The English Premier League is considered the pinnacle of football. Hundreds of millions of fans worldwide follow the on and off-the-field drama that inevitably takes place each year. Its appeal is almost universal but to understand why we need to look at its history.
Who will win the English Premiership League this year?
It is a two horse race
2018/2019 marks the 27th season of the English Premier League. It may come as a surprise, but the league was only formed in 1992. It’s creation followed efforts of First Division clubs to break away from the Football League. These negotiations brought about not only lucrative television rights for the newly formed EPL but also widened its reach and appeal. Viewership has grown year on year, eventually reaching a staggering potential Tv audience of 4.7 billion people, with Tv rights valued at over 3 billion dollars.
This marked a stunning rejuvenation of English football. Despite much success in the 1970s and early ’80s, this football nation fell into crisis shortly after. With a five year ban following the hooliganism at the Heysel Stadium disaster, infrastructure fell into disrepair and interest waned. This set of circumstances forced many English clubs to re-approach the way they operated. Top clubs like Manchester United, Spurs and Arsenal were at the forefront of the transformation. With a more business savvy approach, they pressurized The Football League into more voting rights and revenue for the top flight clubs. This, however, was only the beginning.
In 1990 the big five (Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal) began meeting with television executives regarding future rights, laying the foundation for the acrimonious breakaway that was to come. They knew, however, that the bold plan could only be successful with the support of the FA (Football Association). The timing was perfect as the FA and Football League had a fractured relationship at the time. A proposal was finally presented in late 1991 with both criticism and praise following. The First Division clubs resigned en masse in 1992 and the FA Premier League was born!
1992-1993 marked the first season of the new league, which operated on the same familiar format. The same number of teams competed, with the bottom three being relegated and then the top three in the newly minted First Division promoted.
From these bold beginnings, many iconic moments in sporting history have come to pass. Some infamous, some glorious and some inspirational:
1995 Eric Cantona's infamous “kung fu kick”: It was a moment in time that stunned fans around the world. Remembered as one of the most bizarre misdeeds in any sport, Cantona never truly lived it down. Always a target for fans of opposing teams, the Frenchman was a prized player for defending champions Manchester United. On January 25th, 1995, his squad travelled to take on journeyman team Crystal Palace in a contentious outing. Having scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Palace three days earlier at Old Trafford, Cantona was an unpopular figure at Selhurst Park. A win would see Man U return to the top of the log ahead of Blackburn, which only heightened the tension. Palace center-back Richard Shaw was doing a remarkable, but somewhat overzealous job of marking Cantona. Just past midway in the game, Shaw came into contact with Cantona and the Frenchman immediately retaliated, earning a red card. While being escorted off the field, Palace fan Matthew Simmons allegedly hurled verbal abuse at Cantona. What happened next was swift, brutal and unforgettable. Cantona launched himself at the fan with a “kung fu kick” and a brawl ensued. A nine-month ban and assault charge capped off a shameful incident.
1995 Blackburn taste title victory at Anfield: The first league title of any kind in 81 years came to pass for Blackburn in 1995. With former Liverpool star Kenny Dalglish as manager and Jack Walker as a benefactor, this fairy tale season was capped at Anfield, where Blackburn dashed Man U’s title hopes by a single point. The journey under Dalglish's management began with the team in the bottom half of Division One. After promotion, they finished their first season in the Premier League with a commendable fourth. Then came the year that changed everything and saw Blackburn crowned Premier League champions...
1996 David Beckham scores from midfield: It was the goal that sent 21-year-old Manchester United’s David Beckham's career into the stratosphere. In the final minute of the game, with the utmost composure, the striker got the ball just inside his own half and took a shot from over 60 yards away. When the ball floated over the head of the Wimbledon keeper, the crowd and public at home were in awe.
1996 A historic game: Liverpool played host to Newcastle on April 3, 1996, in a game that is remembered as perhaps the greatest ever. Having squandered a 12 point lead on the log, Newcastle now found themselves trailing Manchester United by three points on the log. Both teams hit the pitch with guns blazing in what was later best described as “kamikaze football”. The Reds quickly took a 1-0 in the second minute but a determined Newcastle struck back with two goals by the 14th minute. The atmosphere was electric in the stadium as fans knew they were witnessing something special. At the beginning of the second half, Robbie Fowler scored his second goal of the match for Liverpool. All was square, but there was plenty of drama to follow…
Just two minutes later Newcastle regained the lead and looked set for victory. A mere nine minutes later however The Reds drew level courtesy of a phenomenal goal by Stan Collymore. Multiple substitutions ensued, but the aggression of both sides never waned. A draw looked inevitable, until, in the second minute of stoppage time, Collymore found the net again for The Reds. Elation for Liverpool fans and devastation for Newcastle. Voted match of the decade in 2003, this may well be the greatest match of all time.
2004 Arsenal crowned ‘The Invincibles': It’s almost inconceivable to imagine any team going through a season unbeaten – even more so at the highest level of the game. But, that’s exactly what The Gunners achieved in the 2003/2004 season. Under the guidance of Arsene Wenger and the captaincy of Frenchman Patrick Vieira, Arsenal won 26 games and drew the other 12 for a total of 90 points. This runaway 11 point title win remains one of the greatest sporting achievements in history.
2005 Teammates brawl: The Premier League has plenty to be proud of, but this day will live in infamy. With only 10 men and 3 goals down, Newcastle was having a shocker that was about to get worse. Inexplicably teammates Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer channeled their anger toward each other. After being dragged apart, both players were sent off, further heightening the Magpies troubles. Despite a well-publicised apology from both players, this incident will never be erased from the memory of shocked fans.
2012 A legendary goal: Manchester City and their neighbours Manchester United began the final day of the season equal on points. United was poised to become champions yet again, but as in all great stories, there was a twist. City was 2-1 down against QPR in stoppage time with Man U fans already began celebrating a title win. Then, Edin Dzeko levelled the score with 92 minutes on the clock. Still, it appeared too little too late. Against all odds, however, five minutes into stoppage time Sergio Aguero scored the most important last-gasp goal in history to propel City to victory in the game and the League. Heartbreak for United and jubilation for City in the most dramatic finish of all time.
2016 The ultimate underdog victory: Leicester City began their 2015/16 title campaign as 5000-1 outsiders. To say that they were written off as no-hopers would be an understatement: At the time, they were a longer price to win the title than Kim Kardashian was to be the next US president!
There was little confidence in what appeared to be an uninspired appointment of Claudio Ranieri as coach. However, against all odds, this team comprising of journeyman and cheap buys began to the season superbly. Pundits were certain they would fade, but remarkably they sustained their string of impressive performances. When Leicester City lifted the trophy in May, the entire world cheered them on and the inspirational story was forever etched in sporting lore.
These amazing moments have captured the imagination of the public and has seen the league able to attract the biggest stars in the world.
The successful business model of the EPL has given top clubs the deep pockets needed to acquire the absolute best talent. Truly staggering amounts have been changed hands in some of the most jaw-dropping deals in any sporting realm:
- Manchester United paid an astounding £93.25m for Frenchman Paul Pogba after the midfielder played a vital role in France’s World Cup victory.
- Man U also shelled out £75m for Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku in what has been touted as money well spent.
- Liverpool paid a record amount for a defender with its controversial acquisition of Dutchman Virgil van Dijk.
- The Reds also have the distinction of breaking the transfer fee record for a goalkeeper with their 2018 £67m acquisition of Brazil nr1 Alisson Becker. The deal was a game changer for Liverpool, with Becker proving to be incredibly tough to get past in goals.
- The services of Spaniard Alvaro Morata were secured by Chelsea for a reported £70m. After an incredible start with the new club, the striker's impact has waned somewhat and the purchase is looking foolhardy.
- Algerian Riyad Mahrez made the move to Manchester City on the back of a club record deal of £60m. The celebrated striker has enabled City to widen their attacking options as they chase multiple titles.
- Another club record was shattered when Arsenal paid £60m for Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. After a superb season in the Bundesliga, expectations are high for the Gabonese striker.
It’s not just the money that attracts the best players from all corners of the globe to the EPL though – it’s being a part of the biggest fanbase in the world. This, combined with competing against the best gives players a chance to become a part of a league that has come to define football.
Since inception, forty-nine clubs have competed in the League, with only six of them lifting the coveted trophy:
- Manchester United (13 title win)
- Chelsea (5 title wins)
- Manchester City (3 title wins)
- Arsenal (3 title wins)
- Blackburn Rovers (1 title win)
- Leicester (1 title win)
A glaring omission on that list is Liverpool – a revered and accomplished club that was expected on many occasions to be the trophy winners. Having been past winners 18 times of the national title as late as 1990, The Reds brought an excellent resume to the new league. In fact, during the 2000s they established themselves as one of “Top Four” who dominated the EPL. Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United had an almost vice like grip on the top four spots, which came with UEFA Champions League qualification.
Still, they have never been able to clinch a title. In 2009 they were able to secure the second spot but perhaps the most painful defeat came in the 2013/2014 season. After stumbling in the new year Liverpool reeled off 11 consecutive wins between February and April and seemed destined to rewrite history. It wasn’t to be though as the Reds crumbled at the last hurdle, beaten 2-0 by Chelsea at Anfield in a game that sealed a painful fate. Despite all the disappointment over the years, Liverpool fans are hoping the curse may be coming to an end.
Currently engaged in a fascinating battle with Manchester City, Liverpool has an excellent chance of finally lifting the trophy. In front on the log by a razor-thin margin of two points, the question remains as to whether Jürgen Klopp’s men can muster up the fortitude to prevail. Will it be ecstasy or another dose of agony for The Reds?
Riding the crest of a wave, Liverpool is unbeaten since January 3rd and while retaining the top spot on the log, they have one less game left to play than City. All these factors are leading to one of the most exciting conclusions in footballing history.
How did we get to this point? Well, it’s been a rollercoaster ride of thrills so far this season. After Man City claimed their third Premier League title last year, they began this season heavily favoured to follow up again.
It was Liverpool, however, who got off to a flying start and by New Year's day, was a formidable 6 points clear of their nearest rival. However, by Valentines Day, alarm bells began to ring for Reds fans. Challenges from two other teams became ominous, with City drawing level and Spurs remaining within striking distance.
Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, while well clear of the balance, weren't capable of mounting a serious challenge. It seemed as if only three teams had the consistency and determination to challenge for the League.
Two weeks later and a clearer complexion of the title chase was apparent. At the end of February, just a point separated Man City and Liverpool, while a flailing Spurs side had squandered their title hopes and were engaged instead in a hotly contested battle for a top 4 berth.
Since then, led by an impressive form return of Raheem Sterling, City have been a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps adding salt to the wounds of Reds fans is the fact that the striker was a regular in the starting lineup at Liverpool, before being traded to Man City in 2015. Could this singular trade have a defining impact on the title chase?
After defeating Liverpool in early January, City has amassed a further 24 points out of a possible 27. By winning eight of their last 9 games, Man City has made it clear for all to see that they won’t go down without a fight. A season chock a block full of attacking play has seen them score an astounding 142 goals in 49 matches. Can Liverpool keep up with this phenomenal performance?
After 29 years of near misses, can they shoulder the weight of history?
A lot of signs point to the fact that the Reds may be able to do just that. With their expensive trades performing well and the formidable forward line remaining potent, they won’t go down without a fight. Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah has been particularly instrumental in Liverpool’s success so far this season. Setting a record for the fastest 50 goals in the EPL by a Reds player, Salah ranks among the best players ever to call Anfield Park home. Also having a stellar season for Liverpool is Senegalese striker Sadio Mané, who has enjoyed a goal-scoring spree as of late.
With both sides remaining in the UEFA Champions league the danger is that there may be a split focus which could impede their title chases. Manchester City fans have even more concern, with vital team preparation needed for an upcoming FA Cup final taking place shortly after the EPL concludes. An early third-round exit from the FA Cup may end up working in the favour of Liverpool's title chances. With such rigorous schedules, even the smallest respite could mean make the difference between victory and defeat.
Savvy punters will be examining the schedule of fixtures before deciding who they believe will be crowned EPL champions:
14.04.2019 Liverpool vs Chelsea
The Reds will be hoping that home ground advantage could propel them to victory in what should be a close contest.
14.04.2019 Crystal Palace vs Manchester City
Despite travelling, City should have little trouble disposing of the home side.
20.4.2019 Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur
Ironically Man City will have hosted Spurs just three days earlier in a Champions League encounter. Any contest against Spurs could go their way, so City fans will be on the edge of their seat.
21.04.2019 Cardiff City vs Liverpool
Cardiff city has a surprisingly good head-to-head record against Liverpool. At home, they should prove worthy adversaries once again.
24.04.2019 Manchester United vs Manchester City
Beating Manchester United at Old Trafford is a tall order for any team. City will have to be on their A game to prevail against their neighbours.
26.04.2019 Liverpool vs Huddersfield
At Anfield Park, the journeyman team should provide little resistance against The Reds.
28.04.2019 Burnley vs Manchester City
City has won seven and drawn one of their last eight games against Burnley. It’s difficult to argue why this encounter should be any different.
04.05.2019 Manchester City vs Leicester City
City host a team who, barring a miracle, should be comfortably accounted for.
05.05.2019 Newcastle vs Liverpool
The hosts have proven in the past that they can beat Liverpool, however, they have been totally outclassed this season, suffering a humiliating 4-0 drubbing at the hands of The Reds in December. A repeat may well be on the cards.
12.05.2019 Brighton vs Manchester City
City has comfortably accounted for Brighton in their last four encounters. This should be a fantastic opportunity for them to end the season on a high note.
12.05.2019 Liverpool vs Wolves:
Wolves have enjoyed fair success this season, lying in the top half of the log. Could they be a spanner in the works for the Reds?
The finish line is in site and it’s time to choose who will win the 2018/2019 English Premier League Title! Whilst history favours Manchester City, destiny may be in the favour of Liverpool. The home stretch to this years title chase is one of the most riveting ever. It’s all on the line as two of the best sides on the planet fight it out.
All the excitement is featured at 1xBet, where the best odds are on offer in this thrilling contest.
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