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Five substitute rule rejected for next season – how did it impact the Premier League?

The Premier League has had a dramatic season, first with a three-month suspension and then with the new rule changes introduced because of Covid-19.

In light of the new announcement that the five substitute rule has been voted out for next season, new research by Free Super Tips shows how the substitute rule change introduced to the game since 17 June impacted the position of teams in the Premier League table.

Impact of the five substitute rule

As part of the Premier League Project Restart, a new rule was introduced on substituting extra players – from three to five.


On average, all teams in the Premier League have used four substitutes in each game, which is an increase of one extra substitute per match. The teams in the bottom four positions have used on average 1.4 extra substitutes per game compared to top elite clubs 1.3 substitutions extra per game.

Free Super Tips investigated goal contributions by these “ghost subs”, who have impacted both ends of the table.

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In Aston Villa’s game against Newcastle, 4th substitute El Mohamady came on to score a goal to level the score and rescue Aston Villa a point in a 1-1 draw, a point that could have proved vital in saving themselves from relegation. This is a fate that could cost clubs as much as £100m revenue.

Paired with the bizarre error from Hawk-Eye (goal line technology) against Sheffield United in the first game back salvaging another point, it is easy to see why Bournemouth and Watford fans might feel a little hard done by.

Amongst the other most contentious occurrence of this is at Leicester City where the 4th substitute influenced the result when playing against Crystal Palace. During this match, Harvey Barnes entered the field and assisted two goals that won the game.

Leicester City were in a battle for the Champions League positions, this is three points that could have cost their rivals Manchester United upwards of £40m, had they not eventually qualified, having to beat Leicester themselves on the final day of the season.