A number of changes to the rules governing football have been introduced by the International Football Association Board for the 2016/2017 Season. One of these new rules will see the side kicking off no longer being required to move the ball forwards into the opposition half of the field as witnessed during the recent Euro 2016 tournament.
Further changes have been made in terms of disciplinary measures with referees now allowed to issue Red cards before a match even kicks off. The new law states that a player may be sent off anytime between the pre-match inspection and when the referee leaves the field at the end of the match.
The ‘Triple Punishment Rule’ which saw players concede a penalty, receive a red card and also pick up a subsequent ban has been overhauled. Players committing accidental fouls that deny goal-scoring opportunities in the penalty area will not automatically be sent off, with a yellow card deemed sufficient punishment. The resulting penalty is deemed equivalent of replacing the goal-scoring opportunity. However, in the case of a deliberate hand-ball or where clearly there is no deliberate attempt to play the ball then the player will still be sent off.
If a player is injured by a tackle which results in a Yellow or Red card the player may now be treated on the pitch without the need to leave the field of play. It was often deemed unfair that a poor tackle would result in a temporary numerical advantage and this has rule change should address this issue.
As usual a number of Premier League Clubs have been busy over the Summer months boosting their squad ahead of the 2016/2017 Premier League Season. Here we run down the most notable Transfers and the impact they are expected to make at their new Club:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – The Swedish forward is a global icon and has won numerous trophies with a host of Clubs during his glittering career. United have been lacking a big centre forward in recent Seasons and Zlatan could be just what The Red Devils need to fire them to Premier League glory. Ibrahimovic netted a spectacular goal in pre-season and United fans will hope there is plenty more of that to come from their Number 9 this Season.
N’Golo Kante – Chelsea played below their lofty standards last Season and only managed to finish 10th after a woeful start to the Season. Antonio Conte has wasted little time in strengthening the midfield with the signing of N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman was a key part of Leicester’s title winning side last Season and may find his game improves further still when paired with the likes of Hazard, Fabregas and Willian at Stamford Bridge. Kante’s arrival could mean fewer opportunities for Matic and Mikel at Chelsea.
Paul Pogba – The most protracted transfer saga of the Summer looks like it will end with Paul Pogba joining Manchester United for a world record fee after months of speculation. The Red Devils have flexed their financial muscle by paying a steep price for letting Pogba leave on a Bosman in 2012. Jose Mourinho will have a number of options at his disposal and Louis Van Gaal and David Moyes may feel that things would have gone differently had they had arrivals such as Pogba and Ibrahimovic during their respective tenures.
Granit Xhaka – Arsene Wenger has once again been reserved in the Transfer Market thus far despite Arsenal recording impressive financial results once again. The Gunners have added Granit Xhaka to their ranks following the departures of Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini. The Swiss midfielder should provide a solid presence in the middle of the pitch but many pundits believe Arsenal still need to acquire a top class forward player if they are to mount a serious bid for Premier League glory.
Sadio Mane – Liverpool strengthened their squad and also weakened that of a rival when they poached Sadio Mane from Southampton this Summer. Jurgen Klopp is slowly but surely putting his stamp on the Club he intends to be in charge of on a long term basis. The Reds finished a huge 21 points behind League winners Leicester last Season and need to improve considerably if they are to challenge for a Top 4 finish. Mane will be eager to form a partnership with Daniel Sturridge which should yield a healthy goal tally for Liverpool this Season.
Jose Mourinho – After a huge amount of speculation Jose Mourinho was confirmed as the man to replace Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United. The Portugese manager has enjoyed huge success with all his former Clubs and United fans will be hoping he can deliver silverware to Old Trafford. Mourinho has been busy in the Transfer market this Summer acquiring a number of big name signings to boost the squad at his disposal. United will urge fans to be patient but expectations are high heading into the 2016-2017 Season.
Pep Guardiola – Manchester City fans do not have to wait long to see their new Manager take charge of his first Premier League game. After being announced as the new City boss during last Season excitement has been building in the blue half of Manchester. Guardiola brings with him a hugely successful track record winning countless trophies with Barcelona and Bayern Munich. City is arguably his toughest job to date as he inherits an ageing side who barely qualified for the Champions League by limping home 4th last Season. An exciting Season beckons at The Etihad Stadium.
Antonio Conte – Chelsea are another side under new management following the appointment of Antonio Conte. The Italian manager has enjoyed successful spells in charge of Juventus and more recently the Italian national side. Chelsea finished a lowly 10th last Season and as such have no European commitments which should allow more preparation for League fixtures. Conte is well known for the work rate and organisation shown by his sides and Chelsea should once again be one of the toughest sides to beat in the Premier League.
David Moyes – David Moyes is back in Premier League management having taken over the Sunderland job which was vacated by Sam Allardyce. Moyes has a chance to prove the doubters wrong who were quick to criticise during his disappointing tenure at Manchester United. The Scot has plenty of work to do with a Sunderland with a relatively weak squad that narrowly avoided Relegation last Season. Moyes will need to get the very best out of Jermain Defoe if Sunderland are to avoid another scrap at the bottom of the Premier League in May.