By Sir Hardly Anyone
Last season 19 players made 10 or more starts in first team matches for Arsenal. In addition to the 38 league games we had six in the League Cup and one in the FA Cup.
This coming season we will obviously be in one extra competition – the Europa League – which will mean at the very least another six games, and quite possibly another 10 or more games all told. We will start in the League Cup one round later, meaning one game fewer, but hopefully will make up for that by not going out in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. So an extra ten games is likely to be the minimum we’ll get.
Here is a list of the 19 players who made ten or more starts last season in declining number of starts.
|10||Emile Smith Rowe||Midfielder||24||12|
|23||Albert Sambi Lokonga||Midfielder||16||8|
|25||Mohamed El Neny||Midfielder||11||6|
Of course we know that Aubameyang and Lacazette have gone taking us down to 17 such players. Incoming we have Matt Turner, Fabio Vieira and, although not officially confirmed as yet, everyone seems to agree, Jesus. Which takes us back to 20.
Quite how we are going to line up, of course we don’t yet know. But one popular guess could give us
Tomiyasu White Gabriel Tierney
Saka Odegaard Martinelli
That lineup leaves Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Elneny, Xhaka, Pepe, Turner, Holding, Soares, and Saliba not playing in the first-choice selection.
Additionally, we have Daniel Ballard, George Lewis, James Olayinka, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Matt Smith, and Zak Swanson who are over 21. We might note in passing that the rules for the under 23 competition that was have now changed making it an under 21 league with five outfield players and the goalkeeper all able to be over 21.
Of course, there is always a high level of turnaround with the under 23, now under 21, squad so many of those under 23s who did not break through last year will have left by the time the season starts.
Meanwhile, the rule about substitutes which was introduced as a covid emergency measure has been retained as a permanent part of the regulations, so nine substitutes can be named for each league game.
Only five of the nine can be made at three separate intervals – which normally means two intervals since clubs need to hold back their final substitute option in case of a late injury.
At the same time, new regulations come into force to control spending on wages, transfers, and agent fees to 70 per cent of club income. This of course is the regulation that Manchester City got around by having such things as an Official Club Tractor Supplier paying lunatic sums for the title and there seems to be no change in the regulations in this regard. So clubs that can somehow get bizarre sponsorship deals from far-off lands look to be able to repeat the process without hindrance.
As a result the fact that clubs will be checked every quarter to ensure that all bills are being paid on time, doesn’t mean much. The clubs will be able to lose €60m over three years – which is twice as much as under the old Financial Fair Play rules. There is also a get-out clause for another €10m loss a year if the club is in “good financial health”. So overall, FFP is being weakened still further.
The spending on wages is limited to 70 percent of club income per calendar year, not per season (the old “per season” rule allowing clubs to get around the regs by moving summer purchases from one season to the next to help avoid the limits).
Clubs breaking the rules can be prohibited from signing players, can be forced to play with smaller squads, and can have points deducted. Clubs that repeatedly break the rules can have stronger sanctions, and the idea is for punishments for one year to be handed out in May the following year. Many of the rules are being phased in over three years although the “No Overdue Payment” rule starts now.
But – and this is the big issue – if a club objects to its punishment, as Manchester City did, it can still appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport. If you want to know the implication of that you might care to glance at CHAIR OF THE COURT OF ARBITRATION IN SPORT ADMITS GIVING BRIBES
That, as they say, sums it all up.
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