The Premier League is back with a bang and already Liverpool have emerged victorious 4-1 against Norwich City. All the players seemed to be enthusiastic, motivated and in their best form, although Alisson Becker did seem to suffer an ankle injury. This year, the Reds will strive harder to win their first Premier League after their tragedy last season.
Manchester City are the reigning champions; syndicate captains and pundits believe they will be the victors this year once again. Many are going for a 3-way race between Spurs, Liverpool & Man City going to the wire. Man City, again, will triumph, perhaps even on the last day!
However, things may be very different this year and can go either way. Both sides need to adjust to the plenty of new rules that fans and players need to look out for. First off, the ball does not have to leave the penalty area from a goal kick, which many sides took advantage of during the Women’s World Cup.
Players being substituted now have to leave the field at the nearest point in an attempt to cut down on time-wasting and attacking players are also not allowed in a defensive wall from free-kicks when there are three or more defenders.
So if an attacking player is less than one metre from the wall when a free kick is taken, they will be penalised and the other team will be rewarded with an indirect free kick. VAR -video assistant referee- will be used in the Premier League as well, after it’s success in FIFA.
Any goal that involves accidental handball will not be counted. The rule also includes that the player’s ‘natural’ position of hand or arm above shoulder height is a risk and will be counted as intentional handball. Also, any team official guilty of misconduct will now be shown a yellow or red card. Pep Guardiola fell foul of this in the Community Shield as he was booked.
Players can now be booked if they score, celebrate in over-exuberant fashion and the goal then gets disallowed by VAR. Before, if two teams were level on points, goal difference, goals for and goals against, their place in the table would’ve been determined by a play-off. Now, it will be determined by their head-to-head record.
A new ruling has effectively rendered drop balls obsolete unless the ball touches the referee or another match official. Instead of a drop ball, the last team to touch the ball will get possession. These are all the new significant rules so far. Let’s see how well players adapt in the upcoming Premier League matches.