Having been on lockdown with much of the rest of the world, the Premier League finally completed Project Restart on Wednesday with the division's first two fixtures in 100 days.
With no fans in attendance, artificial stadium noise, players competing after just three weeks of preparation and social distancing still being observed, it wasn't exactly football as we remember it.
Indeed, the first match, Aston Villa's 0-0 draw with Sheffield United, was the first English top-flight game to be played in June for 73 years. Weirdly, Sheffield United were involved on that occasion, too, beating Stoke City 2-1 on June 14, 1947.
The day's main event, Manchester City's 3-0 win over Arsenal, had much more of an air of familiarity about it, as Pep Guardiola's side cruised to their seventh straight victory over the hapless visitors.
Here's what we learned from the long-awaited return of the Premier League.
We've reached peak David Luiz
David Luiz in the Premier League this season:— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2020
🛑 Received the most red cards.
💥 Given away the most penalties.
⚽️ No player has made more errors leading to a goal. pic.twitter.com/I8iOrQnDB1
Due to the stalemate at Villa Park, we headed into the second game of the restart still awaiting the first post-lockdown goal. The odds of its arrival increased in the 24th minute at the Etihad Stadium when an injury to defender Pablo Mari meant that David Luiz had to be called from the Arsenal bench.
Sure enough, it wasn't long before the Brazil centre-back (whose contract is due to expire in two weeks) was up to his old tricks, awkwardly trying to control a through-ball and allowing Raheem Sterling in to score shortly before half-time.
2011 - The last time that a player was sent off, conceded a penalty & committed an error leading to an opposition goal in the same game after coming on as a substitute within the top 5 Euro leagues, was in March 2011 by Iván Córdoba for Internazionale vs Brescia in Serie A. Rare. https://t.co/BjoVD5mFHj— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 17, 2020
Things swiftly went from bad to worse for Luiz minutes after the break when he conceded a penalty and was shown a straight red card for a foul on Riyad Mahrez. As he trudged off the field, football's top stats-crunchers had to go back several years to find precedents for his performance.
Well... i believe i can still play humm 🤣🤣🤦🏿— Bacary Sagna (@Sagnaofficial) June 17, 2020
Given that the Gunners also failed to register a single shot on target during a league match for the first time in three years, they might want to give Thierry Henry a call too.
It's fair to say that it was the most David Luiz thing to have happened since that time David Luiz Cam captured David Luiz watching David Luiz on David Luiz Cam after his red card against Chelsea in January.
While Luiz apologised to everybody after the game, his manager Mikel Arteta refused to chastise the defender for his disastrous 25-minute cameo. However, that didn't prevent the hapless centre-back from receiving a 1/10 rating for his risible performance at the Etihad.
The meaning of the word 'occlusion'
Welcome back, Premier League 🍿 pic.twitter.com/qGPSsi3eeL— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2020
After being selected to usher in the remainder of the Premier League campaign, it was perhaps a little underwhelming that the Villa vs. Sheffield United game ended goalless.
However, we were still treated to a truly memorable moment just minutes before half-time thanks to a spectacular fault with the goal-line technology at Villa Park.
No goal was signaled and referee Michael Oliver waved play on, despite Blades manager Chris Wilder's flabbergasted suggestion that Nyland was "halfway up the Holte End" when he caught the ball.
For what it's worth, Villa were equally bemused.
It was soon discovered that the GLT system had glitched and wasn't fully operational at the point the ball crossed the line -- with the referee's watch reportedly buzzing at half-time instead.
Hawk-Eye statement on the goal line incident during Aston Villa v Sheffield match this evening. pic.twitter.com/I2u5lqKMqe— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) June 17, 2020
This left Hawk-Eye themselves to issue a rather embarrassing and apologetic explanation. According to their statement, the error was a direct result of "unprecedented levels of occlusion" around the Villa goal that caused all seven Hawk-Eye cameras to fail.
We had to Google "occlusion" too. Basically, it means nobody saw a thing.
It wasn't working 😂— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) June 17, 2020
Referee - didn't see it— Jonathan Walters (@JonWalters19) June 17, 2020
Assistant referee - didn't see it.
Goal Line Technology - didn't see it.
VAR - didn't see it.@premierleague is back 🙌🏼 and I love it
Perhaps they shouldn't have had the Hawkeye/VAR guys running the artificial crowd noise— Michael Davies (@embassydavies) June 17, 2020
ball has to go 2 metres past the line, keep up— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) June 17, 2020
The only way this evening could get worse for David Luiz is if it's revealed he was also in charge of Hawkeye.— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) June 17, 2020
City fans were not really there (literally)
City don't even have enough fans to fill the fan cams 😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/uQkKHPRQA4— Josh (@UtdJL) June 17, 2020
City have adopted the slogan "We're not really here" for this final stretch of games, in reference to a popular fan chant. Given that the club has even released a "2020 We're Not Really Here" tour T-shirt, expressly informing us that their fans wouldn't be present for the remaining fixtures of the season, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that they didn't turn up in full number for the Arsenal match.
The club set up big screens in the stands to display "fan cam" images of supporters watching the action from their homes, though it seemed that technical issues meant that some of the screens were at times left blank.
Of course, this led to lots of jokes (well, the same joke repeated, mostly by Manchester United fans) about City being unable to fill their stadium, even when their fans don't have to leave their sofa in order to do so.
Fans will always find a way
Love the commitment of these Aston Villa fans ❤️ pic.twitter.com/2GbSUbWZUY— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2020
Starved of football for so long but unable to enter Villa Park, a couple of hardy supporters actually made the trip to the stadium just to watch the match on a laptop outside.
Not a bad birthday present! ⚽️ 📺— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) June 17, 2020
Thank you all for the birthday messages! I hope everyone enjoys the football being back on as much as I will. 🎂 🙌🏻 pic.twitter.com/1WFWiTqA6x
The matchday gazebo experience was duly one-upped by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who celebrated his 30th birthday by settling in to watch the game from a large luxury tent erected in his back garden.
Now that's how you meld camping and a league restart in style.