European Footy,  New To Football?

What Is The Premier League? (Beginner’s Guide)

I’m glad you asked! Welcome to the first ever post in Top Footy Talk’s “New To Football?” category. For the first installment, I wanted to address a subject that I often write about on this site. I am referring to the Premier League. You may be asking yourself, what is the Premier League? Or perhaps you are looking for a refresher? No matter where you stand as a football (or soccer) fan, allow this guide to answer the questions you may have.

First Things First… History!

The Premier League was founded in 1992 and is the highest division of English football. Now this doesn’t mean that football wasn’t played in England before 1992, because it most certainly had been. Before 1992, the top division of footy in England was known as, The Football League First Division. However, due to struggling teams, rowdy fans, and a lack of success against Europe’s top team, a decision was made to allow the First Division to break away. In 1992, the entire Football League First Division, rebranded as the FA Premier League. (FA stands for Football Association, which is the governing body of football in the England.)

Because of this decision to break away from The Football League structure, the Premier League was allowed to negotiate sponsorships and television deals on their own. These sponsorships and broadcast deals helped to bring an increased amount of money to the Premier League. This influx of cash was distributed to the teams, which helped them upgrade their stadiums, sign new players, and in turn compete at a higher level against other top teams across Europe. Now that you have a brief history of the Premier League, let’s talk about how the league is set up!

The Structure Of The Premier League

When the Premier League was first formed in 1992, it consisted of 22 teams. However, the league downsized to 20 teams in 1995. Since then, the Premier League has maintained that 20 team structure that we know today. The season goes from August to May and each team plays each other twice. One of those games is played at home and the other is away. Since you obviously cannot play yourself, each team plays 38 league matches a season. (19 opponents x 2 games against each opponent)

After those 38 matches, the winner of the league is decided by the team with the highest number of points. Teams acquire points by playing their league games. The points system is actually very simple and every professional football league that I am aware of uses it. The winning team in each league match receives three points, while the loser gets no points. If the game is tied after the 90 minutes is complete, each team is awarded one point.

Therefore, after the 38 matches have been played, the team with the highest point total wins! If there is a tie in terms of points, the team with the better goal difference goes ahead. Goal difference is the number of goals your team has scored minus the number you have given up. For example if your team scores 75 goals and gets scored on 35 times, your goal difference is 40. In 2011-12, goal difference was used to determine the winner of the Premier League. Manchester City finished in first place, above Manchester United by having a better goal difference. That whole season is another story in itself that I highly recommend checking out. Here is a great video on that season! (

Promotion And Relegation In The Premier League… What Is It?

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “There is 20 teams in the league, do those teams ever change? Or is it the same 20 all the time?” The answer is yes, the teams do change! In fact, at the start of every season three new teams join the Premier League. To avoid going above the 20 team limit, three teams go down to the second division for that season. You may be wondering, “How do they decide which teams come up and which go down?” Allow me to answer that for you!

The new teams come from the England’s second division. This second division of English football is called the EFL Championship. (EFL stands for English Football League.) When the Premier League was founded in 1992, the structure of English Football remained the same as it had before 1992, to avoid additional headache. The teams that finished in the last three spots of the first division (Back in 1992 this was positions 20-22, but it is 18-20 now), were sent down to the second division. This is called relegation. To make up for the three teams being sent down, the second division sends up their three best teams. The teams that finish first and second are automatically awarded a spot in the Premier League. To determine the third team, a playoff between the teams that finish third through sixth. This concept is promotion, which is sometimes called “going up!”

A Quick Review On Promotion And Relegation

If that was still a little confusing, here is a quick review on promotion and relegation! The worst three teams from the division above, get sent down to the division below. This is relegation. To replace those three teams, the division below sends up their three best teams. Two of those teams are sent up automatically, while the third is decided through a playoff. This is promotion. Many professional leagues follow this structure of promotion and relegation. They may have slightly different rules about things like the number of teams that get promoted or relegated, or how those teams are determined but the concept remains the same.

So Who Is In The Premier League?

This Premier League Season has almost come to a close, with every team only having one game left to play. Even though the season isn’t over yet, we already know the teams that will be relegated to the EFL Championship. Cardiff City, Fulham, and Huddersfield will all be exiting the Premier League and hoping to return in the near future. We also know two of the teams that will be promoted to the Premier League! Norwich City and Sheffield United will be going up next season and looking to stay in the Premier League for a long time. The playoff for the third promotion spot is between Leeds United, West Brom, Aston Villa, and Derby County.

With three teams being relegated every season and three new teams being promoted, that leaves seventeen other teams already in the Premier League. Rather than just list them all out, I am going to address them in the next portion!

Now that you know about the Premier League, I’d like to think it has brought some excitement out of you! Maybe you want to follow the league and find a team to root for yourself. My team that I have supported since I was very young, is Chelsea FC. I want to help you find your team, so let’s jump into this next section!

Which Premier League Team Should I Support?

Here comes the fun part! If you are reading this article and thinking to yourself, “I’m interested in the Premier League, and I think I want to find a team to root for, but I don’t know which team?” fear not! That is why I am here, to help you find what you’re looking for! There is only one rule, once you pick a team, you stay with that team. Changing team support is not cool and is not for true fans! Without further ado, let’s play Premier League team matchmaker.

I Like Teams That Are Favored To Win!

Ah, so you’re a glory hunter? I’m only joking of course, watching your team win is fun so why not support a team that does it as much as possible? Here are the teams you could look to support if you want your team to be the favorite to win almost every match!

Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham (Spurs), Arsenal, Manchester United

These teams are known as the famous “Big Six”, and they have won all but two of the Premier League titles since 1992! If you want to support a team that is going to win a lot of games, then these are the teams for you! However, you can only pick one okay? No supporting all of the teams that win, because that is lame!

I Like Teams That Are Underdogs!

It takes a brave fan to support the team that isn’t often favored. Lucky for you, the Premier League has just the teams you are looking for! If you are okay with living with some losses to savor that big win, these are the team for you!

Brighton, Burnley, Norwich City, Sheffield United, Southampton, and the third team that will be promoted to the Premier League after the playoff…

To be totally honest, picking one of these teams may turn your hair gray a little faster than most. Expect to be on the edge of your seat a lot with these teams! If that is what you are into, then go for it. A word of warning though, relegation is not far away. One slip and you may be watching next season’s matches in the EFL Championship…

I Like Teams That Can Challenge The “Status Quo”

This is the section of teams for fans who like to see their side push the limits of what people expect of them. In the Premier League, that means beating those teams in the “Big Six” and finishing above them at the end of the season. In my opinion these are the teams capable of doing just that!

Wolves, Leicester City, Everton, Watford

These teams are fun to watch! They could suffer a surprise loss but then turn around and beat a huge team the next week. They are unpredictable but overall pretty reliable! Expect these teams to win about half of their games and draw/lose the others. All four of these sides play very entertaining football and often produce quality players.

And Finally, I Like Consistency With A Chance For Success

If you want to root for a team where you know what to expect this is the section for you. Expect them to stay in the Premier League, unless disaster happens. They may not win more than 15 games a year, but they will get the job done and may even surprise you once or twice a season!

Newcastle, Bournemouth, West Ham, Crystal Palace

These sides will most likely reward your support by doing exactly what is expected of them. That goal they share is to finish right around the middle of the pack, also known as mid-table, and maybe upset a team or two. Teams like Bournemouth and West Ham look to play an attacking style, while Newcastle and Crystal Palace will look to score on the counter attack with quick passing. All of these teams are fun to watch and will give you something different than a “Big Six” team or an underdog. That something is consistency.

So What Are You Waiting For?

That’s all I have for my Premier League guide! Get on out there, choose your team and join the fun! If you have anymore questions feel free to let me know in the comments. If this guide helped you out, share it with your friends! I hope you enjoyed this new type of content here on Top Footy Talk, keep an eye out for more. As always thanks to Fredrik, @F_edits on Twitter for his great work on the article image! If you ever need a graphic designer, he is definitely the man for the job. Until next time, have a great day and God bless!


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