The Premier League resumes on August 5th, much to the delight of football fans across the world, with Crystal Palace hosting Arsenal in the opening encounter, the first of 380 English top-flight fixtures planned this season. That is the earliest start date for a Premier League season in history, thanks to Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup in November-December. This season, Fulham, Bournemouth, and Nottingham Forest will all be in play after gaining promotion from the Championship last season, while Manchester City will try to make it five titles in six after being pushed by Liverpool the previous season.
There are so many predictions and expectations to discuss when it comes to the upcoming season. You have team predictions, individual predictions, English Premier League betting odds, and many others. With all of these in mind, here are some of the top things you can expect from the upcoming season of the professional football league.
On taking the knee
Premier League teams will restrict their pre-match anti-racism gesture of “taking the knee” to only a few key games this season. They have opted to take the knee at key points during the season to underline our unity against all kinds of racism, and in doing so, we continue to show solidarity for a shared cause, Premier League captains previously stated.
Players will take the knee during the season’s first match round, “No Room for Racism” match rounds in October and March, Boxing Day games following the World Cup, league matches on the season’s final day, and FA Cup and EFL Cup finals.
Rules: what changed
The most significant change is that each club can now make five replacements every game, up from three previously. When football resumed following the first COVID shutdown in 2020, the Premier League imposed the regulation for the balance of the 2019-20 season. While the majority of Europe’s other leagues and UEFA competitions used five substitutes, English football returned to three.
This season, a bench of nine players will allow for five substitutions. Teams get three chances to use their five subs, including one at halftime, after which no more subs can be made.
Premier League teams have been instructed not to halt games unless essential due to a medical emergency in the stands. Assistant referees have been told to only raise their flag for blatant offside when there is a clear likelihood of a goal and when the call is close. There will be increased searches outside stadiums, as well as the deployment of sniffer dogs, to reduce the use of flares and smoke bombs during games.
Another improvement will be the implementation of a multi-ball system to eliminate delays while the ball is out of play. There will be ten balls in total, including the match ball, one with the fourth official, and eight on cones around the pitch next to a ‘ball helper.’ There are also possibilities for postponing games due to missing players, albeit the Premier League would evaluate each team’s request on an individual basis.
As a result of the Qatar World Cup being pushed to November and December, there will be six weeks without a Premier League game this winter, a first for English football. There will be no Premier League football from November 13 to December 26.
Teams will also have additional time between Christmas games, however, there will only be two days off between December 26 and January 5. To accommodate the break-in, the season begins a week sooner than the previous term, on Friday 5 August, and finishes a week later, on Sunday 28 May.