After a three-month shutdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Premier League will make its much anticipated return on June 17.
Southampton will have to wait until the weekend of June 19-21 before they hit the pitch, however, with matches between Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United and Manchester City vs. Arsenal taking place when the league resumes next month.
Both fixtures to be played first are games in hand due postponements from the EFL Cup Final.
Since the suspension of football in England on March 13, there are 92 fixtures that need to be played with champion front-runners Liverpool only a win and a Manchester City loss away from capturing the 2019/20 title.
The Premier League aims to play the remaining schedule in a six-week time-frame, with the expectation of home and away matches. All games will be behind closed doors.
So far, of 2,752 tests across the league, there have been 12 positive cases for coronavirus. Premier League players and staff will continue to be subjected to two tests per week.
“A lot can happen in the next three weeks but what clubs now have is that definitive line in the sand, they know what they are aiming for in terms of Project Restart,” said Sky Sports News chief reporter Bryan Swanson.
“The Premier League are also discussing a Plan B - what happens if there is a second peak of the virus and those fixtures cannot be fulfilled at some point throughout June and July? But clubs have that June 17 target to focus on and that is what they will chase.”
Southampton’s first fixture would be at Norwich City, who sits in dead last in the Premier League on 21 points.
Saints, meanwhile, are still fighting for top-flight safety in 14th position with 34 points, having lost four out of their last five games (1W, 4L).