It’s not just the support Richarlison misses but the adulation. “We are used to having fans shouting, asking for pictures, singing our songs,” the Everton forward told ESPN Brasil. “It is a little weird, but we have to get used to this. [Hopefully] we can go through all this soon so that the fans can come [to the matches].”
Welcome to the Premier League in 2020. More specifically, welcome to the coda to a 2019-20 campaign split in two by the coronavirus pandemic and irrevocably shaped upon its return by the absence of fans across all 20 top-flight stadiums.
The scenes outside Anfield on Thursday, as Liverpool clinched their first League title in 30 years, provided a brief snapshot of the passion subtracted from the matchday spectacle as health and safety precautions take priority. Fans at least have the option to watch every game on television with artificial crowd noise, but there is no hiding from football’s new reality for the players. Most clubs have opted to go through the pomp and pageantry of their prematch buildup, with the big-screen action shots and deafening soundtrack ringing hollow across seats adorned with material versions of season-ticket holders and poignant tributes to NHS staff.nike jerseys nfl cheap
Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson has no doubt that though the game is diminished, keeping fans away is the right course of action while people still lose their lives to COVID-19 on a daily basis.
“It feels good to be able to come back, but I had never experienced that before,” he told ESPN Brasil. “The match itself and the whole environment feels different. It is not the same as playing with a packed stadium.
“However, in the moment that we live, that would not be appropriate. I found the feeling of playing without fans and playing the way we played very different [from the usual] with all the precautions we took before the match, too.”
Temperature checks, elbow bumps, disinfected footballs and sanitised goal frames are all part of the new normal. The prematch handshake has been abolished in favour of two sets of players walking out from two different entrances and taking a knee in support of Black Lives Matter.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china
The games have so far not followed the pattern of other returning European leagues, in particular the German Bundesliga, in which visiting teams have enjoyed a distinct advantage. Of the 22 Premier League games played to date, 10 have ended in home wins, with six draws and six away victories. That doesn’t mean players haven’t noticed changes, even on their own ground.
“It doesn’t have the same feeling, of course,” Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud told ESPN. “It is really strange at first, and then you try to get used to it. It has less charm to play with no fans. Also, the pitch feels much bigger with no fans in the stadium! It is crazy to say because it is the same pitch, but it does feel bigger! The bearings and points of reference are not the same.
“And at least the managers are happy because now we can hear easily everything they tell us, even when they don’t shout!”