The Community Shield shows what’s to come for the Premier League

The Community Shield shows what's to come for the Premier League

If England’s professional football were still playing by pre-season rules, Manchester City might now be the Community Shield winner rather than Arsenal. But the Gunners snatched the first title of the season from the treble winner on Sunday in Wembley in injury time injury time: It was already the 101st minute when substitute Leandro Trossard equalized to 1-1 and paved the way for penalties, in where two out of three Man City shooters lost their nerve.

Such a long stoppage time – known from the 2022 Men’s World Cup and 2023 Women’s World Cup – would only have happened in exceptional cases in 2022/23, but it could become the norm in 2023/24. Consistently adding game interruptions to the end is part of a package of measures with which associations and referees want to make English football fairer. Players and coaches also have to be prepared for significantly more strictness.

A trio around Arteta experiences the new austerity directly

The Community Shield gave a first insight: Arsenal midfielder Thomas and ManCity striker Julian Alvarez were consistently penalized with yellow cards because they each kicked the ball away slightly after a whistle and thus prevented the opponent from quickly continuing the game. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been cautioned after gesturing for Rodrigo to be booked. Among other things, there will also be penalties in the future if at least two players surround the referee or an assistant coach runs to his boss who is in front of the coaching zone.

Pep Guardiola are above all the long stoppage times a thorn in the side. Eight minutes were initially indicated at Wembley, but further interruptions added three more. “It was annoying but we have to get used to it,” said the Catalan. “I felt – not because we were on course to win – that not much happened to justify eight minutes.”

Guardiola: “…then we’ll still be playing tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.”

In principle, however, this is a question for the “masterminds” of the international associations. “Because they never ask for our opinions, for those of the people in world football, the coaches and players,” Guardiola criticized frustratedly and pointed: “If you play 4: 3 and add 45 seconds for each goal, we’ll play at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning still.” It’s also about the mental and physical strain on the players.

His former assistant Arteta, on the other hand, has no problem with the new specifications – not necessarily surprising after the course of the game – but finds them “very good”. The time game had “gone too far” in the past. “Now the teams will think twice.”

It is foreseeable that this will not be the last discussion of this kind. The Premier League has only just started, on Friday (9 p.m., LIVE! on kicker) with ManCity’s away game at newly promoted Burnley.


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