Aston Villa battle against five substitutes

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Aston Villa are among the clubs leading the fight against proposals to allow five substitutes in Premier League matches next season.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith

Top-flight clubs will vote tomorrow on whether to extend a temporary rule change which saw the number of substitutions permitted increased by two when football restarted in June.

Villa boss Dean Smith has been an outspoken critic, claiming it favoured the bigger clubs who possess more strength in depth, while Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has also cautioned against the rule being used next season.

Those who want to extend it include Chelsea, but they will require 14 clubs to vote in favour in order for that to happen.

The initial rule change, which saw the number of players on the bench raised from seven to nine, was brought in by Fifa to guard against the increased risk of injury due to player fatigue.

Any decision on whether to carry it over to next season has been left to individual competitions, with Uefa having already confirmed it will move back to three substitutes for next year’s Champions and Europa Leagues.

Villa were one of just four clubs to vote against increasing the number of substitutes when it was first brought to the table in May. Smith subsequently pointed to the rule change as a factor in defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool.

Villa are, meanwhile, poised to bolster their youth ranks with the signing of midfield prospect Ben Chrisene from Exeter. The 16-year-old made five appearances for the League Two club last season.

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.


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