Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Will five playable subs make much difference?

We recently heard that FIFA was agreeable to allow five substitutions per game to help with the completion of the leagues that remain dormant. The Premier League always has seven subs in the bench but only three can be used in a match. So will it make much of a difference if Project Restart goes ahead? I have visions of the days when Sven-GΓΆran Eriksson used to make 10 subs at half-time.
Will five subs really make a difference to matches?
On the face of it, the initial reaction may seem quite calm and unbothered about the option for more subs. We haven't heard as much criticism as we have over playing at neutral grounds, but I do see an advantage to some clubs with the new declaration of five usable subs. It will be another advantage to the bigger clubs that have more expansive squads and more experienced players. They will be able to get more of their millions on the pitch, whereas smaller teams, like dare I say Bournemouth, won't have the same kind of player depth in their squads.

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Looking at Bournemouth's squad and the possible players that would fill the seven places on the bench it might also be a bonus in that the Cherries have quite an attacking squad. Eddie Howe could have the likes of Harry Wilson (if he can continue his loan from Liverpool), Junior Stanislas, Sam Surridge, Dominic Solanke, Arnaut Danjuma and Lewis Cook among their bench options for attacking players, as well as a keeper and defender. But it is more likely that Howe would pick at least two and possibly three defenders on the bench  - Diego Rico, Chris Mepham and Simon Francis.

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I think we will only know if it is good thing to increase the number of subs if a team uses the option well and starts making the changes work on the pitch. We don't know if players will find it hard going because they haven't played for weeks, and I don't see it really a measure that I can see will protect the players from the virus, even though it has been described as a player welfare measure. You are just replacing one player with another, so a risk has been taken by the player coming off and the one going on. It's just going to be five subs being exposed to the game instead of three. If anything you are risking more players to contact. But the option is there, and AFCB have to make sure that they know how best to work it when the games start again.

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In other news, the Premier League met yesterday and proposed that the league should be finished on 'sporting merit' in an effort to rule out a 'null and void' season and any objections to the neutral ground proposal for 'Project Restart'.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - The Championship would be worse for AFCB than for the fans

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