West Ham United now know their next opponents in the battle against relegation, or do they?
The Premier League announced yesterday that football was shutting down until April 30th as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The news was confirmed on West Ham’s official website.
It comes after the season – and West Ham’s battle for survival – was halted a week ago.
New resumption date for West Ham to focus on
There has been much debate, speculation and suggestion since about how and when football might safely resume.
West Ham CEO Karren Brady made her feelings clear saying the campaign should be “null and void” (The Sun).
But football’s governing bodies did not agree when they met on Thursday, insisting the season would be completed after special dispensation from the FA to make it open-ended (Sky Sports).
Relegation six-pointer against Watford up next
As a result the new plan is for football to resume after April 30th.
It gives David Moyes a focal point to keep his squad fit and prepared.
That would mean the current fixture list remains in place and West Ham would face a tense return to action with the relegation six-pointer against Watford at the London Stadium.
The two sides are level on 27 points and outside the bottom three on goal difference.
The Hammers have good memories of playing Watford this season after beating them 3-1 in the reverse fixture.
Victory would put West Ham three points clear of the Hornets and do double damage on the goal difference front, which could yet be a key factor.
But reality is restart against Wolves
But this is all assuming the country will make great progress against the COVID-19 outbreak in the next month.
The reality is, though, at least three tough months lay ahead and football will be pushed back again, likely beyond the end date of May.
In that case West Ham’s next opponents won’t be Watford, but instead Wolves.
Moyes’s side were due to take on Wolves last Sunday before the enforced break.
And it is likely that we reach a scenario where the fixture list will just restart where it left off whenever the season does resume.