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Premier League Five Substitutions: A new controversy?

The Premier League heavyweights still have a lot of work to do if they want to force through the introduction of five substitutes in their league fixtures. Take a Look at the positions and the mindset of all the clubs.

Last updated: 28.11.2020
Premier League Five Substitutions | Sports Social Blog

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The Premier League heavyweights still have a lot of work to do if they want to force through the introduction of five substitutes in their league fixtures. With many players being sidelined due to injuries and the ongoing pandemic, many big clubs have campaigned hard for the decision to turn positive for them.

Clubs have criticized the Premier League for not following the other leagues in Rest of Europe by permitting them to use extra subs to deal with the hectic scheduling caused by this unprecedented condition. All other European leagues, plus UEFA competitions held across Europe, permit clubs to use five subs per game. The FA Women’s Super League does as well and the EFL announced on Wednesday that they will allow five subs again from Friday after consulting with clubs. On this note, Premier League clubs had the opportunity to vote on the use of five subs and have twice voted the motion down, with the majority believing it would give the bigger, richer clubs an advantage and thus their low powering squads would not be able to use the benefit for long.

A congested season has always led to more muscle injuries than ever. As per reports, Athletic reported a 42% increase in muscle injuries in the Premier League after five match days when compared to last season. This can also be the reason for long breaks and a very small gap between both the seasons. Adding on to the issue are International breaks, with the international teams facing each other 3 times within a week. This tight schedule is bound to cause an issue for players.


Talking about the situation in England, pressure for the change went up by a notch when the English Football League allowed five substitutes for the first time this season in its latest round of matches. Despite reports that the managers of the top clubs from the league, led by Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, had secured the support of enough other people from the league to carry any future vote on the issue, the outcome is still uncertain. Top-flight managers even met last week and clarified their positions ahead of the weekend's fixtures and while some have swapped sides of their liking in the debate, or have been pushed into agreeing, others may still need persuading.

Looking at the positions and the mindset of all the clubs:

Premier League Teams on Five Substitutes

Team                                       What the Manager Said

In Favour          

Manchester City  -  'We don't protect the players, that's why it's a disaster’

Liverpool  - 'It's not an advantage, it's a necessity. 100 percent.'

Manchester United - 'I cannot believe the vote went against, because we         have to look after the players'

Arsenal - 'We have to protect (players) as much as possible.'

Chelsea - 'Everywhere else has five subs, so we have to revisit this.'

Brighton - 'It lightens the load... and gives help towards the players.'

Southampton - 'Five subs in this special season with this very intense time... It's OK for me.'

Go with It         

West Ham United - 'For this season only... I wouldn't be against going to five substitutions.'

West Brom - 'It would help to keep the health of the players. The Premier League must decide.'

Leicester City - 'I wouldn't be against being able to use five substitutes in a game.'

Everton - 'I am for three... but if five can help the health of the players we can have five.'

Tottenham - 'I am OK with three; I am OK with five.'



Fulham - 'If five subs is proven to improve player wellbeing... 'I'll be the first to say I understand'

Crystal Palace - 'I'd be happy enough to say if it's what everybody wants, go along with it.'


Burnley - 'For the big clubs who play lots of games, of course, it is useful.'

Sheffield - 'I'm bothered about Sheffield United and it doesn't help us to have five subs.'

Newcastle - 'I voted against it. I still don't think [lack of subs] is the real reason for players' fatigue.'

Wolves - 'My opinion doesn't change. I am not 100% sure [more subs are] going to prevent injury.'

Aston Villa - 'I'm not seeing any trends from my players that suggest player welfare is an issue.'

Leeds United - Marcelo Bielsa is the only manager not to have clarified his position, but Leeds were previously reported to have opposed the return to five substitutes

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