Most of the observations in the new 2021/22 English Premier league season have to do with rules and regulations, especially concerning the Video Assistant Referee [VAR].
From 1mm to 5cm; VAR morphing
Players were caught offside by their toenail or flying hair in the 2020/21 EPL season, but this new season, forwards can now have a bit of room to manoeuvre as the VAR lines will grow from 1mm to 5cm as Brentford host Arsenal in the season opener on Friday.
What that effectively means is that if an offside call is close, the goal will be given–as opposed to just sticking with the original decision barring a ‘clear and obvious’ error.
Penalty calls will be made, irrespective of going to ground
Often, forwards have had to go down in the penalty box to guarantee penalty calls from referees, but in the new season, referees will award penalties as long as a foul in the box is recognised whether or not the player goes to the ground.
Referees and VAR officials have been instructed to look at contact, the consequence of contact, and the intention of attackers to come to penalty decisions.
Mike Riley, the head of PGMOL said, “The clear message is football is about contact so, the principles we’ve established are referees should look for contact, and establish clear contact, then ask themselves the question ‘does that contact have a consequence?
“And then ask themselves the question ‘has the player used that contact to actually try and win a penalty?”
Backing into opponents to win free kicks
Riley again explains, “Again, it’s that interaction between the centre-forward and centre-half. If either player is using their centre of gravity to knock somebody off theirs, that’s dangerous. And that free-kick should be the other way around.”
The ball has changed again
Nike has produced another version of the ‘Nike Flight’ for the 2021/22 season. Designed with graffiti-like design, the ball has a guaranteed flight trajectory. Nike says, “The panel configuration also influences how the ball flies.
Nike Flight carries a fuse-welded four panel construction with 40 per cent fewer stiff seams than a traditional 12-panel ball. This construction enables a prominent sweet spot for superior touch and performance.” Goalkeepers have to be very careful in judging the flight of the ball or else…
Brentford are absolute newbies
In their 131 years of existence, this will be a first-ever campaign for the bees in the Premier League. There have been heartaches down the line.
Brentford made it into the play-offs for the third time in the past seven seasons in May, but many of their fans were pessimistic about their chances of actually winning promotion.
But win, they did under the guidance of their movie-star-looking manager, Thomas Frank.
In six pre-season matches, Brentford won four, drew one and lost one. They played a thrilling 2-2 with Manchester United at Old Trafford and beat Valencia 2-1.
The Bees look ready to sting and have been afforded a worthy welcome-to host Arsenal on Friday with all eyes fixed on the Community Stadium.
Will the Bees survive or will their wings be clipped?
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