Arsenal Debate – Should we keep the 5-sub rule permanently?

Many fans have sympathised with clubs regarding the fairness of managers being allowed to use 5 substitutions, saying it gives the bigger clubs an unfair advantage as naturally they will have the better squads.

It is worth reminding readers though that out of the 20 teams, 16 voted in favour of the idea. Common sense would have suggested that it would make it harder to beat the likes of Man City or Liverpool, with a Guardiola and Klopp having the option of changing up to half of their outfield players.

Yet when push comes to shove managers prioritised being able to rotate and freshen up talent. Some might be regretting that decision now.

While I feel sorry for spectators who might feel they might now get relegated on a crucial change of protocol halfway through the season, I don’t feel sorry for any Premiership club themselves. Whether it be the water breaks, the empty stadiums, etc, owners prioritised greed over the integrity of the sport.
Throughout lockdown they were not willing to compromise, making it clear they would take legal action if football didn’t resume.

Project restart wasn’t to offer escapism to the public, it was all about losing as little money as possible.

Which is fine, I don’t want any business to suffer if it can be helped but you can’t have it both ways.

If you fight against voiding the season you can’t use it as an excuse when the only current way to play is to adapt.

I have always worried that too much emphasis has been put on talent needing a rest.

I understand that some of the top scientists are employed to say who’s near that red zone, but I will always maintain that there has been zero evidence that being successful in one competition impacts your success rate in others. That’s why the most successful sides in history win Doubles or even Trebles.

Have you ever noticed when fit, Messi and Ronaldo demand to play?

The best way to win the next game is by being as confident as possible. You get that by winning.

You could field fringe players at the weekend and get humiliated, does that really give you a higher chance of winning in midweek just because the first team had their feet up? Or is it better to build momentum?

We have heard many fans and pundits wanting the sub rule to go back to normal for the next campaign, but we haven’t had too many hints from what bosses are thinking.

FIFA have given the green light for a bench of 9 to continue into 2021 due to the quick turnaround between seasons. It’s now up to individual Leagues across the world to decide what they want to do. The Premier League’s criteria are basing changes on a majority vote of over 14.

Just because viewers don’t seem to like the concept doesn’t mean who they support will comply.

Look how many top sides prioritise a rest over a chance to win the FA Cup.

The current Champions sent in the Youth team for the Cups so they could have a holiday (even their coach didn’t bother to show up).

The calendar finally includes the much sought-after winter break and yet there are still complaints that players are overplayed.

So, I don’t think it’s a given that there will be at least 7 clubs who will be in the minority. History shows that there are those who believe that players can’t cope with 2 games a week. My fear is if this time next year if we are still seeing up to five subs, where will it end?

In a few years will it be extended to 7? Why not make it 11?

At which point do we take the basketball route and make switches every few minutes?

Those who want to wrap their stars up in cotton wool, how far do you take it?

Based on my own viewing pleasure It takes a lot of romance away. It’s harder to believe the possibility of an upset when you know an underdog could be doing well then after an hour then have to face 5 fresh world class players.

Think of any shock you have seen; it takes some luck. That luck decreases the more options you have in the dugout. For example, would Wigan have won the FA Cup if Man City were able to make so many changes?

I would also argue protecting talent from fatigue (the reason this idea was implemented) has hardly made the product more entertaining.

Instead of the second half seeing freshness make games more exciting, it’s slowed the game down. Instead of tactical switches we are seeing changes for the sake of changes.

What do you think gooners? Do you like the 5-sub rule? Would you like it to stay?

Be Kind In The Comments

Dan Smith


  1. I think it should stay. If it can help reduce injury. All teams will have the same amount of subs so i dont see how better teams have an advantage at all. Yes they have better players but thats what makes them better, number of sub makes no difference to that at all.

  2. It makes me feel bad for underdogs who have slim quality in their squad, but it can help them make better use of experienced player with high quality and lower stamina.
    It can decrease injuries and help to give more opportunities to players.
    If it is for one year, due to compact schedule, I vote for it to stay but not permensntly

  3. 5 Sub’s in 3 stoppage time. No advantage and no disadvantage, same game, same way. Equal opportunities to all clubs.

  4. I don’t see the benefit of 3 subs at all. Why not have no limit subs with time interval between subs? I never get it why a team should be disadvantaged when they have used all subs and another get injured.

  5. In the short term the 5 subs rule seems ok.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to see it permanently. Part of having a limited number of substitutions per game is that it’s down to the manager being canny about when and which player is brought on or replaced. To me, the team that starts should more or less be the one that finishes, which again makes the manager more accountable for his selections.

    On a side issue, I also hope that if the drinks break is allowed to continue during hot spells, that the managers are not allowed to coach the players.

  6. I already thought it was a great idea before the restart but I am now more convinced than ever! I don’t believe it ‘ll give big clubs such an advantage ,they sure have strong subs benches but it will not increase the quality of the subs,nothing will change very good,great players will still refuse to sign for them knowing they will not start much of the games ,even if the changes means they’ll have a better chance to come on, actually it would benefit smaller clubs with small squads better,when their main players get tired they can bring fresh players as avoiding injuries due to fatigue, what about young players being given more playing time say when the game is over it will also add more competition in the squad and better performances with players knowing that if they are not playing well there is another 5 players waiting for their changes,what about better games?with higher tempo for 90nimutes,with the managers telling their players to give their all without worrying,if push comes to shove substitution,what about less chances of a team conceding a late goal and losing the game after playing with 10 men because if injuries they had used all their subs…I am sure that there is some negatives but the positives are there for all to see no?

  7. OT.. Mavropanos has signed a new deal and is off to Stuttgart on loan next season, according to reports….

    1. I know it’s another loan but this one will be different,he will have a proper pre season,fully fit and a full season to gain more experience and improve,from the way he has played he is an important player tor his team so game time won’t be an issue, also we have too many CB’s and he still only 22 years old if I am correct,if he impresses next season,he goes back to us and hopefully we would have got rid of most of them by then,I think the loan at a club where he is already settled is the right move and he ‘ll definitely be busy on the pitch too!,,,👍

      1. I’m glad we’re just not letting him go for next to nothing, Siamois! As you say, he’s young and with more experience and hopefully not as many injuries, he could very well be an important player for us!!
        Good luck to him at Stuttgart 👍

    2. Yes Sue he was signed by Sven Mislintat who really rates him and who I believe found him for us!

  8. DAN seems to befirmly against making these changes permanent. If so, then we are in total agreemenrt DAN. Constant and pointless tinkering with thegame spoils enjoyment. So much in modern football has changed for the worse and esp in the FA Cup, thus ruining it and spoiling enjoyment. I BADLY WANTED TO KEEP REPLAYS, AS THEY ARE SOMEOF MY PERSONAL GREATEST MEMORIES OF CUP GAMES.

    More importantly though, extra subs helps the bigger clubs and is unfair. I may be regarded by some as a dinosaur when I say I was and remain against the rule forbidding keepers from picking up back passes. I see no benefits in this change and all it means is that KEEPERS NOW, WHEN UNDER PRESSURE, KICK THE BALL WILDLY UPFIELD AND OFTEN SLICE IT INTO TOUCH, THUS REGRESSSING THE GAME. Very few changes in recent years have been for the better in my view and most have made the game less enjoyable; the worst of all by far being the use of VAR which has slowed down the flow and ruined the spectacle, as well as stupidly undermining the onfield ref.
    What SHOULD have happened instead of VAR is to enforce, by far greater punishment, the vital and all important respect by players for refs decisions. It happens in Rugby and could in football too, if only there were the will and the respect for authority was enforced properly, instead of being undermined.
    For proven diving, AKA cheating, I would give mandatory 6 match bans with no appeal, decided by a video panel of 3-5 all ex pro footballers and no refs on that panel. Footballers know the game, refs know only the laws and there is a key difference. BUT refs still need to be obeyed and respected when making onfield decisions or the game drifts , as it has, into anarchy and disrepute.

    1. I’m with you on this Jon especially your take on diving. This win at any cost aspect of modern day football makes me cringe. Even a red card with a 3 game ban would stop it in it’s tracks.

  9. Why not, i see no problem with it, its good to have more choice and the squad can be used more effectively.

  10. I would love to see unlimited subs without stopping the game for that substitute, never gonna happen though.

  11. It benefits teams with big squads and a lot of quality. so it wouldn’t benefit us. In that case I am against it.

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