2015-16 Premier League season set to kick off
English Premier League (EPL) is all set to kick off its new season 2015-16 on Saturday night. The first day features six matches including Man Utd v Tottenham and Chelsea v Swansea. The second day of the first weekend has fixtures like Arsenal v West Ham and Stoke v Liverpool Man City which doesn't have a weekend fixture is set to play on Monday.
Following its foundation in 1992, the English Premier League (EPL) has been played for the past 23 seasons. Contested by 20 clubs, the league operates on a system of promotion and relegation. Apart from the opening campaign in 1992-93, every season of the Premier League has had a title sponsor. The current sponsor being Barclays, the league is also called Barclays Premier League (BPL).
In the BPL, the three worst performing teams based on points get relegated to the lower division and the three best performing lower division teams get promoted to play in the premier league for the next season.
A total of 46 clubs have played in the Premier League since its inception. Only Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Spurs have participated in every campaign to date. Five clubs have won the title so far with Manchester United winning it the most number of times (13), followed by Chelsea (4), Arsenal (3), Manchester City (2) and Blackburn Rovers (1).
One look at the football clubs' ownership of EPL and one can't help but wonder how 'English' is the English Premier League. The top teams of EPL have non-English owners: Manchester United is owned by American Glazer family; Chelsea has a Russian owner; Arsenal is owned by an American- Russian duo; and Manchester City is owned by the brother of UAE's crown prince.
Broadcasted across 185 countries, with a TV viewership of 4.7 billion people, EPL is considered the most popular of the football leagues. More people watch the Premier League games than the Spanish, Italian and German football leagues combined.
Previous season winners - Chelsea are the top favorites to defend their title in 2015-16 season. Arsenal with signing of Petr Cech, Manchester City with addition of Raheem Sterling and Manchester United with big buys like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Memphis Depay are considered top contenders for the title. Apart from the above four, Liverpool is another strong team to watch out for as always.
Bournemouth, Watford, and Norwich City from the last season's Football League Championship will enter the 2015-16 campaign as the three promoted teams replacing the relegated teams - Burnley, QPR and Hull City.