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An Introduction to the EPL - Season 2016/2017
The English Premier League, or Premiership as we know it, began in 1992. It was formerly known as the First Division, and this league harks back all the way to 1888. It is the top level of domestic competition in England, and right now, it is possibly the most exciting league in Europe.
There are three divisions - or leagues - below the EPL. These are the Championship (which is the league directly under the EPL), the First Division and the Second Division. To get promoted to the hallowed land of the EPL, teams in the Championship must either finish in the top two of the 24 team league, or if they finish in the positions between 3rd and 6th place, the winner of a Play-Off between those teams also makes it to the promised land of the EPL.
Learn more about the divisions and get the latest odds on every team in the league - simply follow this link here for the best EPL odds and latest betting markets
Each year becomes a little more furious and frenetic in the fight for promotion, but the battle to stay in the EPL is even more desperate. At the end of each season, the bottom three teams in the league fall through the trapdoor into the Championship, and the gulf in money between the two divisions results in clubs willing to do anything to stay in the Premiership.
It can mean life or death for clubs, and in the past the outfits which have been relegated have then gone into freefall and have never returned. So the EPL really is the place to be, and the rewards and risks mean that the drama on the pitch is amped up to ridiculous levels in every single game.
The fight to stay in the top flight is tense, but the bigger clubs know that taking part in the Champions League separates the winners from the also-rans. To ensure your club is involved in Europe’s finest competition, teams must finish in the top four of the league. The financial treasures that await competitors in the Champions League can mean clubs can lure better talent to the club, so the battle that ensues each season to finish in the top spots is fought with every tooth and nail.
EPL Season Structure, Games & Teams
There are 38 games in a season for each side, and the EPL is comprised of 20 teams in total. Each team plays every other rival twice, once at their own stadia, and once away. A win earns the victor three points, and a draw means a point for each side. If clubs are level on points, then goal difference decides who is above the other. Goal difference is when goals scored by a side is subtracted by goals conceded, and the sum is the goal difference. Such is the level of competition in the EPL, there has even been a title decided by goal difference, in 2011/12 by Manchester City.
The season begins in August, with the traditional curtain raiser being the Charity Shield - which is a match played at Wembley Stadium between the previous season’s League winner and the FA Cup winner.
The league season traditionally ends in May, but with the FA Cup - the world's oldest football competition - and the League Cup, mean that fixture congestion is a problem most clubs will face, and the fixture calendar is often rearranged to allow all games to be played.
Manchester United are considered the most famous team in the Premier League, and this is down to the era of dominance they enjoyed when Sir Alex Ferguson was their manager. He has since retired from the game, but the legacy he left means United still have won the most League titles since the EPL began in 1992.
United have won 13 Premiership titles since 1992/93. Chelsea are the next most successful, with four titles. Arsenal have three to their name, Manchester City have two, and Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City have one apiece.
Each season is more hotly contested than the last, with the rewards always on the increase for success. Leicester City’s EPL win last season was an unimaginable fairytale, which typifies the unpredictable nature of England’s top flight that no other domestic competition can boast of.
At the start of Leicester’s historic campaign, the bookies were offering odds of 5000/1, such was the implausible task that the side had in front of them.
Leicester City’s story has only underlined the fact that the EPL is the most exciting league in Europe. Every match is so difficult to predict, and every team is filled with players that are capable of wonderful things that can enchant the crowds and millions who watch on TV.
Just tune in and enjoy, but be warned; there is no going back once you do. You’ll be hooked from the start.