2021/22 Pre-Season Briefing part two: Fighting on six fronts and what’s new

There will also be fewer instances of assistants delaying an offside call until a shot has been attempted or ball goes out of play. Now, when entirely confident a player is offside, and/or in a wide position, not threatening the goal, the official will immediately raise a flag.

What else is new?

This season’s main Premier League match ball is the grey, black and orange Nike Aerowsculpt – almost reminiscent of Chelsea’s cult 1994-96 away kit colours.

Four clubs have appointed new coaches: Tottenham have taken on Nuno Espirito Santo, with Bruno Lage replacing him at Wolves. Rafa Benitez has joined Everton, and our opening day opponents Crystal Palace have appointed Patrick Vieira.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) confirmed competition organisers have the option of allowing teams to use up to five substitutes until the end of 2022, but this has previously been rejected in England. The trialling of up to two concussion substitutes will continue, however. Club doctors will also have access to TV replays to aid rapid assessment.

The Referees Select Group 1, the pool from which the Premier League draws, has risen to 22 in number with the promotion of four new whistlers: John Brooks (Leicestershire), Jarred Gillett (the first Australian to have the honour), Tony Harrington (Teesside) and Michael Salisbury (Lancashire). None has previously officiated a Chelsea match. Wade Smith is the only new referee’s assistant. Lee Mason retired as an on-pitch referee but will be a dedicated Video Assistant Referee (VAR) this season.

In the third and final part of Pre-Season Briefing on Monday, we look at the anniversaries and milestones that await…