Manchester City attained a win over Arsenal on Wednesday, where 55,000 seats across the Etihad stadium would usually be filled by supporting football fans were empty and mostly covered by banners, where medics were the only ones in stands to applaud.
Goals scored by Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden for Manchester City to get the 3-0 win over Arsenal were on big screens in the stands, and streamed live from their homes.
The Big screens were also used to mourn some of those who died during the pandemic. An image of Glyn Pardoe, former Man City player and coach, was shown three weeks after the virus had killed him at the age of 73.
“Together we have been facing a health emergency,” the City stadium announcer said. “Heroes have risen to challenges we never imagined.”
EPL players also took action in confronting the racism that’s happening in society in hope that it would stop indefinitely.
Instead of names on the back of all player jerseys, there was the message included: “Black Lives Matter.” And before kickoff came a show of solidarity against the racial injustice in society reinforced by the death of George Floyd while being arrested in Minnesota.
Standing around the center circle, players took a knee — a powerful gesture unlike anything seen before in the league.
“I see it as a massive step by the Premier League to allow something like that to happen,” said Sterling, who has emerged as English football’s figurehead in the fight against racism. “It shows we’re heading in the right direction. Little by little, we are seeing change and that’s what everyone is hoping for, not just black players but the majority of the country.”
From Sterling’s first goal that capitalized on an error by David Luiz in the first-half stoppage time, the goal was celebrated with a feature of a touch of elbows with teammates and a brief embrace to respect social distancing.
Manchester City is aware of surrendering the Premier League trophy to Liverpool. This win over Arsenal just delayed the crowning moment until at least next week for a team 25 points in front of Pep Guardiola’s City.
It was not the impending loss of the title on Guardiola’s mind after the match, rather it was the discrimination highlighted by his black players.
“We should say that white people need to apologize, say sorry, for the way we treat the black people in the last 400 years or for centuries,” Guardiola said. “I feel ashamed what we have done for these marvelous black people around the world.”