Inside shot of Old Trafford.

What's new for the 2019/20 season?

Manchester United will kick off another Premier League season on Sunday, when we take on Chelsea at Old Trafford.

It's less than four months since we last hosted the Blues but, during that time, there have been lots of changes - both inside and outside the club. 

We bring you up to speed with some of the significant things that are different for the 2019/20 season...

VAR IS HERE

For the first time in the Premier League, the Video Assistant Referee system - otherwise known as VAR - will be in place for all matches. The technology, which will also be used in the Emirates FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Champions League, will help referees regarding decisions about goals, penalties, direct red-card incidents and mistaken identity. The Premier League have maintained they want VAR to be used with ‘minimum interference for maximum benefit’ and fans at Old Trafford will be informed about decisions via LED scoreboards, pitchside digital boards and over the PA system. View a more detailed explanation about VAR at Old Trafford here.

RULE CHANGES

There are a host of new law changes in effect this season, including:

  • Goals will be disallowed if the ball hits an attacker’s arm in the build-up - even if it is accidental
  • Attacking players can no longer stand in the wall for free-kicks, if there are three or more defensive players in the wall
  • Goalkeepers must have at least one foot on the goal-line for penalties
  • Players must now leave the pitch at the closest point when substituted and are allowed to receive the ball inside the box from a goal-kick 
  • Managers and coaches on the sidelines can now be cautioned
  • Drop balls will no longer be contested - the ball will go to the team that played the ball before the referee stopped play
A pitchside digital board at Old Trafford.
A pitchside digital board at Old Trafford, where VAR messages will be communicated.

THREE NEW TEAMS TO WELCOME

With Cardiff City, Fulham and Huddersfield Town all dropping down to the Championship last season following relegation, their places have been filled by three newly promoted sides. Norwich City were the first to secure their return to the top flight after winning the Championship title in 2018/19, and they were soon followed by runners-up Sheffield United. A few weeks later, Aston Villa confirmed their place in the Premier League after a three-year hiatus, when they beat Derby County in the play-off final at Wembley. 

A NEW STADIUM TO VISIT

As well as trips to Carrow Road, Bramall Lane and Villa Park, our travelling supporters will also visit Tottenham Hotspur’s new ground for the first time. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was supposed to be completed during the early part of last season but was delayed until April, with Mauricio Pochettino’s men occupying Wembley in the intervening period. This year, the Reds will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s success away to Spurs, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men won 1-0 back in January. We're due to travel to Spurs' new home on 14 March 2020, although this date is subject to change. 

A NEW BROADCASTER IN THE UK

Our home match against Tottenham will be broadcast live in the UK via Amazon Prime, the first time the online streaming service will show Premier League matches. The clash at Old Trafford in early December will be broadcast by Amazon Prime, as too will our home fixture against Newcastle United a few weeks later, which is currently scheduled for Boxing Day. Like last season, Sky Sports and BT Sport will also screen games live in the UK.

THREE NEW MANAGERS

Chris Hughton, Maurizio Sarri and Rafael Benitez all left their respective posts during the summer, meaning we can expect three new visiting managers in the opposition dugout this season. Hughton has been replaced at Brighton & Hove Albion by Graham Potter, who moved from Swansea City, while former Red Steve Bruce will be a welcomed guest at Old Trafford this year, following his appointment at Newcastle. The Reds will also begin the new season by hosting a new manager in the top division, with Frank Lampard bringing his Chelsea side to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday. The former midfielder, who is the Blues' all-time leading goalscorer, replaced Sarri this summer after the Italian took over at Juventus.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard.
Frank Lampard will be in the away dugout this weekend as Chelsea's manager.
A WINTER BREAK

The Premier League have introduced the first winter break for the 2019/20 campaign. Commonplace in many of Europe’s top divisions, the mid-season interval is designed to give the players a chance to recharge their batteries ahead of the final part of the campaign. The winter break will take place over the second and third weekends in February, with 10 teams featuring on each weekend, while the other half have a week off. United are scheduled to take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge over one of those weekends (8 or 15 February) and will, therefore, enjoy a rest during the other.

NEW FACES IN THE MIDDLE

There will be two new referees for the upcoming season, with Andy Madley and Peter Bankes being promoted to the Select Group of referees. The pair mainly covered Championship matches last term but will predominantly take charge of Premier Leagues games in 2019/20. We could well see them at Old Trafford in the months ahead. 

AN UPDATE ON THE CAPTAINCY

After last weekend's final pre-season outing against AC Milan, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that Ashley Young will be the new club captain, following Antonio Valencia’s departure during the summer. The boss said that Young, who is entering his ninth season with the Reds, will wear the armband when he plays. 
Ashley Young during the pre-season friendly against Leeds United.
Young wearing the captain's armband during pre-season.

NEW SIGNINGS

The Reds brought in three new players during the summer transfer window and fans will be keen to see them in action over the next nine months. Winger Daniel James was the first through the door, joining from Swansea City. The Wales winger has impressed in pre-season and will be hoping to continue that form into the Premier League campaign. Next in was defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who signed from Crystal Palace. Nicknamed ‘The Spider’ because of his long legs and tackling ability, the 21-year-old has inherited the no.29 jersey. Finally, England international Harry Maguire joined the Reds this week, completing his move from Leicester City. Check out the full list of ins and outs for the first team and Academy here.

NEW COACHING STAFF FOR OUR UNDER-23S

Neil Wood has been appointed as the new lead coach of our Under-23s for this season, with former Reds midfielder Quinton Fortune appointed as an assistant coach. Wood is a former Reserves captain at United and was part of the coaching team at Aston Villa before returning home to Manchester this summer. After overseeing a 2-0 win at Rotherham United in the EFL Trophy this week in their first game at the helm, Wood and Fortune took charge of their first Premier League 2 game away at West Bromwich Albion on Friday night. 

Video
Manchester United Under-23 coach Neil Wood.
WATCH: Under-23s coach Neil Wood speaking during our summer trip to Austria.

A NEW COMPETITION FOR OUR YOUNGSTERS

As mentioned above, a team of United youngsters made a winning start in the EFL Trophy, which has been rebranded to Leasing.Com Trophy. This is the first season United will compete in the tournament, which mainly features players aged 21 or under. The Reds will also play Lincoln City and Doncaster Rovers in the four-team group. 

THE TOP FLIGHT AWAITS FOR OUR WOMEN'S TEAM

After an outstanding inaugural season in 2018/19, in which Casey Stoney’s side emerged were crowned winners of the FA Women's Championship, the Reds will embark on our first campaign in the Women's Super League. United begin the WSL campaign with a trip to local rivals Manchester City on 7 September, a game which will be played at the Etihad Stadium. Our first home game of the season comes nine days later against Arsenal at Leigh Sports Village. There have been a few comings and goings over the summer as Stoney reshapes her squad for the challenge ahead in the top flight. Check out the full list of ins and outs here.

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