/20 season make them stronger?


  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 6 wins, 12 losses, 10 draws, 31 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 3 wins, 3 losses, 3 draws, 7 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 17th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 15th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 17th place

As per above, we can see that Brighton were two places higher in the leaderboard during the most impacted season. However, seem to be maintaining their 17th place spot in the current season which was also seen in 2018/19 also.


  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 11 wins, 12 losses, 6 draws, 33 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 4 wins, 2 losses, 3 draws, 9 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 15th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 10th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 16th place

Looking at the statistics above, Burnley seemed to perform better with the lockdown break impacting the season compared to normal. This saw them hit the 10th place mark whereas normally we don’t see them reach much higher than 15th.


  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 14 wins, 9 losses, 6 draws, 51 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break –6 wins, 3 losses, 18 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 3rd place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 4th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 9th place

Chelsea seems to be struggling recently as during 2020/21 they are in 9th place and at risk of dropping out of the top 10. This greatly contrasting with their previous seasons where they have made it to the top 5, could they pick themselves back up and climb up the table once more?

Crystal Palace

  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break –10 wins, 10 losses, 9 draws, 26 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 1 win, 7 losses, 1 draw, 5 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 12th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 14th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 14th place

Crystal Palace does not appear to be too strongly affected by recent seasons as they have only dropped two placed in the Premier League and have maintained the 14th spot throughout. Could we see them drop further during the rest of the 2020/21 season?


  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 10 wins, 12 losses, 7 draws, 37 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 3 wins, 3 losses, 3 draws, 7 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 8th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 12th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 7th place

2019/20 was a hard season for Everton as it saw them lose their top 10 spot and landed in 12th place. But now in 2020/21 they appear to of recovered as they are now back in the top 10 and are a place higher than before.

Leicester City

  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 16 wins, 8 losses, 5 draws, 58 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 2 wins, 4 losses, 2 draws, 9 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 9th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 5th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 3rd place

Leicester City appears to be getting stronger in recent seasons. 2018/19 saw them finish in 9th place and despite the break for lockdown, they managed to climb four places higher in 2019/20. Currently ranked 3rd, Leicester City could certainly be a dark horse for 2020/21.


  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 27 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw, 66 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 5 wins, 2 losses, 2 draws, 19 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 2nd place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 1st place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 1st place

Liverpool has continued to be a powerhouse throughout the COVID-19 lockdown and in recent seasons. 2019/20 saw them take the top spot for the first time since the 80s and they have not stopped, also securing a Champions League win and now currently placed in first for 2020/21. Are Liverpool the new team to beat?

Manchester City

  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 18 wins, 7 losses, 3 draws, 68 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 8 wins, 2 losses, 34 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 1st place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 2nd place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 5th place

Manchester City appears to of been struggling recently, consistently in top 3, they were knocked from the top spot in 2019/20 by Liverpool. And since then, they currently find themselves in 5th place, could this be the season we see City fall so we can see another team rise?

Manchester United

  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 12 wins, 8 losses, 9 draws, 54 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 6 wins, 3 draws, 21 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 6th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 3rd place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings –2nd place

Manchester United appears to of come out of the pandemic and lockdown stronger. Prior to this they were in 6th place, however during 2019/20 they were in 3rd despite the lockdown break. And they have continued in their powerful stance by finding themselves in 2nd place at the moment in 2020/21.

Newcastle United

  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 9 wins, 12 losses, 8 draws, 25 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 2 wins, 4 losses, 3 draws, 13 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 13th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 13th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 15th place

Despite the lockdown break, Newcastle United managed to maintain their 13th place spot during 2019/20. However, at the moment they find themselves in 15th place, can they climb back up the ranks or is the stress of COVID-19 starting to show for the squad?


  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 11 wins, 7 losses, 10 draws, 28 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 3 wins, 5 losses, 2 draws, 9 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – Did not qualify
  • 2019/20 Standings – 9th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 20th place

These recent events appear to of had a negative effect on Sheffield United. Since joining the league in 2019/20 they managed to earn 9th place despite the break for lockdown. However, they appear to be struggling now as they find themselves in 20th place at risk of relegation.


  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 11 wins, 7 losses, 10 draws, 28 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 3 wins, 5 losses, 2 draws, 9 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 16th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 11th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 6th place

Southampton appears to of thrived in these recent seasons despite the COVID-19 restrictions. 2019/20 saw them finish five places higher than before and now they are currently in 6th place. Could 2020/21 be the season we see Southampton break into the top 5?

Tottenham Hotspur

  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 11 wins, 10 losses, 8 draws, 47 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 5 wins, 1 loss, 3 draws, 14 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 4th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 6th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 4th place

2019/20 saw a slight slip in performance for Tottenham Hotspur as they landed in 6th place, which is still within the top 10 ranks, but is not a high as they usually place. But now they are back on top of their game as they are currently at 4th place for 2020/21.

West Ham United

  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 7 wins, 16 losses, 6 draws, 35 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 3 wins, 3 losses, 3 draws, 14 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 10th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 16th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 10th place

Looking at the stats above, West Ham struggled greatly during 2019/20, narrowly missing out on relegation. However, they have been performing better in 2020/21 as they are currently in 10th place which is a common finishing rank for the team.


  • Before COVID-19 Lockdown Break – 10 wins, 6 losses, 12 draws, 41 goals
  • After COVID-19 Break – 5 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw, 10 goals
  • 2018/19 Standings – 7th place
  • 2019/20 Standings – 7th place
  • Current 2020/21 Standings – 13th place

As we can see above, the lockdown in 2019 did not have a massive effect on Wolves’ performance as they earnt 7th place once more. However, recently they find themselves in 13th place during 2021, can they claw their top 10 spot back?

COVID-19 Has Impacted the Premier League Greatly

Throughout this article we have looked into what COVID-19 restrictions have been in place for the Premier League and how this has affected the scheduling. We have also delved into the performance of the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons for each team who took part in both seasons to see if we can identify whether the lockdown break or reintroduction of fans impacted their performance.

Let us know your thoughts over on our social media pages and do not forget to shop the latest Premier League kit over on our online shop – Soccer Box and pledge allegiance to your favourite team today.

All images used under licence from Shutterstock

This article was written exclusively for Soccer Box by Loren Astbury