Big signings, new teams and rule changes: the big start

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Erik ten Hag, Joe Worrall, Erling Haaland, subs board
New managers, teams, players and rules are in this season

The 31st season of the Premier League gets off to an earlier start than usual – Crystal Palace take on Arsenal on Friday – as football tries to fit in a winter World Cup.

What’s new this season, who are the new faces and how does winter break work?

BBC Sport explains all…

New rules

The biggest change is that each team can make five substitutions per game, up from three.

The Premier League introduced the rule for the rest of the 2019-20 season when football returned after the first Covid lockdown of 2020.

While most other European leagues – and Uefa competitions – kept five substitutes, English football reverted to three.

Five substitutions will now be allowed from a nine-man bench. Teams have three chances to use their five substitutions, plus the option to make them at half-time, after which no further substitutions can be made.

In another change, the Premier League will introduce a multi-ball system to reduce delays when the ball is out of play.

There will be 10 balls in total: the match ball, one with the fourth official and eight around the pitch in cones alongside a ‘ball assistant’.

There are also provisions for matches to be postponed due to a lack of players, although the Premier League will assess each team’s request on a case-by-case basis.

“Approval will only be granted where the impact of the player’s unavailability on a club’s squad is truly exceptional and where the club concerned has taken all reasonable steps to avoid the need to submit the application.” he says

There is also a new ball…

New teams

Nottingham Forest are back in the Premier League for the first time in 23 years, since relegation in 1998-99.

He took them 8,414 games and 1,069 league and play-off games to return, defeating Huddersfield 1-0 at Wembley in May. No team has spent more time in the Championship before returning to the top flight.

Nottingham Forest promoted
Nottingham Forest were the first team to win the European Cup and were relegated to the third national division

The other two teams coming in have been in the top flight most recently.

Scott Parker and Fulham, who were relegated in 2020-21, are back in the Premier League now, but not together.

Fulham, under Marco Silva, made it five consecutive seasons bouncing between the Championship and the Premier League as they secured promotion as champions.

Parker left Craven Cottage for Bournemouth last June and took the Cherries, who were in the Premier League until 2020, in second place.

However, a familiar side will be missing – it will be the first Premier League season without Burnley since 2015-16. Norwich and Watford were relegated after just one campaign.

New managers

Erik ten Hag becomes the eighth person to manage Manchester United – including goalkeepers and interim bosses – since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

The 52-year-old led Ajax to two Dutch doubles and a third Eredivisie title in his four-and-a-half years in Amsterdam.

United will be hoping to help them return to the Champions League and challenge for a first trophy since 2017.

The other new manager is Welsh Steve Cooper at Nottingham Forest.

The 42-year-old, who has never played for England, managed England Under-16s and Under-17s before a two-year spell as Swansea boss.

He took over at Forest in September, when they were top of the table and in the midst of their worst start to a season since 1913, and led them to promotion via the play-offs.

Parker and Silva have managed in the Premier League before, while Ten Hag was the only managerial change of the summer.

New players

There have been a number of Premier League signings this summer, but all eyes will be on Manchester City striker Erling Haaland.

The £51million signing from Borussia Dortmund has scored more than 130 goals in club football and 20 more for Norway. He just turned 22.

Another big deal saw Liverpool replace Sadio Mane, who left for Bayern Munich, with Benfica striker Darwin Nunez for £64m.

Tottenham signed Everton striker Richarlison for £60m, Manchester City sold striker Gabriel Jesus and defender Oleksandr Zinchenko for a combined £75m to Arsenal and Raheem Sterling to Chelsea for £50m.

City signed Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips for £45m, Manchester United brought in Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez and Chelsea signed Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

West Ham spent more than £60m on Rennes defender Nayef Aguerd and Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca.

Among the big names who left the Premier League are Alexandre Lacazette, Paul Pogba, Mane, Romelu Lukaku, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Raphinha.

New winter holidays

As a first for English football, this winter there will be six weeks without a Premier League match, as a result of the Qatar World Cup it moves to November and December.

There will be no Premier League football between November 13 and December 26.

Teams are also expected to have more time between their Christmas games, although there will only be two non-match days between December 26 and January 5.

The season starts a week earlier than last term – Friday, August 5 – and ends a week later – Sunday, May 28 – to accommodate this break.

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