On August 10th, the spectacle and wonder that is the English Premier League makes its glorious return to our lives. Every season is full of ups and downs, and last season was no exception. To get you in the mood for the upcoming spell of nail-biting and probably disappointing results, we have rounded up the highs and the lows from 2017’s season for you to get your studs into.
New Punishment for Managers
There won’t be any red or yellow cards shown to managers this season, but new rules will impose automatic touchline bans. Any manager who receives four warnings will receive an automatic one-game touchline ban. Unlike accumulated cautions for players, there will be no automatic reset after a certain number of games. Eight warnings will result in a two-match ban, 12 warnings will bring a three-match ban and if it ever came to it, 16 will lead to a misconduct charge with a sanction to be determined by a disciplinary panel. I’m sorry, but if you’ve had 16 warnings before the end of the season, it’s probably best just to keep your mouth shut.
Tekkers new match balls
There once was a time when footballs would be made of 32 black and white panels all stitched together, which would sting like hell if you were the unlucky victim in a playful yet torturous game of red-ass. However, the year is now 2018 and the spanking-new Nike Merlin ball to be used this season has just four panels and minimal seams. Apparently, it helps it cut through the air, for ultimate pace and control. Best of luck to all the goalkeepers this season.
Tottenham’s new home
After playing the majority of games last season to a pretty empty-looking Wembley stadium, Tottenham’s new home should keep fans happy and hopefully inspire some belief. The new stadium, second only to Old Trafford in size, with 62,062 seats behind Manchester’s 74,994, is built on the old White Hart Lane site and will host its very first match on Monday, August 27th. Fun fact, the new stadium will also host a number of NFL matches during the American football tour next year.
Neil Etheridge, Cardiff’s underdog keeper that helped them gain promotion last year, is more than familiar with his way around a pitch. But this season, the 28-year-old will be the first ever Filipino player to grace the EPL. Not only this, he will be the first ever player from the South East of Asia (with a population of 650 million) to play in the league. However, we won’t have to wait long for a second Premiership player to hail from South East Asia. 17-year-old (YES 17!?), Ben Davis, already holds a professional contract with Fulham, but there will be a delay on his arrival as he completes his two years national service when he turns 18. But when he joins the Premier League, he will be the first EVER player from Singapore to feature in the EPL.
Slavisa Jokanovic and Nuno Espirito Santo will experience the PL for the first time as a reward for guiding Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fulham to promotion from the Championship, respectively. Jokanovic, 49, will be the first Serbian to manage in England's top tier, while Nuno, 44, will be the tenth Portuguese national, but the first native of the African island of Sao Tome and Principe, to grace the competition. Maurizio Sarri, the 59-year-old Italian, has replaced compatriot Antonio Conte at Chelsea, while Arsenal's Unai Emery takes over from the longest-serving manager in the history of the competition, Arsene Wenger.
Shiny new kits for referees
Okay, so it may not sound like anything incredibly exciting, but the referees are getting brand new kits this year (I know, right?!). Not only will there be four new colours added to the clothes rail, but they have longer sleeves for comfort, two lovely-large chest pockets for their snacks and calculators, and due to the brand-new high-tech material, these will be the fastest drying and most comfortable referee shirts ever. Sounds pretty cool.
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