The Premier League rule changes that will affect Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham this season


A new Premier League season gets underway with Arsenal making a short trip across London to play newly promoted Brentford.

The Bees will be desperate to get off to a dream start in the league by winning their first match in the top-flight in 74 years.

Meanwhile, the Gunners have been striving to overhaul their squad behind the scenes this summer in order to help improve on a poor domestic performance last time around.

They will reportedly travel without talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette through illness – as per the Athletic – but Mikel Arteta will still be hoping his side can get off to a solid start ahead of what promises to be a difficult encounter with Chelsea at the Emirates next weekend.

And for the game in west London, a rule change will come into place that will affect both sides, as well as the other 18 teams in the top flight of English football when they take to the field across the weekend.


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As confirmed in the Premier League handbook for the new season, the rule states that nine substitutions are being permitted in matchday squads.

A statement reads: “Subject to Rule L.28A, in any league match a club may include in its teamsheet up to nine substitute players of whom not more than three may take part in the league match subject to the conditions set out in Law 3 of the Laws of the Game.”

That is an increase from seven substitutes to nine, which is a benefit to the bigger clubs in the league who have larger squads than others.

With that said, the substitutes rule is not the only change coming into play from tonight. Here are some of the other more significant rule changes that will impact the two sides tonight.

Handball rule

One rule that is changing is the accidental handball rule.

The change means that any accidental handball in the build-up to a goal will no longer be deemed an offence.

The new rule states: “A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation. By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and being penalised.”

VAR offside lines

The Premier League are using thicker lines to determine offside calls this campaign after fans voiced their concerns at goals being disallowed for offside players when they appeared to be level with the defensive line.

Thus, the aim is to eliminate situations where a goal is ruled out because of a toe being very slightly offside.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) have agreed upon the introduction of thicker lines, however, it is unclear how thick the lines will be as of yet.

Covid-19 spot-checks

Fans are set to be subject to random spot-checks of their Covid-19 status at grounds in the opening few weeks of the new season, including tonight.

A statement reads: “Initially, in the first few matchdays of the season, supporters can expect the introduction of random spot-checks for ticket holders at some grounds as we establish the required processes so clubs and fans are prepared for all match attenders to have their Covid-19 status checked upon arrival, should it become mandatory.

“Even though the nation is reopening, the Government has made it clear that this pandemic is still far from over.

You may notice this piece of writing has been produced by a name you’re not familiar with on our regular Arsenal content.

That is because we are expanding our horizons and starting to bring even more to you from a whole host of different voices. We have appointed a whole host of people who – like our journalists – care deeply about what’s happening at the Emirates Stadium – but sit in the stands rather than the press box.

We want to give you raw, authentic fan voices about the big issues at Arsenal – which is why the story you have read today might sit on Football London for now, and is part of the Football London family, but is not representative of those who work there full time.

Keep your eyes peeled for more info on where you can read more from this author in the future. But in the meantime, we hope you enjoy what they have written.

“It is possible the safety measures for matches could be subject to change at short notice. Fans should continue to follow the latest public health guidance and guidance from their club.

“However, even in these uncertain times, we are optimistic that by continuing to work together with fans, supporter groups, football stakeholders, national Government and local authorities everyone can enjoy full and vibrant stadiums while staying safe from Covid-19.

“The Premier League will continue consulting with all key stakeholders, including the Football Supporters’ Association, and will be running a series of fan-engagement campaigns to help all ticket-holders ensure they are match-ready.”





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