Bacary Sagna Exclusive: New Subs Rule A Game Changer

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Former Arsenal and Manchester City right-back Bacary Sagna believes the introduction of five substitutions this season is a game changer for the Premier League.

The concept was introduced across a number of other competitions during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is now being implemented in England’s top flight for the first time.

And Sagna feels this is a positive amendment to the rulebook for a number of reasons – including player welfare and increased opportunities for young players.


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Game Changer

Speaking exclusively to Lord Ping, he said: “Of course, this is something new for the Premier League. 

“I think it will be a good change for the league because the physical demands on players increase every year. 

“One player cannot afford to play 60 games a season, so, for managers to be able to make two more substitutions will be a massive addition.

“I think you will see really intense matches in the Premier League because of this change and it will also allow more young players opportunities to play.

“There are pros and cons for the introduction of five subs. Some people believe that it will give a greater advantage to the bigger clubs with deeper squads.

“I don't think so. Football is about quality, it's not about money. Every club will have players waiting for a chance to show how good they are – that will be looking to take this opportunity. More subs offer younger and squad players the platform to impress.

“Now these players have an extra chance to show what they can do and I believe for smaller teams, it's a chance to play more academy players and to become more competitive against better teams. 

“Smaller clubs will be able to compete against the bigger clubs physically, while the players will be able to give everything because they know that there is an opportunity for greater freshness within the team.

“The extra substitutions will give the Premier League even more competition next season and, I think, quite a few good surprises.”

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Impact On Tactical Approach

Sagna has also suggested that the change will prompt Premier League managers to alter their tactical approaches, in the knowledge that they have more options to affect the game.

The Frenchman is anticipating more entertaining contests next term, as coaches look to capitalise on their additional two substitutions.

“If a team is losing, you now have the chance to really put the opponent under pressure for the final part of the match,” he continued. 

“Tactically, it's going to be a massive change.

“Managers might be a bit more attacking from the beginning of the match, because they will have more options to defend a lead. 

“The change will give more freedom to managers and also more freedom to the players.

“I believe the quality of football will improve because the matches will be more physically intense. 

“Players will be fully committed and they will give everything from the first to the last minute, without thinking about energy reserves because they know half the team can be replaced.

“It is a massive game changer when you think about player welfare and we will see a more exciting Premier League with more goals as a result.”

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