Should three become five?

November 12, 2020 - 09:28
Both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp believe five substitutes should be allowed instead of three.


PEP TALK: Both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp believe five substitutes should be allowed instead of three. AFP/VNA Photo.

Paul Kennedy

I don’t think many people would disagree that the two best managers in the Premier League right about now are Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola.

Their teams are playing the best football by a country mile and at the end of the past three seasons, it has been one of the two crowned champions.

This season will probably yield the same result.

So when Pep and Jurgen talk, everyone else would be wise to listen. They both know their stuff and have been extremely successful in Spain, German and England.

Last week after the two sides met in Manchester, the Spaniard and German were in deep conversation at the end of the 1-1 draw and Pep later explained the topic of discussion.

Both managers said that the FA needs to allow teams to make five substitutions per game instead of the given three. If not, more injuries are likely.

Their arguments are based around an increase in fixtures, especially in the Champions League, as well as TV scheduling in England with kick-off times often moved around to suit the likes of Sky and BT Sports.

Klopp used Manchester United’s recent scheduling as an example. United played away from home in Turkey on Wednesday evening, then in the Premier League three days later, faced Everton in the early kick-off.

If you think it's busy now, wait until Christmas when fixture congestion gets even more jam-packed.

Right now, in leagues all across Europe, teams are still allowed to make five substitutions per game. Not so in England.

Would this help ease the pressure and reduce injuries? Probably. It would certainly give teams the chance to keep players fresh for the challenges ahead.

Supporters of some teams, often those not playing in Europe, are suggesting the big boys should shut up and get on with it.

But sorry West Bromwich Albion and Everton fans, until your boys are playing three Champions League fixtures a month with big games in between, I don’t think your points are valid.

It is estimated that for TV rights in England, each Premier League team pocketed at least VNĐ1 trillion last season so the value of television should never be underestimated.

But surely those calling for five substitutions have a valid point.

Games need to be played, fixtures completed, and for those top five clubs from last season, they must travel all across Europe to play in the Champions and Europa leagues.

So there has to be a little bit of give and take. After Christmas, you can add the FA Cup to the busy schedule, although it’s highly unlikely the top clubs will be fielding their best elevens in the early rounds.

Whether the powers that be give in and take note of what many are saying and allow two extra substitutions in Premier League matches is another matter.

But if they don’t do what is already allowed in Spain, Italy and France, I don’t expect you will see an English team crowned champions of Europe next season. VNS