The Premier League risks becoming as disjointed as American football

The Premier League is in danger of becoming as disjointed as American football… with four games exceeding 100 minutes and the ball in play accounting for just 46.3% of Brentford’s stunning win over Manchester United

  • Play was interrupted 49 times on Saturday, including substitutions and drink breaks
  • The ball was in play for less than half of Saturday’s three different matches
  • Some wonder if clubs are abusing the new five substitutions rule

Premier League games risked becoming as scrappy as American football as fans suffered a mass stoppage on Saturday.

Play has been interrupted a total of 49 times, including substitutions and drink breaks, with four games exceeding 100 minutes. The number of in-game breaks does not include breaks for VAR checks or extended injuries.

In Brentford’s win over Manchester United, the ball was in play for just 46.3% of the game, the lowest figure in the league at the weekend. In two other games the ball was also in play for less than half of the game.

The ball was in play for less than half of the three different Premier League matches on Saturday

Beverage breaks allowed due to hot weather added to breaks in top-flight matches

Beverage breaks allowed due to hot weather added to breaks in top-flight matches

It has added to a sense of frustration on the terraces as fans watch less action each week while having to shell out huge sums for tickets.

Some wonder whether clubs in a winning position are abusing the new five-subs rule to slow down time, rather than for player welfare reasons, as the rule was intended.

At the start of the kick-off, Aston Villa made a triple substitution (having already made one) in the 94th minute with a precarious game at 2-1.

Drink breaks were permitted by the Premier League this weekend due to soaring temperatures across the UK. But rather than lasting the recommended sixty seconds, several lasted well over two minutes.

A hydration break in Wolves’ game against Fulham even took two minutes and 34 seconds, suggesting the break was being used by managers to convey tactical information as well.

It has been questioned whether clubs in a winning position abuse the five substitution rules

It has been questioned whether clubs in a winning position abuse the five substitution rules

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