English football | Premier League

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How did the Premier League competition come about?

With the foundation of the English Football League in 1888, the first-ever season of English professional football was launched within a year, with Preston North End, founded in 1881, winning the first-ever English league title. This victory also made them the first football champion in the world. From 1892, people spoke for a century of the Football League First Division or simply First Division. Since the 1992-1993 season, it has been referred to as the Premier League.

The best teams in this league

Based on the total number of league titles since the national competition started in 1888, Manchester United and Liverpool FC are the two best English teams with 20 and 19 titles respectively. Arsenal (13), Everton (9) and Aston Villa (7) are within the top five here.

For the first ten years of this century, the Premier League was dominated by the “big four”: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

When we base ourselves on the five final standings from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020 and the almost completely contested most recent competition, Manchester City is the dominant club. City clearly give a group of four teams that are equal to each other: Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea. But the currently less well-playing Arsenal also remain a formidable opponent.

For several years now, the gap between the top teams of the Premier League and the other clubs has been denounced. This gap is mainly related to a club’s available financial resources. However, UEFA applies a Financial Fairplay, whereby football clubs are not allowed to spend more money on wages and on transfers than they receive on (football-related) income. With this Financial Fairplay, UEFA wants to eliminate inequalities between clubs, but actually achieves the opposite effect: the creation of healthy clubs, but at the same time a confirmation of the ruling hierarchy.

Premier League - Manchester City

Manchester City

Since 2010-2020, this top team has always finished in the top three, except for one season in which it still finished fourth.

8x National Champion since 1888, 4x in Premier League since 1992.

6x cup winner

1x European Cup II / Europa League

Premier League - Manchester United

Manchester United FC

20x National Champion since 1888, of which 13x in the Premier League since 1992.

12 x cup winner

3x European Cup I/Champions League

1x European Cup II/Europa League

Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

2x National Champion in the Premier League since 1992.

8x cup winner

1x European Cup II/Europa League

Premier League - Liverpool FC

Liverpool FC

19x National Champion since 1888, including 1x in the Premier League since 1992.

8x cup winner

6x European Cup I/Champions League

3x European Cup II/Europa League

Premier League - Chelsea FC

Chelsea FC

6x National Champion since 1888, of which 5x in the Premier League since 1992.

8x cup winner

2x European Cup I/Champions League

2x European Cup II/Europa League

Premier League - Arsenal FC


13x National Champion since 1888, including 3x in the Premier League since 1992.

14 x cup winner (national record)

1x European Cup II/Europa League

Arsenal have been playing football at the highest English level since 1919, making it the record holder. Since 1946-1947, Arsenal is the only one of the top clubs that has never been relegated.

What is the competition like?

In the Premier League, 20 clubs play against each other between August and May. The team with the highest number of game points after 38 games is the champion. So there will be no extra play-offs.

There has only been a winter break in the English league since 2019-2020. This is mainly to reduce the high number of injuries from playing non-stop.

The last three teams in the final standings are relegated directly to the Championship competition. The champion and the runner-up in the Championship are promoted directly to the Premier League. Numbers three to six contest the remaining third promotion place via the very popular play-off matches.

On the Premier League website we see in the final standings behind the name of each club the number of matches already played, the number of won, undecided and lost matches. You can also find the number of goals and goals against, the goal difference, and the total number of match points.

Interesting to know is that clubs from Wales can also force a place in the Premier League. They have to do this via the so-called English football pyramid, a complicated hierarchical system in which a multitude of clubs can be promoted and relegated from one league to another (League).

FA Cup

The English Cup  (FA Cup) contested for the first time in 1871-1872 is the oldest football tournament in the world. With the national champion, the first four qualify for the group stage of the Champions League. The fifth in the final standings will be allowed to participate in the Europa League, along with the winners of the FA Cup and the EFL Cup (the former League Cup).

In 2010, the Football Association Women’s Super League was founded, in which twelve teams recently played.

Extra information

– At the end of the 1980s, English football was in the doldrums, partly due to outdated stadiums and aggressive hooligans. After the 1985 Heysel drama (in which 39 people died) during the European Cup I final between Liverpool and Juventus, the English clubs were banned from European competitions for five years.

– Top goalscorer in the Premier League (since 1992) is Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers & Newcastle United) with 260 goals in the period 1992-2006.

– Fastest ever goal in the Premier League: Shane Long (Southampton) scored after 7.69 seconds in 2019.
– Football champion with the highest number of match points: Manchester City in 2017-2018 with 100 points.

– Manchester United is one of the few clubs that managed to reach the European top with its youth academy. In addition, the club is a partner of UNICEF and a national ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund.


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