As the 2019/20 season is upon us, it is time to review the teams and the players we’ll get to see in the coming months. We will also take a look at some things that have never been seen before in this competition. Let’s dive in.
So far, we have seen some impressive scorers. At the time of writing this article, the top spot is shared by Raheem Sterling from Man City and Teemu Pukki from Norwich, with five goals each. It is worth noting that these two were also the only ones so far to have gotten a hat-trick. Sterling’s teammate, Sergio Agüero, has scored four goals up until now, and so has Ashley Barnes from Burnley. Liverpool’s star, Mohamed Salah, is trailing close behind with three goals of his own.
Things are looking good for Manchester City, as they also hold the top spot for the most assists. Kevin De Bruyne left everyone else in the dust with four remarkable assists. The only team with two clean sheets is Everton, thanks to Jordan Pickford. However, Everton should be on their guard, as they are one of the only two teams with a red card.
There is a special novelty that comes as a breath of fresh air. Onel Hernandez has the opportunity to be remembered by the annals of soccer as the first Cuban player in the League, provided Norwich City has him in their lineup against the Reds.
We’ve mentioned Pickford before as the one Everton has to thank for their astounding defense, but the player will face a new challenge, along with other goalkeepers. The goalies are no longer allowed to stand behind the line before a penalty kick. Furthermore, they have to have at least one foot on the goal line or, if they are jumping to make a save, they have to be lined up with the line. This is a slightly confusing rule and a definite game-changer.
That being said, there is also a new plus to the defense. During a free kick, if there is a wall, the attacking team has to keep away from it by at least a yard. This is because the players have been known to try and obscure the goalie’s view of the kick, as well as weaken the integrity of the wall.
In case of substitutions, players are now required to leave the pitch the quickest way possible, by going to the closest goal line or the touchline. We are likely to see this rule enforced for the first time in the upcoming match between Liverpool and Norwich City. If the players dilly-dally, they will face penalties for unsportsmanlike behavior.
There is also a new rule regarding handling the ball. Earlier, penalizing the player that touched the ball with his hand or arm was subjective and relied on their intent. Now, however, the intent has no bearing on the matter and all instances of handling the ball, save those that involve ricocheting, will be sanctioned.