premier league

A Guide to the Premier League

If you mention “the Premier League”, the odds are that people will know to which specific sports league you are referring. Although organisations within world darts, Indian cricket, and even Australian basketball all use the premier league moniker, it is England’s top division of club association football, or soccer, that can most convincingly claim the title for itself. The English Premier League is a global export and an international brand; TV rights in the UK alone are worth over £4 billion.

The Beginning of the Premier League

The Premier League, also known as the English Premier League – EPL to some people – and formerly known for sponsorship reasons as the Barclays Premier League and Barclays Premiership, was first established in 1991, but its first season began in 1992. A total of 22 association football clubs, primarily those that had been in the top division the previous season, took part in that inaugural 1992/1993 campaign.

As of the 2022/2023 season, 12 of those teams still compete in the Premier League: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Nottingham Forest, Southampton, and Tottenham Hotspur. Only Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur can claim to have played in all iterations of the competition, however.

The prestige of the teams involved, the many rivalries which punctuate the league table, and the glory which comes with winning the Premier League trophy all contribute to it being one of the most high-profile sports competitions in the world; websites such as can attest to the demand for Premier League tickets, and millions more watch on televisions around the globe.

The first-ever Premier League goal was famously scored by Sheffield United’s Brian Deane, whose header helped his side beat Manchester United 2-1 on the opening day of the season. Despite the early set-back, Manchester United would go on to lift the Premier League trophy, becoming the first champions of the new league format.

As of 2022, United has won the Premier League on a further 12 occasions, doing so in 1993/1994, 1995/1996, 1996/1997, 1998/1999, 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2002/2003, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2010/2022, and 2012/2013 seasons. They are the most successful side in Premier League history. Neighbour and rival Manchester City is the next most successful club, with 6 titles and counting; Chelsea has 5, Arsenal has 3, and Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City, and Liverpool have all won the title once each.

Premier League Rules & Regulations

Although the competition began with 22 teams, this was trimmed down to 20 teams by the end of the 1994/1995 season. It is also worth mentioning that whilst the Premier League is a nominally English competition, it has also included teams from Wales, namely Cardiff City and Swansea City.

The Premier League season typically takes place from August to May. Each of the 20 teams plays the other 19 teams twice – once at home, and once away from home. Each team thus plays a total of 38 matches in a season. In order to win the Premier League trophy, a team must sit at the top of the league table after all teams have played all of their matches.

If a team wins a Premier League match it is awarded 3 points; if a team loses a match, it receives 0 points. In the event of a draw, both teams get 1 point each. These points are then added up and the 20 teams are ranked in the league table. Should teams be tied on an equal number of league points, factors such as goals difference (that teams’ total goals scored, minus the goals they have conceded) are taken into consideration.

Premier League matches are structured in the same way as standard association football matches: teams of 11 players – including goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and attackers – compete against each other in 90-minute matches, comprised of 2 halves of 45 minutes each. Small amounts of time can also be added onto the end of the halves, for example in the event of a stoppage in play due to an injury.

During the 90 minutes, the teams both try to score goals, by propelling the ball into the opposition’s goal. Some matches can be low-scoring (0-0 draws are not uncommon), but some matches can be incredibly high-scoring; the highest-scoring match in Premier League history took place in September 2007, when Portsmouth beat Reading 7-4, at Fratton Park. According to statisticians, the average number of goals scored in a Premier League match during the 2021/2022 season was 2.818 – nearly 3 goals a game!

As well as trying to score goals, Premier League players also have to contend with the rest of association football’s rules and regulations. Premier League referees can give out yellow and red cards to players – and managers – who commit fouls or exhibit dissenting behaviour. Video Assistant Referees (VAR) can also weigh in on decision-making, though not every foul or event falls under their jurisdiction. VAR was first used in the Premier League during the 2019/2020 season.

Premier League Fans

Whilst not all football fans have been enamoured by the use of VAR and video review technology, millions are united in their belief that the Premier League provides unmatched entertainment, drama, and competitiveness. As and other sports ticketing sites have found, Premier League match tickets are highly coveted and always in demand. Premier League fans fill stadiums from Bournemouth and Brighton to Leeds and Newcastle, all weeks of the season.

According to ESPN, the highest Premier League attendance of the 2021/2022 season came courtesy of Manchester United’s home fixture against Chelsea, when 73,564 fans watched on at Old Trafford.

Whilst the Premier League’s TV rights are, as previously mentioned, incredibly lucrative, the history, prestige, and fan-fuelled in-stadium atmospheres mean spectators keep coming back to Premier League grounds – their presence has helped make Premier League football matches some of the most watched events in association football, and Premier League tickets some of the hottest in world sport.

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