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The Guardian: Premier League

Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice
  1. While everyone else is watching the match, the venue manager is looking out for smoke bombs, bread knives and bad weather

    By Harvey Smith for WSC, part of the Guardian Sport Network

    Last season was the first in a decade where my life has not been dictated by the fixture list. This isn’t because I’ve fallen out of love with the game. Quite the opposite. I’ve enjoyed watching more football than I have for some time. Before a recent change of career I worked for two Premier League clubs, most recently as venue manager.

    Being a full-time employee of a professional football club normally means making yourself available for every single home game, every year. There’s no prospect of a mid-season holiday booking or a day off to attend a relative’s wedding. And don’t forget the pre-season friendlies, reserve and youth games, and those charity games held after the season when most people just want to sit in the garden. You can’t just slink off when the team cease to have anything to play for or break up at the end of their season. The stadium could still be in use for concerts, schools’ finals and various sponsors who are entitled to play on the pitch. And by the time that’s all done, next season’s fixtures will be out and that’s your life sorted for another year.

    Related:When should a football club retire a player's shirt number?

    Related:Are goals from the halfway line overrated?

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  2. From Reiss Nelson to Kevin Mirallas we check how the players are doing to see if they have a future at their parent clubs

    Reiss Nelson, 18, Hoffenheim:A whirlwind start to Bundesliga life has seen Nelson flourish, keen to express himself and take responsibility. Often a supersub, the goals are flowing, as is his confidence, and he was named Rookie of the Month for October.

    Related:Nations League and internationals: 10 talking points from this week's games

    Related:Joel Campbell tells Arsenal he is reluctant to go on loan for sixth time

    Related:Gordon Taylor, the world’s ruliest rulers and an attempted PFA coup | Marina Hyde

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  3. • Non-homegrown players would be reduced from 17 to 13
    • Clubs are anxious to avoid a struggle for work permits

    The Football Association will seek to cut the number of foreign players permitted in Premier League squads, even if the United Kingdom does not leave the European Union.

    The FA has drawn up proposals to deal with Brexit under which the allowance of non-homegrown players in the 25-man squads would be reduced from 17 to 13, and will pursue that course regardless.

    Related:Championship clubs ready to revolt over new TV deal with Sky

    Related:Gareth Southgate worries England players are being underused by clubs

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  4. After 12 games the statistics are revealing and at times surprising and José Mourinho will be all too aware of what some mean

    Twelve games into the Premier League season, we have probably learned enough about each team, using the most basic statistical metrics of goals scored, goals conceded and points gained, to come to certain conclusions about their style and their prospects. But with international fixtures forcing the league into a pause there is time to take a deeper dive into the statistical swamp, which reveals a few interesting details.

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  5. Pitting top academy sides against Football League clubs was controversial but it gives young players invaluable experience

    By Gavin Willacy for Playing in the Shadows

    Few will remember it by its original title, the Associate Members Cup. Many will be familiar with its official name: the EFL Trophy. But for those of us who have seen a Leyland DAF Trophy semi-final at Tranmere, an Autoglass Trophy preliminary round group game at Rochdale, Auto Windscreens Shield ties at Millwall, and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Morecambe, the current Checkatrade Trophy is rather surreal.

    Results so far this season include: Yeovil Town 4-0 West Ham, Newport County 3-0 Chelsea, and Cheltenham Town 6-2 Arsenal. Yes, these were the young reserve teams of the high and mighty, but just revel in the bizarreness for a moment.

    Related:Tottenham's academy is succeeding thanks to locally sourced players

    Related:Mixing with lower divisions is football’s school of hard knocks | Liam Rosenior

    Related:When should a football club retire a player's shirt number?

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  6. Today’s Premier League managers put their faith in data quality analysts. Give me an old-school scout any day

    Oh, for the days when football was a much simpler game. I’ve mentioned before Harry Redknapp’s advice to a Russian recruit to Tottenham Hotspur: “Just go out there and run around.”

    Those were the days of “uncompromising” midfielders: dirty as hell (think Billy Bremner); “big centre backs” (think, if you can go back this far, to Chelsea’s Micky Droy, a statuesque lump with all the grace of a newborn foal); wingers with “cultured feet” (a tricky player but often dispossessed by the corner flag); “unlucky” centre forwards (couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo). (I’m sorry to discover that a banjo is a sort of shovel – I long cherished the image of Earl Scruggs pursuing a longhorn across the prairie.)

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  7. The executive chairman’s departure sits awkwardly next to fudged pledges to help football’s grassroots

    It was strangely appropriate that London was in political chaos over the UK’s impending exit from the European Union when the Premier League clubs gathered unruffled at their meeting and awarded their executive chairman, Richard Scudamore, an eye-popping £5m for choosing to leave his job. There they were, modern representatives of football clubs formed as social enterprises in Victorian England, by churches, schools and enlightened employers, presenting an image of being in a kind of money bubble, voting to give grossly excessive thanks to the man who has enriched them over 19 years.

    Related:Richard Scudamore will accept £5m departure bonus from Premier League

    Related:Plan for £5m Scudamore gift shows football no longer the people’s game | Paul Wilson

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  8. What are Fifa’s rules on signing minors? Which clubs have fallen foul of them? And what are the consequences?

    No, Barcelona were handed a two window ban in 2014 for irregularities over the signing of players under the age of 18, when they had a number of prospects from Korea and Africa on their books. The club appealed and succeeded in getting the ban pushed back to 2015, shrewdly using the time thus bought to bring in a clutch of new signings including Luis Suáraz, Ivan Rakitic, Marc-André ter Stegen and Thomas Vermaelen. A year later both Madrid clubs were found guilty of the same offence and forbidden to make any new signings for two windows. Both appealed to the court of arbitration for sport. Atlético had their ban upheld while Real Madrid, who had signed minors including the sons of the then coach Zinedine Zidane, had their punishment reduced to a single window.

    Related:Fifa investigating five Premier League clubs over youth transfers

    Related:Chelsea accused of paying Andreas Christensen’s father for work he did not do

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  9. • VAR to be implemented from next season
    • Widespread opposition to plans to cut overseas players

    The Premier League has finally agreed in principle to introduce video assistant referees next season but discussions over increasing homegrown quotas looks set to continue after clubs indicated they were unwilling to reduce the number of foreign players in the event of any Brexit deal.

    Having opted to extend VAR trials in April, clubs were provided with an update at the shareholders’ meeting on Thursday and have decided to proceed. They will formally make a request to the International Football Association Board and Fifa to use VAR next season.

    Related:Richard Scudamore will accept £5m departure bonus from Premier League

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  10. Moore, Baggio, Maradona, Maldini and ‘the 12th man’ have all been given the honour but is it really a sign of weakness?

    By Ricci Potts for The Gentleman Ultra

    Not long ago I was speaking to some Napoli fans about Lorenzo Insigne. He was born in Naples, signed for the club aged 15 and has been running up the wing at the Stadio San Paolo for nearly a decade. I put it to the supporters that, if Insigne helped the club go one better than the second-place finish they achieved in Serie A last season and Napoli finally won their third league title, it might be fitting to reward him with a new squad number. The club retired Diego Maradona’s No 10 shirt after he inspired them to two league titles in 1987 and 1990. If anyone deserved the honour of bringing it out of retirement, surely it would be local boy Insigne?

    The Napoli fans responded with an unequivocal “no”. It was nothing against Insigne, they said, but rather the simple acknowledgment that no one ever will deserve the No 10 shirt because no one will ever be Maradona. Insigne will have to stick with the No 24 – his wife’s birth date.

    Related:La Liga could teach the Premier League about being competitive

    Related:Golazos galore: the 25 best goals from the golden era of Serie A

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