The 2021/22 English Premier League season is underway and there are some interesting changes compared to last season.
Firstly, the way offside decisions will be reviewed under the VAR system will benefit the attacker, meaning the disallowed goals from last season where players were judged to be offside by their armpit will be given.
The third goal for Bruno Fernandes for Manchester United against Leeds United was a good example of that in action on Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford.
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 13, 2021
Referees will also be looking for more significant contact to award a foul. Contact is not enough and the referee will judge whether the contact is enough to force the player to the ground. So, we should see fewer penalties awarded in the Premier League this season and the play will be allowed to flow.
However, the biggest change compared to last season has to be the return of capacity crowds to the Premier League. Hopefully, stadiums will be full until the end of the season and we will have a fantastic atmosphere up and down the country. The return of fans could see a swing in the results from last season and it will be interesting to follow how that develops throughout the campaign.
24% of matches in the Premier League’s inaugural year ended with an away win compared to 40% last season. For the first time in the history of the English football league, across all four divisions, there were more away wins than home wins during the 2020/21 campaign.
There is no doubt the percentage of away wins has been creeping up as the seasons roll by but the number of home wins has remained mostly steady. That means we have been seeing fewer draws and more away wins in the Premier League.
The way teams travel, the luxurious nature of some of the new stadiums and the fact match days in the Premier League are standardised means there is less to intimidate away teams in the Premier League. Even the pitches in the Premier League have to meet a specified size, meaning there is little scope for the home team to make life difficult for the visitors.
However, that does not take away from the fact that the number of away wins we saw last season was artificially high. Even Manchester City had a poor home record as far as champions are concerned so will that change this season with the introduction of the fans?
In the first round of 2021/22 Premier League fixtures, we saw 6 home wins and 4 away wins, without a single draw and that may have something to do with the reintroduction of fans.
It will be impossible to tell if we have seen a return to more normal figures in terms of home and away wins until we are some way through the season but it will be interesting to follow the results to see any changes.