Five Things We Need To See From Premier League Teams This Season
The one thing that every reader and regular visitor to The Boot Room has in common is that they are a fan of football and they love watching it. However like me, I am sure that there are a few things that really frustrate you about modern day football and indeed the footballers who form the backbone of the sport. With the new season having just begun, I have looked at five things that we need to see from the Premier League clubs this time around to ensure that this campaign is better than the last. As you are about to discover, one weekend into the new season, we are already doing relatively well!
It is one of the hottest topics in football at the moment. In comparison to Europe’s other top leagues, we are lagging behind in terms of giving youth a chance and giving home-grown talent a regular place in our starting line-ups. The FA say one of their priorities is to increase the opportunities for those players and ensure that squads are practically bursting at the seems with up and coming English stars. Hopefully this season will see more home-grown players and youth products be given the chance to play in the best league in the world.
Already this season we have seen West Ham’s youngest ever Premier League player help the Hammers to a shock win at the Emirates. 16-year-old Reece Oxford put in an exceptional performance on his league debut and is a prime example that our youth products can do it on the biggest stage. Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek could also be in for a big season after his first-team status grew towards the latter portion of last season. With any luck, these two talented prospects will not be the only two to enjoy breakthrough seasons in the Premier League.
Better and more consistent officiating
Many people believe that the refereeing of last season was the worst that it has been for a while. Misidentification, laughable ‘off-side’ decisions, card happy and card shy referees gained more attention in the 2014/15 campaign than some of the football that was played. Everyone knows the job that the officials have to do is challenging but nevertheless, some of their calls last season beggared belief. With it not looking likely that officials are to be supported by additional technology any time in the near future, and controversial decisions like Courtois’ red card and Jerome’s disallowed goal already making the headlines after only the opening weekend, the officials are surely going to be in for another tough season. But it still has to be hoped that some of officiating and decisions can’t be as bad as some of last year’s Premier League shockers. Surely not?
An end to diving and feigning injuries
The two things that people who do not like football always seem to bring up is firstly the amount of money players receive and additionally, the way that the stars of the game throw themselves around on the floor. There is nothing that can be done about money in football at this point because it has become so engrained but the theatrical diving and over-exaggeration of ‘injuries’ is something that fortunately has been addressed. The FA have introduced new rules to crackdown on players feigning an injury which will see an individual banned if it retrospectively turns out that they faked their condition to result in an opponent receiving their marching orders. This is certainly a step in the right direction and it is pleasing to see the FA introducing new measures to stamp simulation out of the game. The new regulations should not just see fewer players embarrassing themselves this campaign but fewer players embarrassing the sport too.
Teams taking all competitions seriously
One of my biggest gripes in football is selecting weakened sides to take to the field in cup competitions. Footballers are paid to play football, not to play only Premier League football and get rested for cup competitions. Not only is it disrespectful to the other competitions in question, but it is also disrespectful to the generally smaller teams that Premier League clubs tend to come up against. A prime example is West Ham’s inferior side that were knocked out of the Europa League at the third round qualification stage last week. If West Ham United are not a club that should be competing for Europa League football, then what are their ambitions? More teams need to show the desire to win every match regardless of the competition in order to achieve success and silverware for their club and their supporters.
Improving the quality of corners and set pieces
The standard of corners and set pieces in the Premier League last season infuriated me to the point that I was shouting at the TV on multiple occasions each game. The amount of supposedly world class players taking set pieces that could not beat the the first man from a corner was shocking. A staggeringly high number of crossed free kicks that ended up being caught easily by the unchallenged goalkeeper or even sailing into Row Z was dreadful. Seeing Rudy Gestede’s powerful headed goal from an Aston Villa corner, Crystal Palace’s well-worked routine which saw Damien Delaney rifle the ball into the back of the net, and Vincent Kompany’s shouldered/headed goal to put City’s win beyond any doubt fills me with hope that we will not in fact be in for another season of set piece horror.
Despite all my moaning and groaning, I think the one thing that we all want to see; and probably will, is another entertaining campaign that will reassure us all that we are watching the best league in the world. It is bound to be a tighter affair; both at the top and bottom of the table, and with so many Premier League sides spending vast sums of money, the fight to see who can force themselves into the top half of the table will make sure that there will be no ‘dead rubber’ matches towards the end of this season. If this weekend is anything to go by, we could be in for a very memorable season indeed.
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