Manchester City’s comfortable victory over Arsenal on Wednesday night was the most watched match in the Premier League in almost three and a half years.
With football fans starving for high-flying action for more than three months due to the coronavirus shutdown, viewers turned in large numbers to see Pep Guardiola’s men dashing Gunners’ hopes of ranking among the four first.
A total of 2.6 million people watched Sky Sports coverage as Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden struck against the visitors, whose substitute David Luiz was kicked out in the second half.
About 2.6 million viewers watched Raheem Sterling and Co beat Arsenal on Sky
Pundit Jamie Carragher was Etihad for Sky Sports’ most watched game in three years
This figure represents a 14.3% share of the television audience on Wednesday evening, with most viewers connecting halfway through the match.
This made the Etihad’s closed-door confrontation the most watched match since Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with bitter rival Liverpool in January 2017.
On this occasion, two million viewers tapped into Sky to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic cancel the James Milner penalty with less than 10 minutes to play at Old Trafford.
Aston Villa’s 0-0 draw with Sheffield United, which started at 6 p.m. and was the first Premier League game played since the lockout started, drew just over half of the audience at City vs Arsenal with 1.4 million viewers.
About two million viewers watched Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalize against Liverpool in 2017
David Luiz was deported in the second half for dropping Riyad Mahrez into the area
A whopping 75% of those who heard the 8:15 pm kickoff chose to watch the game with the artificial sound of Sky, rather than just the commentary.
This option was available on Sky’s Main Event channel, while viewers could also listen to the game with just the background sound from inside the empty stadium.
Viewers saw City take the lead in the first overtime when Sterling took advantage of Luiz’s mistake to send the hosts back.
De Bruyne doubled City’s advantage from the penalty spot after Luiz saw red for dropping Riyad Mahrez just after the break, then Foden made it 3-0 after a quick break from Sterling and Sergio Aguero.
Meanwhile, Amazon will be showing its four Premier League games for free this season on the Twitch streaming site.
The video platform – which has already shown two full sets of English elite games this season after winning the rights – has had four more games as broadcasters negotiated a split over the rest of the season.
David Jones (right) led Manchester City sky cover against Arsenal alongside Carragher (left), Gary Neville (second left) and Micah Richards (second right)
They have now revealed that fans will be able to watch these matches on Twitch. This includes the clash between Crystal Palace and Burnley on June 29.
Amazon also announced that it had reclaimed Everton’s rights to Southampton on July 9 and Watford’s clash with Newcastle on July 11 – the fourth remaining to be revealed.
The games will also be free to watch on Amazon Prime Video itself.
Elsewhere, Sky Sports has revealed 21 more games they will play in early July – after announcing 20 for the opening fortnight.
They include the North London derby on July 12, which starts at 4:30 p.m., and the Wolves against Everton on the same day.
The chain also selected Manchester United’s mid-week trip to Aston Villa on Thursday July 9.
Sky Sports has announced that it will broadcast the North London Derby this season
They will also show Liverpool’s game against the Midlands on July 5.
The North London Derby will not be available on the free Sky Sports Pick channel, although other major matches will be available.
These include Manchester United against Southampton on July 13 and the Champions League against Leicester hosting Crystal Palace on July 4.
BT Sport, meanwhile, resumed the shock of Manchester United with Bournemouth on July 4, which will be broadcast at 3 p.m.
Liverpool’s match against Burnley on July 11 will also be broadcast by the channel, which has selected six games in the last span of time.
The BBC also announced its third selection – Southampton vs Manchester City on July 5. The match will start at 7 p.m.
BT Sport resumed the shock between Manchester United and Bournemouth
FULL SCHEDULE OF TELEVISION GAMES
July 1: Everton vs Leicester – 6 p.m., Sky Sports
July 1: Bournemouth vs Newcastle – 6 p.m., Sky Sports, Sky Pick
July 1: West Ham vs Chelsea, 8:15 p.m., Sky Sports
July 2: Sheff Utd vs Tottenham – 6 p.m., Sky Sports
July 2: Man City vs Liverpool – 8:15 p.m., Sky Sports
July 4: Leicester City vs Crystal Palace – 3 p.m., Sky Sports, Sky Pick
July 4: Wolves vs Arsenal – 5:30 p.m., Sky Sports
July 4: Chelsea vs Watford – 8 p.m., Sky Sports
July 5: Burnley vs Sheffield Utd – 12 p.m., Sky Sports, Sky Pick
July 5: Newcastle vs West Ham – 2 p.m., Sky Sports
July 5: Liverpool vs Aston Villa – 4.30 p.m., Sky Sports
July 6: Tottenham vs Everton – 8 p.m., Sky Sports
July 7: Crystal Palace vs Chelsea – 6 p.m., Sky Sports
July 7: Watford vs Norwich – 6 p.m., Sky Sports, Sky Pick
July 7: Arsenal vs Leicester – 8:15 p.m., Sky Sports
July 8: Sheffield Utd vs Wolves – 6 p.m., Sky Sports
July 8: Brighton vs Liverpool – 8:15 p.m., Sky Sports
July 9: Bournemouth vs Tottenham – 6 p.m., Sky Sports, Sky Pick
SKY SPORTS (CONTINUED)
July 9: Aston Villa vs Man Utd – 8:15 p.m., Sky Sports
July 11: Sheffield Utd vs Chelsea – 5.30 p.m., Sky Sports
July 11: Brighton vs Man City – 8 p.m., Sky Sports
July 12: Wolves vs Everton – 12 p.m., Sky Sports, Sky Pick
July 12: Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace – 2 p.m., Sky Sports
July 12: Tottenham vs Arsenal – 4:30 p.m., Sky Sports
July 12: Bournemouth vs Leicester – 7 p.m., Sky Sports, Sky Pick
July 13: Man Utd vs Southampton – 8 p.m., Sky Sports, Sky Pick
July 4: Norwich vs Brighton – 12:30 p.m.
July 4: Manchester United vs Bournemouth – 3 p.m.
July 8: Manchester City vs Newcastle – 6 p.m.
July 8: West Ham vs Burnley – 6 p.m.
July 11: Norwich City vs West Ham – 12:30 p.m.
July 11: Liverpool vs Burnley – 3 p.m.
AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
July 9: Everton vs Southampton – 6 p.m., Amazon Prime Video, Twitch
July 11: Watford vs Newcastle – 12:30 p.m., Amazon Prime Video, Twitch
July 5: Southampton vs Manchester City – 7 p.m.