The Premier League will increase the number of substitutes on the bench for the remainder of the season, which is good news for Arsenal’s young players.
The Premier League confirmed on Thursday that they’re increasing the number of substitutes on every matchday team sheet from seven to nine for the remainder of the campaign. That starts from this weekend.
Sadly, they shot down the option to increase the number of substitutions from three to five, though they are planning to bring in concussion substitutes.
You can make up to two concussion-related changes per game, in addition to your usual three subs, but the opposition also get the option to make a sub at the same time. The PL still need permission from IFAB to implement this change.
Why is this good news?
The fact is, it’s obviously a lot easier to integrate young players if you have space to name them on the bench.
Going into a game, you might avoid picking u23s, assuming you’ll need all of your experienced players, only to go 3-0 up (or 3-0 down). At that point, you may as well give opportunities to the young players, but you no longer have that option.
To give a real-world example, Arsenal named Joe Willock as their 19th man against Aston Villa in November. Perhaps he would’ve come on when Thomas Partey got injured and the team then went 3-0 down, but he wasn’t on the bench, so he couldn’t.
If Arsenal had an extra spot in the squad on Wednesday, maybe Emile Smith Rowe would’ve joined them. Perhaps Folarin Balogun, or William Saliba. Once they’re on the bench, there’s always a possibility the circumstances are right for them to come on.
Plus, it’s just a confidence-booster to be around the team, training out on the pitch on matchday. Better that than stuck at home watching on TV.
It’s just a shame we couldn’t get five substitutes back too, given the way it worked for players like Miguel Azeez, Folarin Balogun, and Ben Cottrell in the Europa League.