How rule changes could affect Fantasy Premier League managers
New Premier League rules are set to come into play for the 2019/20 campaign
Fantasy Premier League managers are likely to spend the majority of the off-season trying to answer two key questions.
Firstly, can they afford to go without premium defenders after the successful seasons the likes of Trent-Alexander Arnold, Andy Robertson and Virgil van Dijk have enjoyed?
On top of this, they must also decide whether the inclusion of recognised penalty takers is going to be essential going forward, with VAR set to be introduced in the Premier League for the first time when the 2019/20 season gets under way.
However, there are also a number of subtle changes to the laws of the game that are poised to be brought in ahead of the new season, three of which could well have a bearing on those much sought-after fantasy points.
Attacking players will no longer be allowed to stand in walls of 3 or more defenders at free kicks with opposing players directed to stand at least a metre away.
This is likely to put an end to some of the shenanigans that go on at free kicks and it will fascinating to see if the likes of James Ward-Prowse can build on the dead ball success he enjoyed in 2018/19.
Goalkeepers may be breathing a sigh of relief but the smarter clubs will no doubt soon be working on alternative ‘screening’ and ‘distraction’ strategies!
While shot-stoppers are likely to welcome the above rule, the same cannot be said of another change that is being introduced.
Goalkeepers will now be obliged to keep one foot on the line when a penalty kick is being taken and the men between the sticks will no longer be allowed to touch the posts before the kick. This could add to the appeal of penalty takers but the jury is still out on whether VAR actually increases the number of penalties that are awarded judging by statistics from other leagues that are expertly illustrated in this Economist article.
Whenever a player is substituted, they will now be required to exit the field at the nearest point.
This has been introduced to stop players from time wasting by positioning themselves as far away from the dugout as possible when they are about to be taken off late in games. So, keep an eye on the likes of Sergio Agüero, who is frequently substituted and famous for his slow walks. If the referees clamp down on it, we may well see players being sanctioned with yellow cards.
Additional rule changes will also see goals being ruled out for handball in the build-up to a goal regardless of whether the incident was accidental or otherwise, the end of the old fashioned drop balls, with the ball now being given back to the last team in possession, while referees will also be allowed to brandish yellow and red cards to coaches and technical staff.
A winter break will also debut during the 2019/20 campaign with fixtures set to be split into two batches of 5 games played over successive weekends. This may well mean that an extended gameweek is offered by many sites although there are sure to be slates focusing on individual weekends too.