Things that will definitely, maybe happen when the Premier League comes back

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June 11, 2020
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    Anfield

    Anyone remember what this place is used for?

    The world has turned on its head these past few months, things we took for granted abruptly taken away.

    Football, at least, is to return some semblance of normality. But the coronavirus pandemic means – amid the familiar debates – there will be some more unusual talking points. Here’s what we think we can expect.

    1. There will be debate over fan noise ad nauseum

    When the Premier League returns on 17 June, viewers will have the option to switch on artificial crowd noise, which has been trialled in Bundesliga coverage.

    Will it stop the debate though? We wouldn’t bet on it.

    View more on twitter

    For every fan of innovation, there will be a furious purist who sees broadcasters adding Fifa crowd noise to live football as the final blow against authenticity in the game.

    2. Fans may be invited to take part in new and interesting ways

    What’s football without fans?

    Around Europe, we’ve seen clubs mobilise their fans in different ways – from Danish club FC Midtjylland opening up their car park and inviting fans to take part in a drive-thru spectator experience, to La Liga introducing virtual stands.

    Danish fans

    Does the back seat count as restricted view?

    One of the more controversial innovations involved Korean side FC Seoul putting sex dolls in the terraces where fans would usually sit.

    What kind of innovations will English teams come up with?

    View more on twitter

    3. The five-sub rule will throw up interesting dilemmas

    View more on twitter

    It’s official – managers will be able to use five substitutes per game for the remainder of the season. Teams will also be able to name nine substitutes.

    Despite that, there will still only be three opportunities during the game for managers to make a change. With players potentially coming in a bit rusty, we’re very keen to see who will be the first manager to make five subs by 60 minutes.

    4. There will be some very unusual hairstyles on display

    View more on twitter

    This year has thrown us a lot of curveballs so far, but the revelation that Ashley Young can grow a full head of hair has truly got us shook.

    View more on twitter

    With barbers and stylists still out of action because of social distancing measures, we have already been treated to some astounding barnets, as well as some interesting DIY trims.

    View more on twitter

    5. Celebrations could look a bit weird

    With no fans (home or away) to celebrate in front of/goad mercilessly, and social distancing rules in place, how exactly do players and managers celebrate goals with one another?

    Hugs are off the cards, never mind pile-ons.

    Some in the Bundesliga have already discovered the difficulties in navigating this new terrain.

    View more on twitter

    By now, Prem players may have had time to get used to the new codes of conduct, but we can definitely foreesee some slightly awkward, stifled expressions of joy.

    6. Someone will make a joke about a stadium resembling a library

    The Etihad

    Absolutely zero points to the first Twitter wag to say they can’t detect any difference in atmosphere at the ‘Emptyhad’/Emirates/other.

    7. Some fans won’t accept Liverpool’s win

    It’s almost certain Liverpool will seal their first league title in 30 years, maybe even in their first game back.

    View more on twitter

    Just don’t expect all rival fans to accept that lying down. We may set up a penny jar for every time we hear the word asterisk.

    8. ‘Home advantage’ may not be a thing any more

    Without the crowd there to suck the ball into the net, will the home advantage actually mean anything?

    As a test case, in the first couple of weeks after the Bundesliga returned, more away goals had been scored than home goals.

    9. We probably won’t even mind having to live through more tedious VAR debates

    Some things don’t change. Thankfully, we’re so starved of Premier League action right now that we’d actually welcome a heated studio debate on when an armpit 2cm over an arbitrary line does and doesn’t constitute a competitive advantage.

    It cannot come soon enough.

    Source

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