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EPL season kickoff: New signings, new bosses, new rules

EPL By: Collins Udeme | 11/08/2017

EPL season kickoff: New signings, new bosses, new rules

The long wait for the 2017/18 Premier League season comes to an end on Friday August 11, 2017 as Arsenal prepare to host Leicester City at Emirates Stadium - the first time the EPL campaign has started on a Friday.

The EPL top clubs have opened their chequebooks like never before and are preparing to roll out their new signings.

There will be new kits on the pitch, some new faces in the dugouts and several new rules to adjust to and here we bring you some of the key facts ahead of the new season.

IG SPENDERS WITH NEW SIGNINGS

Armed with TV money and the riches of the Premier League, top-tier clubs have taken spending to a new level.

As of 10 August - a day before the start of the season - teams had invested £1.034bn on signings, which means the league as a whole is on course to surpass the record £1.165bn spent last summer, with three weeks of the transfer window still remaining.

Much of this is down to Manchester City's outlay. Boss Pep Guardiola has splashed out over £200m on new signings - the first time an English club has reached that figure in a single window.

Their deals include the £52m move for left-back Benjamin Mendy - a world record for a defender - from Ligue 1 champions Monaco, the capture of right-back Kyle Walker from Tottenham for an initial £45m and the £43m transfer of midfielder Bernado Silva, again from Monaco.

Manchester United have completed the biggest deal of the summer so far by paying Everton £75m for striker Romelu Lukaku, while manager Jose Mourinho returned to former club Chelsea for £40m midfielder Nemanja Matic.

Wayne Rooney's glittering career at Old Trafford came to an end as he completed a return to boyhood club Everton, who also brought in goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland and defender Michael Keane from Burnley, both for deals that would be worth £30m, as well as £23.6m midfielder Davy Klaassen from Ajax.

Champions Chelsea parted with £60m to add striker Alvaro Morata to their squad, Arsenal finally completed a club record £46.5m deal for frontman Alexandre Lacazette and Liverpool brought in £34m winger Mohamed Salah.

Newly promoted Huddersfield Town and Brighton both broke their club records on more than one occasion as they look to survive in their maiden Premier League campaigns, while Newcastle - the other team to come up from the Championship - acquired winger Jacob Murphy from Norwich for £12m.

Tottenham, who finished second last season, have yet to bring in a single player this summer.

NEW MANAGERS

All bar three Premier League clubs stuck with what they had, but the most intriguing managerial appointment was ex-Ajax and Barcelona defender Frank de Boer being installed at Crystal Palace following the shock resignation of Sam Allardyce.

The 112-times capped Dutchman, Palace's first permanent non-British manager, won four Eredivisie titles as boss of Ajax, but lasted just 14 games in an ill-fated spell at Italian giants Inter Milan last season.

The revolving managerial door at St Mary's continued to turn in the summer, as former Alaves boss Mauricio Pellegrino became Southampton's fourth manager in the past four years after replacing Claude Puel.

Watford dispensed with Walter Mazzarri and replaced him with Marco Silva, who resigned as Hull City manager after being unable to save the club from relegation to the Championship. Portuguese Silva was described as "one of the most sought after head coaches" by Hornets chairman Scott Duxbury.

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And having named Craig Shakespeare as caretaker manager following the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri in February, 2016 champions Leicester City confirmed him on a three-year permanent deal.

NEW RULES

A new season brings new rules - and some are more drastic than others:

Bans for diving

Players who dive or feign injury in English football will face bans under new Football Association regulations.

Under the new rules, passed by the governing body at its annual general meeting in May, a panel will review footage each Monday looking for cases of simulation. Any player unanimously found guilty of diving will be given a suspension.

No pitch designs

Pitch patterns and designs will no longer be allowed at stadiums in the Premier League. Rules state that the playing surfaces must contain no markings other than the traditional horizontal and white lines.

Meanwhile, Tottenham will play their home games at Wembley this season - as White Hart Lane is renovated - while Brighton's Amex Stadium and Huddersfield's John Smith's Stadium will host Premier League football for the first time.

A new ball

The official competition match ball will be the Nike Ordem V, described as giving "optimal touch and feel with its updated bladder". A hi-vis version will be introduced when the clocks change from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time in the autumn.

Enhanced away experience

Fans travelling across the country to support their teams on the road this season will be able to take in the action from closer than ever before.

Premier League clubs have agreed to a new rule where away supporters will be seated together at all stadiums and at least one block of away fan seats will be made available pitchside.

Tickets for away fans will remain capped at £30.

Video replays for doctors

Video technology will be allowed into technical areas in an effort to better protect players from the damages of concussion.

Club doctors and physios will now be able to watch replays of any injury sooner after it has happened. Previously, footage could only be reviewed in the tunnel.

Key stats courtesy  of BBC Sports
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