With a World Cup in November, the 2022-23 Premier League season is shaping up to be like no other in its 30-year history.
There have been plenty of changes over the summer, and extortionate spending up and down the division, with only Leicester City not having made a signing since the end of the 21/22 season.
You can read about how 101 see the season going and more outlandish predictions here.
But, before the season begins, here are five things that you need to keep an eye out for on the opening weekend of the mammoth season.
1. New Rules
No, not the Dua Lipa song (Sorry Dua if you are reading!). There has been a slight tweak to the offside rule, namely when a player is deemed to be offside following a defensive intervention.
Previously, any attempt to play the ball, or ricochet off a defender, could play a forward onside. This has changed, however, after several controversies including in the Nations League final, when Eric Garcia’s faint touch played Kylian Mbappe onside to net the winner, despite the Frenchman beginning from an offside position (see 40 seconds onwards).
And as per ESPN’s Dale Johnson, the new rule is now ‘based upon the expectation that a player who is in an offside position should not become ‘onside’ on all occasions when an opponent moves and touches the ball’, with the law now having been changed to clarify what a deliberate playing of the ball is.
2. New Heroes and familiar faces
At the time of writing, a total of 56 new faces have been brought to the Premier League this summer across the 20 teams. Both Liverpool and Manchester City have secured marquee strikers, while Chelsea have added Napoli veteran Kalidou Koulibaly and Arsenal have splashed out on relative unknown Fabio Vieira.
But there will be plenty of new homes for familiar faces; Raheem Sterling has made the switch from Manchester to west London, while Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko have made the same journey, ending up in the north of the city instead.
Tottenham have recruited from outside of the top 6, bringing stars Yves Bissouma and Richarlison into north London, while Everton have poached Burnley duo James Tarkowski Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski.
There will be plenty to adjust to over the opening weekend.
3. It’s Official(s)
It is not just in the playing XI’s that new faces will be spotted, with plenty of fresh officials in the middle of the action too. Mike Dean led an en-masse refereeing retirement at the end of 2021-22, with Martin Atkinson, Kevin Friend and Jon Moss also hanging up their whistles.
There will be just one completely new face, with Tom Bramall having been recruited from the Championship, but there will be much bigger roles for the likes of Jarred Gillet, Michael Salisbury, Tony Harrington and John Brooks.
Not familiar with those names? That isn’t a total surprise, given that Gillet took charge of just 9 games last season, while the other three combined for a further 10, 20% of the total number refereed by those that retired last season.
As rage with the old order of PMGOL reached fever pitch towards the end of last season, they will be hoping for an incident-free start to the 2022-23 campaign.
4. All change
By far the biggest change heading into the new campaign is the Premier League falling into line with the rest of World Football and introducing five substitutes per game available to managers.
It is something that Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have been campaigning for across the past two seasons, with the measure initially introduced to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Now, there will be five changes (plus a concussion substitute if necessary) available to each side, meaning that coaches will be able to change half of their outfield side, though they can still only make their substitutes in three blocks (excluding half-time).
This could hand added firepower to the bigger sides later on, and it remains to be seen how it will affect the flow of games, but it is likely to force sides to have much bigger squads.
5. Fresh blood in the dugout
Only two managers will be completely new to Premier League football, with Erik ten Hag having joined Manchester United and Steve Cooper tasting his first Premier League action with newly promoted Nottingham Forest, and both will be hoping for a strong first impression.
But it will be the beginning of a first full Premier League season at their new clubs for almost half the league’s coaches.
Antonio Conte, Frank Lampard, Scott Parker, Steven Gerrard, Marco Silva, Eddie Howe and Jesse Marsch were all appointed during last season or, in the cases of Parker and Silva, have only just been promoted.
With a full summer to assess their squads and bring in the personnel that they believe will help them push on to their targets, we will finally see begin to see the best of these managers.