The last 365 days have shown us the best that football has to offer. Lionel Messi winning the World Cup, Manchester City finally winning the Champions League and completing the treble, and many more such events defined the previous football season. Now another season is to begin, and with it, there are new aspirations, new players, and new teams who will look to give it their all and win as much silverware as possible.
And one of the leagues that will be the centre of attraction from August 11 is the English Premier League. Last season, the Premier League delivered a stellar season as Manchester City and Arsenal were involved in a dramatic title race that, in the end, was won by Pep Guardiola’s men.
This season though, the league is expected to be much more competitive, with teams like Newcastle United also joining the elite. The new season will also bring fans as they look for statistics and new information regarding their teams, where websites like sportsbook canada will be of immense help. With only four Champions League places and one Premier League trophy up for grabs, here is what you could expect from the Premier League this season.
An intense race for the title and European places
Last season saw Newcastle United emerge as a new giant in English football after the Magpies finished fourth to qualify for the Champions League. This means that in the new season, we will see seven clubs (Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle United) fighting for the top four spots, which will make this perhaps the most competitive season in the league’s history.
While Manchester City have won three titles in a row, the team have let go of some of their most experienced stars. And while they have added Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol to their ranks, the road for them is challenging if the players don’t start to hit the ground from the start.
Elsewhere, Manchester United have also bolstered their squads by signing Rasmus Hojlund, Andre Onana, and Mason Mount. However, the biggest question will be how Liverpool and Chelsea bounce back after an underwhelming season. The Blues were especially woeful and 12th despite spending over €300 million and going through three managers in one season. Now though, in Mauricio Pochettino, the club has a man who can utilise all the resources at his disposal and make the team a top force again.
Meanwhile, Liverpool experienced a season of highs and lows that ultimately saw them finish fifth. However, manager Jurgen Klopp has clarified that the team will leave no stone unturned to go all out and win their second league title. Adding Dominik Szoboszlai and World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister will also give the Reds a much-needed depth they were sorely lacking in the last season.
Last but not least are Arsenal, who, despite coming short the previous season, dazzled the entire league with their gameplay. They also did it while having the youngest squad, and with the added experience of the previous season, they are, on paper, the most formidable rivals for Manchester City.
New Rules- From Offsides to Time Wasting
The Premier League will bring in a host of changes from the new season that will affect various aspects of the game. The first and foremost is the rule that now empowers referees to add lost time on account of goal celebrations, free kicks, corners, throw-ins and other situations.
The rule was brought because an investigation by the FA found that last season the ball was in play for only 50 per cent of a game on average. This means that, in effect, fans were only watching the equivalent of half a game every time they turned to support their club. FIFA applied these measures at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which saw injury time upward of 10 minutes on several occasions.
Another area where the Premier League will bring in a new change is the offside rule where the FA have released a new document that explains the differences between ‘deliberate play’ and ‘deflection’. The new ruling lays down the scenarios in which a player in an offside position can become onside when an opponent touches the ball.
The Premier League has also introduced new changes on who could stand in the technical area from the upcoming season. In the previous seasons, there were several incidents of heated arguments between the officials and the team’s coaching staff. Howard Webb, the head of the refereeing body, also acknowledged the issue.
So, in the coming season, only one person will be allowed to stand in the front part of the technical area and coach, while a second person will be allowed near the rear end close to the technical area sitting. On top of that, teams are also disbarred from using technology to overturn the decision of referees on the pitch.
The Premier League has also clamped down on the goalkeepers. This has been due to Emiliano Martinez’s antics, especially during a penalty shootout in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The new rules state, “The goalkeeper must not try to distract the kicker (e.g. by shouting at them, making gestures or moving excessively)”. If a goalkeeper is deemed to have committed this offence during a penalty and it is saved, then the referee will have the power to order a retake. Even if the penalty is scored, the shot-stopper will still receive a caution.
Finally, the Premier League have also announced a host of changes to penalise clubs if their fans are found using tragedy chants. The use of tragedy chants has increased so much that Erik Ten Hag and Jurgen Klopp issued a statement urging fans not to be up Munich Air Disaster and Hillsborough Stadium Tragedy before the game between Manchester United and Liverpool.