Football rule changes for 2018-19

The national transfer window is closed and we are just hours away from the return of Premier League football.  As Leicester City take on Manchester United in what will no doubt see a line of Jose Mourinho excuses ready if the Old Trafford team don’t win, but there will be a few changes in the coming season across the leagues and competitions.

Managers this season will see themselves on the end of a ban if they go too far, in the way of poor behaviour. Four  warnings from the ref and it’s a single one match ban. If the manager or coaching staff are pushing the enraged button even more and accrue another four taking the warnings to eight then it’s a two game ban. If they go on the crazy train of anger, and get twelve warnings it’s a three game ban and 16 it’s an FA misconduct charge and no doubt a whole lot of unhappiness.

We might expect to see technology being used in the technical area in the form of handheld devices, although for some managers later in the season, they might just be checking the news sites to check if they have been sacked before the end of the game. Rules had to be changed and those who choose to use unauthorised equipment will get removed from the touch line and anyone attempting to use it to show officials replays of poor decisions will be shown zero tolerance. It was seen as a way as players and officials would communicate and would be no real way of stopping it.

Suspensions see changes as players will who get yellow cards will only count towards the competition they are in. A yellow card in the FA Cup would not affect Premier League discipline. Sadly though for those receiving a red card  will though see their suspension affect all competitions.  The brighter or not so brighter news is that suspensions could be increased or decreased.

Bans will take place after five yellow cards, with a 19 game cut off, ten yellow cards  with a 32 game cut off and for fifteen by the end of the season, although that might be the least of their worries if they have reached fifteen yellow cards.

So the Carabao Cup (Why on earth are Carabao still sponsoring this competition) sees changes too. All games that are level at 90 minutes will go straight to penalties. There will be no more extra time, so maybe that will see clubs play to win if they don’t quite fancy it, There will be no more ABBA, don’t panic the greatest Swedish musical export is still around, but the ABBA format for penalty shootouts is dead and buried. It’s back to normal for the penalty shootout.

VAR will not be used in the Premier League, but will be used in the FA Cup and League Cup games at Premier League stadiums. Last season saw 19 games feature VAR, whilst this season will be increased to 60 games. I imagine many fans will hope that VAR in the domestic cup competitions will be slightly better than it was during the World Cup.

It looks certain to be an interesting  season ahead and as teams look to keep the reins on Man City’s title defence.

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Football Fixture Release day Review Part One

“So here we are once again, another June another football fixture release day. The final season before the Winter Break comes in also sees Arsenal entering a new beginning post Arsene Wenger. Tottenham will finally see their new ground whilst Liverpool will look to move forward and head to glory, especially if they add to their current transfer activity. Man Utd will look to close the points gap on Man City and even maybe play some old Man Utd entertaining football.

The newly promoted teams will hope like they did last season, all survive. Wolves, Fulham and Cardiff all return to the Premier League and hope that they are several points away from the bottom.

So how did the fixtures computer treat everyone on this World Cup opening day? Will you be cursing or will you be breathing a sigh of relief. Let’s take a look at what  will unfold.

Arsenal fans, I imagine you might well have been shaking your head and cursing the computer. Their first league game under the stewardship of Unai Emery, open with a home game against reigning champions Manchester City, but it doesn’t get easier either as they travel to Stamford Bridge the following weekend before hosting West Ham at the end of August.

December is far from joyful for the Gunners. They kick off the month with the north London derby at the Emirates on the 1st, and then take a trip to Old Trafford a few days later. A few easier fixtures see visits to Southampton and a visit from Huddersfield, but the year ends with a trip to Anfield. Emery’s men will hope to get a better result than previous.

Should Arsenal be chasing Champions League or even the title, then April and May should give them something to look forward to. April sees visits to Everton, Watford and Leicester City with May seeing a visit from the south coast Brighton and a trip to Burnley, which could be the trickiest game.

Man City defend their crown with the already mentioned Arsenal as well as Huddersfield Town, and newly promoted Wolves. Last season Huddersfield took a point from the Champions as the season wound down and they would hope the same again, but the fixture being early in the season, the current Champions will be looking to maintain a strong defence of the title. The last time these two sides met, was in the 2011/12 season when Man City won both fixtures and of course won the title. Could history repeat once more or will Wolves have something to say.

Christmas for Man City sees a lot of travelling for the City fans. Out of the seven fixtures , four of them see visits to Chelsea, Watford, Leicester and end 2018 with a trip to the coast and Southampton. Games at the Etihad see Bournemouth and then back to back games against Everton and Crystal Palace. Should City still be chasing for back to back titles, then come April, Guardiola’s team can look forward to an easier run. April sees Cardiff, Palace, Burnley and a slightly more trickier visit from Tottenham. Leicester provide Man City’s final home game whilst the season finale involves a visit to Brighton

Man Utd start their challenge for the Premier League title starts quite reasonably  with a home game against Leicester and a trip to Brighton (although hoping to forget last seasons trip south) before their third game hosting title chasing rivals Tottenham. In fact the month of September should give Man Utd a reasonable points return with visits to Watford and a home game against Wolves in amongst the trickier trips to Burnley and West Ham.

The first Manchester derby sees the Reds travel to the Etihad on 10th November. The Old Trafford club has a busy December that includes Arsenal, Fulham and home games to Huddersfield on Boxing Day and Bournemouth in the final game of the season.

Man Utd hope to make more of a challenge for the title this season and in the final run in, if the title is still open, the Reds have what should be a fair run in. April doesn’t appear to be too bad. Trips to Wolves and Everton are mixed with home games against the Hammers and a possible tricky game against Chelsea. Groans of unfair fixtures from Old Trafford will seem more quiet.

Liverpool go into the season with some positivity once more. The Champions League might have been a defeat, but the with all the build up, it would appear that Klopp’s team had identified another player and swiping Fabinho from under the noses of Manchester United and will no doubt add more.

The fixtures machine was relatively good to Liverpool with two out of the three August fixtures at Anfield. With no Champions League qualifiers to play, it’s a longer break between pre season and the Premier League opening fixtures. Making early visits to the north west are West Ham and Brighton. The Reds enjoyed home games against West Ham and Brighton. Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace in the second game of the season. It’s a reverse fixture of the second game from last season.

September provides two top six match ups as at the start of September, Liverpool play the first league game against Tottenham at their new ground, whilst finishing September with another London visit in the shape of Chelsea.

December brings a busy month for Liverpool as they play 7 games throughout the month. Anfield sees visits from Everton, Man Utd, Arsenal and Newcastle Utd who reconvene the inbetween Christmas and New Years fixture. Liverpool’s trips away see visits to Burnley and Bournemouth. Last season December brought 15 points out of 21 and 20 goals scored and five goals conceded. Those December games saw Liverpool in a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Emirates and 4-0 at Bournemouth.

Come April Liverpool hope to be higher than fourth and challenging for their nineteenth title, their road to to glory in April sees a somewhat easier run with Chelsea only being the tougher club. May sees a trip to Newcastle Utd and a home game against Wolves. Klopp’s team will certainly avoid a defeat against the Midlands club and will more than likely will avoid season finale loss.

Tottenham bring part one to an end and in turn they bring their Wembley spell to an  end with their first ‘home’ game of the season.  Their game at the new White Hart Lane is against Liverpool which comes after their  trip to Man Utd. They don’t return to White Hart Lane until October when they host Cardiff and Man City. Their other tie is a short trip to the Olympic Stadium

Tottenham go into the final run in with literally home advantage. Four of the six remaining games are at home which should give them a decent hope if they are still within a chance of glory. Brighton, Huddersfield and West Ham visit in April with Everton rounding off the season at the Lane. Spurs do though have a trip to the Etihad in April which could be a possible decider.

Tottenham’s quest for glory will also depend on summer signings, although in the football cliche, tying down their manager and leading striker could be the best two signings. We shall though just have to wait and see.

 

FA Premier League Predictions – Week 38 Rearranged fixtures

After a less than fruitful weekend with 1 correct score and three correct results, the Premier League still has some things to sort. Friday night had seen Brighton secure their place in the Premier League for next season, whilst having predicted a comfy win for their guests Man Utd, it was to be a home win. Having predicted a draw between Bournemouth and struggling Swansea, the Cherries made the battle for survival even more interesting with a 1-0 win. Man City seemed to be enjoying a relaxed affair as the party mood seemed to take over. The Premier League champions played out a 0-0 draw against Huddersfield, who were looking to secure survival, so much for my prediction of a 3-0 win.

West Brom fans may wonder if appointing Darren Moore much sooner than he was, they might have secured Premier League football. I had predicted a 1-1 draw. It had looked like a 0-0 draw until Jake Livermore netted a last minute win. It was a result that Spurs didn’t need as Chelsea beat Liverpool.

Stoke were relegated with a home defeat by Crystal Palace. It was a result that saw my only correctly predicted score. A few months back Palace were looking like going down, but Hodgson somehow managed to get his team working and staying up.

So to this penultimate week and some crucial fixtures

  1.                         Chelsea.  2-0.  Huddersfield.  The Blues have too much for visitors
  2.               Leicester City.  0-3.  Arsenal.           Gunners 1st PL away win of 2018
  3.                       Man City.   2-0. Brighton.          City sign home fixtures with a win.
  4.                   Tottenham.   1-1  Newcastle Utd. Spurs held by Toon, twist for 4th?
  5.                       Swansea.   1-2. Southampton.  Southampton get crucial win
  6.                    West Ham.   1-1  Man Utd.           Hammers hold indifferent Man Utd.

 

So some interesting results predicted, I wonder correct they will be as we move closer to the finish line. My prediction sees Southampton win the key clash between them and Swansea who are in 18th on goal difference. This would relegate West Brom ahead of their final league clash Huddersfield travel to Chelsea probably at the wrong time. The Terriers need a positive result to survive, whilst the hosts need to win to keep their top four hopes up.

Arsenal win their first league away win in 2018 whilst the chase for 4th looks like taking a twist. West Ham will hold a disappointing Man Utd, who probably have one eye on Wembley.

FA Premier League Predictions – Week 36 and time ticks away

It’s back to a full week of Premier League fixtures this weekend and after last weeks poor show, I’m totally pleased. Week 35 brought a miserably 2 out of 6 correctly predicted. Only Arsenal and Man City gave me any joy as Liverpool were denied late on, Everton beat Newcastle and whilst Stoke and Watford games both finished as draws. This week can only be an improvement as the chase for Champions League football hots up and the battle for Premier League survival moves closer to being resolved.

This weekend sees Liverpool in another Saturday lunchtime kick against Premier League strugglers Stoke City. The Reds will look to avoid a repeat of last weekends dropped points as they also look towards Wednesday nights second leg in Rome. Having drawn the last two games, Stoke might think they have a chance. That maybe their only hope given that the Reds are now the only team left unbeaten at home in the Premier League.

  1.                           Burnley.  2-1.  Brighton            Clarets closer to Europa League
  2.                          C.Palace   1-1.   Leicester City   Eagles closer to security
  3.                 Huddersfield.  0-2.   Everton.            Terriers lingering closer to drop
  4.                       Liverpool.  2-0.   Stoke City.         Stoke heading for drop
  5.                         Man Utd.   1-2.  Arsenal.             Wengers final Old Trafford win
  6.              Newcastle. Utd.  2-0.  West Brom.        Toon send Baggies down
  7.                Southampton.   1-1.  Bournemouth   South Coast draw
  8.                        Swansea.   2-2. Chelsea.              4 goal thriller no good for either
  9.                    Tottenham.   1-1. Watford.             Dropped points for Spurs
  10.                    West Ham.    1-3. Man City.            City not easing off

 

Another week sees chances missed and costly points dropped for some sides. Palace look certain to be taking their fight for survival right to the end of the season after drawing 1-1 at home. Stoke City’s trip to Anfield might come inbetween a Champions League semi final, but that won’t be enough to get even a point thus pushing them closer to relegation. For Liverpool the win will strengthen their top four spot.

It doesn’t look promising for Southampton. They need to win and their league game against Chelsea saw them throw away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2. Holding on to that win might have given them hope of survival. The game against Bournemouth looks certain to give them nothing more than a point.

It’s Arsenal travelling to Man Utd on Sunday in what is Arsene Wenger’s last game at Arsenal against United. This fixture has seen a rivalry throughout the years and the Gunners will no doubt look to turn it on at Old Trafford for Wenger’s last trip to Manchester as Arsenal boss. Usually it would be more than likely a home win, I expect Arsenal to steal a 2-1.

Chelsea travel to Swansea knowing they need to ensure a win to keep Champions League qualification hopes up. They went 2-0 down against Southampton before stealing a win against Southampton. They host Swansea City who are looking to ensure Premier League status next season. The Swans wont be as easy to overcome and Chelsea are still prone to moments of unpredictability. Expect the visitors to get a point and deny Chelsea Champions League football.

 

FA Premier League Predictions – Week 34

First of all, let me apologise for the incomplete post for week 33 Premier League predictions. I had written a complete list of predictions with some other paragraphs, I did, honest I swear on my pet fishes life. It turns out that competing on the BBC prediction game enabled me to see how well I did or didn’t do. It turned out that I predicted 1 exact score and 3 correct results. Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Anfield gave the sole correct result, whilst Palace, Burnley and a comeback from Chelsea gave me the correct results.

4This week is another short one as it’s rescheduled games due to Cup clashes. It appears to be a busy week for Premier League fixtures on the south coast as Brighton host Tottenham, whilst Man Utd travel to Bournemouth. Southampton though travel to Leicester whilst the other fixture sees Europa League chasing Burnley take on fellow Europa League bound Chelsea.

I would say it should be a formality in the score predictions this week, but given the last weekend that saw United beaten at home to their what now seems bogey club West Brom, who knows what will happen. Man Utd face Spurs in the Cup this weekend, so will be interesting to see how Spurs fair with their line up. Chelsea will hope to avoid a repeat of the poor start from Saturday with their trip to Burnley. Should it happen again, I very much doubt Burnley will let the game slip away. They may of course find it much harder especially without Alonso who could receive a ban. Leicester host  Southampton with the visitors needing a win and the hosts doing their utmost to try and get some European football for next season.

  1.                          Brighton    2-2   Tottenham.       Spurs held ahead of Cup tie
  2.                Bournemouth    1-1   Man Utd.            Man Utd without a win
  3.                           Burnley.    1-2.  Chelsea.            Chelsea secure vital win
  4.                    Leicester City. 2-0.   Southampton  Saints heading down

 

It will be interesting to see how things pan out over the next few days.

FA Premier League Predictions – Week 32

Welcome back Premier League, how we missed you what with VAR and all that. It’s back to normal this Easter Weekend as the Premier League moves closer to the finishing line and City adding another league title to the trophy as everyone else scraps for Champions League football or Premier League survival.

So as you will remember the weekend before the International break saw a 4 game Premier League week and what a weekend it was. I nailed 1 correct score and 2 correct results. The game that let me down was Huddersfield against Crystal Palace. I had expected the home side to win but the Eagles decided to spoil the 100% wins.

This week sees West Ham and Southampton battle it out in a relegation fight.  West Ham are two points above Southampton who are third from bottom. A Hammers win would make their stay in the Premier League a little more secure although that is not the only concern they have had having seen the fan trouble. A win for the Saints though could seem them move out of the bottom three depending on other results. Stoke City will go to the Emirates hoping they can grab a win and help strengthen the Wenger Out cause. Newcastle Utd take on Huddersfield. A win for the Toon should secure their Premier League status and put more pressure on Huddersfield. West Brom are virtually down barring any great escape miracle.

Crystal Palace host Liverpool in a game that has a bearing both at the bottom and top. A win for the Eagles will edge them closer to safety although given Liverpool’s recent goal spree, it doesn’t bode well for the Palace defence especially with Mo Salah able turn nothing into something. Second place Man Utd host Swansea City. Not so long ago you would have expected the Manchester side to pummel the Swans, but the manager change with Carlos Carvalhal, the Welsh club have only lost three in seventeen so the outcome could go either way especially with the way United seem to play every so often. it wouldnt be the first time that the Swans won at Old Trafford in recent times. Leaders Man City look certain to inch their way closer to glory with maximum points ahead of their Champions League visit to Anfield on Wednesday night.

Anyway time to lay down the predictions

  1.                                                       Arsenal 2-0  Stoke City        City’s woes continue
  2.                                                     Brighton 1-2  Leicester City  Important win for Foxes
  3.                                                      Chelsea  1-1 Tottenham        Honours even at the Bridge
  4.                                           Crystal Palace  1-3  Liverpool         Reds go for glory
  5.                                                      Everton  0-2  Man City           Visitors head towards title
  6.                                                     Man Utd  1-1  Swansea City  United held by Swansea
  7.                                          Newcastle Utd  2-0  Huddersfield   Toon head closer to safety
  8.                                                     Watford  2-1  Bournemouth  Hornets steal win
  9.                                                West Brom  0-2  Burnley             Clarets moving up
  10.                                               West Ham   1-1 Southampton   Draw cranks up pressure

 

Some big results this weekend for teams chasing European places and relegation survival as the games whittle down. Whilst the Premier League title might be done and dusted. It’s all very much to play for as we chomp on our Easter eggs.

 

FA Premier League Preditions – Week 31

This week sees a smaller programme due to the FA Cup quarter finals but what it does give is another opportunity for me to get a good round of predictions. Week 30 saw a total of 8 correct results out of 10. There were no correct scores predicted, but hey who is going to turn down the 8 out of 10 correct results either way.

This week there are four Premier League fixtures of which three affect teams battling to avoid relegation, so with the reduced number of games it is crucial that those clubs playing this weekend take vital points. The other fixture sees a chance for Liverpool to take all three points at home to Watford and keep the pressure on the others in the chase for a top four spot. Liverpool will know that had they got a point at least from Old Trafford, a single point would have separated Man Utd, Liverpool and Tottenham and a Merseyside club would have been third on goal difference. Now though Man Utd have a four point lead over Tottenham and five over Liverpool. Chelsea winning moved them to within four points of Klopp’s team as well. I expect the home side to come out on top and take all three points. There certainly wont be a repeat of the opening game of the season.

At the other end West Brom travel to Bournemouth looking for a league win or maybe jus some dignity as relegation looms ever closer. Stoke City host Everton. Based on form it seems inevitable that the visitors will win. Huddersfield host Crystal Palace in what is another relegation battle. The Eagles look certain to be doomed as they look for a much needed win. This came close against Man Utd only for them to blow it. Then a game against Chelsea brought no joy and a trip up north doesn’t bring any likelihood of joy.

So lets see if I can get 100% this week

  1.                            Bournemouth  2-0   West Brom       No joy for the Baggies
  2.                             Huddersfield   2-0   Crystal Palace  Relegation looms for Eagles
  3.                                   Liverpool   3-0   Watford            Reds back on track
  4.                                   Stoke City   1-2   Everton            Things looking bad for City

The short number of games leads the relegation battle looking even tighter as those teams affected are certain to lose leaving things remaining as they are.