Why this Premier League season is set to be one of the strangest to date
The Premier League will be looking a little different to normal this season, thanks to the introduction of VAR which will be changing the landscape of the game as well as a host of new rules. Video Assistant Referees will definitely clear up a lot of officiating errors in theory, but the reality may lead to more debate over the decisions made. There’s a lack of clarity surrounding the laws of the game and fans are worried they’ll be alienated as the game sits more in the hands of the officials.
Betting companies such as footy accumulators will have a hard time if it does turn out to be one of the strangest seasons to date.
What’s more, there are changes to kick-off times that are sure to raise a few eyebrows – they’ve become progressively stranger over recent years and a new time has now been added to the general schedule: 7.45pm on Saturday evening. From coaches facing similar punishments to players for breaking the rules to foreign referees for the first time in the Premier League, here are some of the ways why this season’s Premier League may be one of the strangest so far.
Before now, players would have to walk to the half-way line to swap with the next player coming onto the pitch. Now, however, they have to leave the pitch at the nearest side line to them to minimise time wasting.
If there are more than three players in a defensive wall, attackers are no longer allowed within a yard of the wall – a rule that attempts to put a stop to the pushing, pulling and shoving that causes problems for every referee in the game. On paper, this rule seems easy enough, but it will be interesting to see how exactly referees enforce attacking players keeping one yard away.
The last team to touch the ball will now get possession, a rule that has caused a bit of controversy among teams and fans. What’s more, if play is stopped while the ball is in the penalty area, it now restarts with the goalkeeper which is bound to cause issues with fans.
The penalty rule sounds like it will be a tricky one to enforce, but in order to clamp down on gamesmanship, goalkeepers will no longer be able to touch the frame and have to have one boot touching the line. They can also no longer stand behind the line or feign movement to trick the player who is taking the penalty, although how much movement is allowed remains to be seen.
Previously, a goal-kick wasn’t in play until it left the area but now the ball is in play from the moment it’s touched. The idea behind this rule is that defenders will be able to collect the ball from inside the area before the defending team has moved it into midfield.
Any goal scored from the arm, whether it’s an accident or not, won’t count anymore. The rule doesn’t apply, however, to defenders in their own box.