The richest and arguably most prestigious of the world's Footy Leagues, and certainly one of the most high-profile sports events worldwide. But first, a history lesson.
By the end of the '80s, English football was in a bit of a state. Hooliganism was rife both at home and abroad—the French called it la malaise Anglaise: the English Disease. Liverpool fans had been blamed for the Heysel Stadium Disaster in 1985 and English clubs had been banned from all European competition. Revenues and attendance were plummeting and many of the stadia were crumbling, poorly maintained or hopelessly old fashioned, this being one factor in the horrific Bradford City stadium fire of 1985. Tall fences were installed to stop hooligans from invading the pitch, but this practice was stopped after the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989, when 96 people (most of them Liverpool fans) were crushed to death. The best English players began moving abroad, mostly to Italy or Spain, which were seen as having the best leagues at the time.
There was some light in the gloom, though. England's national team made the top four in the 1990 World Cup, the same year in which the post-Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe was lifted. Manchester United promptly won the now-defunct European Cup-Winners' Cup in 1991. After the Hillsborough Disaster, Lord Taylor produced a report which forced all top-level clubs to make their stadia safer, more pleasant places to watch a game (done by removing any lawn seating entirely and having all seating be in chairs) and to take measures to clamp down on hooliganism. Slowly, attendances started to rise as parents began taking their children again, and "normal" non-violent fans were no longer put off.
Then into the mix came the dawn of satellite television, in the form of Rupert Murdoch and his Sky service (still the main British satellite broadcaster). Sky's presence and the increasing quality of the English game meant that TV revenue from football skyrocketed from £6.3m in 1986 to over £44m in 1988. The biggest clubs in the top division felt they weren't getting a big enough slice of the cake, and that The Football League, who had been organizing English football since 1888, weren't doing enough to help, so in the summer of 1991 they decided to break away and form their own league.
The Premier League debuted for the 1992/93 season with 22 members, while The Football League was left with the lower three divisions, now confusingly renumbered so that the second tier of English football would be "First Division". Promotion and relegation between the Premier League and the First Division was maintained, and fans didn't notice any immediate difference beyond the change of names and new logos. Later, a new sponsorship deal with the Football League muddied the waters even further, so that the tiers now read "Premier League -> The Championship -> League One -> League Two".
But sure enough, money started to flow into the Premier League clubs thanks to Sky's TV revenues, while the number of foreign players began to increase dramatically, particularly after 1995, when a test case at the European Court of Justice established that footballers were not exempt from European Law regarding free movement of labour and services: any EU-citizen footballer could play at any EU club with no restrictions, and any EU footballer could move to another club freely once his contract was up. The case - known as the Bosman Ruling after Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman who took the case to court - had a massive effect on football throughout Europe, but particularly in England where the Premier League rapidly became the richest league.
In the mid 2000's, the Premier League overtook Spain's La Liga to become the highest ranked league in Europe according to UEFA. However, recent resurgence from La Liga and Germany's Bundesliga, spearheaded by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, and Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and VFL Wolfsburg, and underachievement from PL teams in Europe means that there's been a power shift. However, fans of the English game frequently argue that, with only a few exceptions, it's usually the same two or three teams battling it out for the title and beating everyone in their way, while in the Premier League, anyone can beat anyone and there are usually anywhere between four and six teams with good odds of winning the title. While this is up for debate, it is notable that players from European leagues moving to England have noted that it is far more competitive, with one memorably remarking that while in Italy you can shut up shop after going one or two ahead, in England you can't relax even when you're four goals up. Despite the relatively small size of a lot of England's stadia compared to Europe (though there's a few giants in there, with Manchester United's Old Trafford hosting 76,000 and Arsenal's Emirates stadium hosting 60,000, with Liverpool's newly expanded Anfield, on 54,000, not too far behind) the quality of the English game is extremely high and total club revenue annually (as of 2015) is £3.3 billion! The Premier League's revenue is the fourth highest anywhere in the world, behind the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA - and with a new £5 billion television licensing deal, it's only likely to get richer.
There are problems, of course. The highest-placing teams get the most money, which is logical, but tends to mean that success is self-perpetuating, and the so-called "Big Four" - Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City (Liverpool in place of City until about 2010) - historically dominating the top four positions in the league, which in turn means they all qualify for the Champions League and accumulate even more money. At the other end of the table, smaller clubs promoted to the league usually struggle and are often relegated in their first season. Some clubs have tried breaking their way into the leading pack by spending big in the hope of making up the difference with money earned by getting into the Champions League, but at best have only achieved minor, temporary success, and at worst have undergone total financial meltdown and rapidly fallen away into lower-league obscurity (Leeds United, Portsmouth and Bradford City being the main examples of this).
Historically, the only way to break into the top four seemed to be for a club to be bought by someone with a truly eye-watering amount of spare money to throw around - Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich b(r)ought Chelsea into the top four, and Sheikh Mansour recently did the same for perennial underachievers Manchester City. In Europe they contend against the best teams in the Union of European Football Associations (potentially from as far away as Vladivostok) to win the Champions League, the most prestigious title in world club football - while other associations have their own competitions, the sheer amount of money in European football and self-perpetuating prestige draws the best players like moths to a flame. The Champions League winners also compete for the less prestigious title of World Club Champion. For clubs in positions five, six and sometimes seven (or alternatively, the League Cup and FA Cup winners if they do not already qualify for Europe), there is the Europa League, which was the UEFA Cup until 2009, less popular but still a good alternative for clubs.
However, the 2015/16 season dramatically bucked this trend, with the adage 'anybody can beat anybody' coming dramatically true: relegation-tipped Leicester stormed to an unexpected first-ever title after several months of imperious form, spearheaded by England striker Jamie Vardy and Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez. By contrast, 2014/15 champions Chelsea finished mid-table (10th place, to be exact) following a disastrous first half of the season and the subsequent sacking of their manager, José Mourinho, while usual also-rans and mid-table teams West Ham, Stoke and Southampton jostled with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool the for top 4 places.
Normality reasserted itself in 2016/17, though the Big Four seemingly evolved into the Big Six, composed of usual suspects Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United, with Spurs and a resurgent Liverpool. However, it remains one of the more open and competitive leagues in Europe, as any one of the aforementioned teams is technically speaking considered a fair bet for the title (though Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham have well documented mentality problems), whereas in other European leagues, it's usually dominated by two or, at most, three teams.
As a result of this tightness, in 2016/17 third placed Manchester City, and 5th placed Arsenal were 2 points apart, although Chelsea and Spurs' winning runs had them streets ahead, with Chelsea winning with 2 games to spare. As a result, it's often anyone's guess who'll finish in the top four (which is Serious Business, since that dictates Champions League qualification and managers are frequently sacked for failing to achieve it). Chelsea emerged as the leaders of the pack, while a brilliant end to the season cast Spurs as a clear second place and North London's superior team for the first time since 1995, but 3 teams competed for a top 3 spot on the final day, and Arsenal missed the CL for the the first time in 20 years - despite earning more points than the preceding season when they came second, while Liverpool squeaked into 4th place. As for Leicester, there was a very real risk that they would be the first defending champions to be relegated since Manchester City in 1938. The widely panned but likely necessary sacking of Claudio Ranieri steadied the ship... before they ran out of steam and got a new manager. Meanwhile, Everton have been snapping at the heels of the bottom end of the Big Six. They, along with Burnley, Leicester, and Watford, vied for the best of the rest. That season, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Tottenham ran away with the Top 4 spots; Chelsea were fifth and Arsenal at a distant sixth, giving up on a top 4 place as early as the start of March. This, combined with horrific away form, led to the sacking of Arsène Wenger after 22 years in charge of Arsenal. Manchester City also claimed the title five games still to play in the season, tying the Premier League record for earliest clinching (00/01 Man United).
2018/19 has so far been a lot more competitive; though City remained formidable, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs (despite continuous delays to their new stadium) and Arsenal were also very consistent, displaying what would have been title winning form in many seasons. City, Liverpool and Chelsea were all unbeaten at the quarter-mark, a PL first (before Chelsea's first loss of the season was at Spurs on November 24, with City's first loss of the season at Stamford Bridge 2 weeks later. As of the halfway-mark, Liverpool remain unbeaten)). By December, City and Liverpool pulled away in earnest, still unbeaten Liverpool leading at Christmas by 6 points, after shock home defeats for City (who dropped down to 3rd) and Chelsea, while Spurs managed to claim 2nd. Any dropped points by Arsenal and Chelsea would rule them out of the title race, and leave them battling for third. Manchester United meanwhile, had a sufficiently awful start to the season (leading to the sacking of unpopular manager Jose Mourinho, lamented only by United's rivals) that they're in a distant 6th, 16 points adrift and well out of the running, with Everton, Bournemouth and Leicester are snapping at their heels. By the start of February, horrible form by Chelsea and Arsenal, coupled with a Man U revival under their caretaker boss (and former star player) Ole Gunnar Solskjær, split the top 6 into 2 tiers, with Wolves looking by far the likeliest 7th place, which would be the best campaign by a newly promoted team since Ipswich's famous 2000-01 season exploits, followed by Watford, with Everton, West Ham and Leicester sometimes displaying too much inconsistency to compete despite their bigger spending.
However, the bottom 6 were cast very far adrift, though loath to change their managers until Fulham, who had spent £100 million after promotion but had earned only 1 point in 9 games, and conceded a shedload of goals, replaced Slaviska Jokanovic (ex Chelsea player), with Claudio Ranieri (his former manager). Just above are Cardiff, Huddersfield, Southampton, Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Burnley have largely been clearly cast adrift - Palace's draw at Old Trafford on November 24 was the first time one of them took points off the standard big 6 (which is thoroughly unusual), although this would not even be their best result in Manchester before Christmas. Strangely, despite not losing between round 2 of the season, to Chelsea, and round 17, to Southampton (their first win in 13 games) Arsenal didn't lead a single match at half time until their win over Burnley on December 22 (0-1, 2-2, 1-1, 1-1, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 1-1 - in a game later won 5-1 - 1-1, 0-1, 0-0, 0-1, 1-1, 1-2, 1-1, 0-0, 1-2, before leading 1-0 v Burnley on the way to 3-1 win).
The league finished in one of the closest races for the title ever; City and Liverpool ended up leap frogging each other for much of 2019, ending with Man City a single point ahead of Liverpool, 98 points to 97. For comparison, the most 2nd place had gotten since 2010/11 was 89 points, the same year the title was decided on goal difference.
This unpredictability makes the Premier League by far the most entertaining and competitive league in Europe; especially since Bayern Munich, Barcelona/Real Madrid, Juventus, Paris St Germain, and Ajax/Feyenoord/PSV usually run away with their respective leagues - in PSG's case, usually by over 30 points, with only Atlético Madrid challenging the Barca/Madrid hegemony, Napoli and Roma challenging Juventus, Borussia Dortmund challenging Bayern Munich, and Twente and AZ challenging the Ajax/Feyenoord/PSV trifecta - though Nice and Monaco (in Ligue 1), and Red Bull Leipzig (in Bundesliga) are currently providing additional challenges. This, perhaps, has something to do with the aforementioned television deal and influx/more even spread of finances. Whatever the reason, it has led to the English teams reasserting their noughties dominance in the Champions League in 2017/18, with all five English teams reaching the last 16 (Manchester United finished outside the top four, but reached the group stage by winning the Europa League), a feat unprecedented in the history of the Champions League, and all but Chelsea winning their groups outright, with Liverpool ending up as defeated finalists. Things got even better the following season, as EVERY English side in a group stage reached the last 8 of either the Champions League or Europa League, with Manchester United, now firmly revived, and Liverpool earning shock wins away to PSG and Bayern Munich.
The influx of foreign players also means that Premier League fans get to watch some of the best players in the world every week, but it also means that English talent potentially gets squeezed out - in 1999, Chelsea became the first English club to field an entirely non-English starting eleven and at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, more than eighty Premier League players took part. Some say this has had a detrimental effect on the national team's talent pool. However, this has again been thrown into doubt in recent years by English players coming to prominence in the first teams of the Big Six. And as might be reasonably pointed out, England teams past have never lacked for talent, just energy after a gruelling season with no Winter break and the ability to play together (the Gerrard-Lampard dichotomy strikes again...). This was further thrown into doubt in 2018 with the national team making the World Cup semifinal - for the first time since 1990 - followed a few months later by qualifying for the Nations League Semifinals from a group which also included World Cup finalist (and the team that they lost to in the World Cup semifinal) Croatia and Spain, and going further than World Cup winners France, semifinalists Belgium and long-standing rivals Germany. This despite being arguably a far less talented group than their predecessors (an abundance of actual team spirit/ability to work together is cited).
Despite those problems there is no doubt that the current state of the Premier League showcases a remarkable turn around for football in England since the troubles of The '80s and has helped move England back up to being one of the top footballing nations in the world. It is arguably back ahead of its cousin leagues in Spain and Italy in terms of the quality of football, certainly in terms of attendance and revenue and is now watched all around the world and particularly in the Far East. Now if only the national team could match the Premier League's success...
Current title holders: Manchester City
Current Manager: Unai EmeryCurrent Captain: Laurent KoscielnyCurrent Stadium: Emirates Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 5thHighest Finish: 1st (Only undefeated season in Premier League history)
A very successful north London club who lifted the crown in 1997/98, 2001/02 and 2003/04 (which was achieved unbeaten), all of which was under Arsène Wenger's management. Wenger managed the club for 1,235 games, reaching the 1,000 milestone on 22 March 2014 with Arsenal's fixture at Chelsea (against José Mourinho, no less), and after 22 years of management, he stepped down as Arsenal manager following the 2017/18 season's end, replaced by former Sevilla and Paris-Saint Germaine manager Unai Emery. Stan Kroenke, owner of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, and Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids, holds majority ownership of the club. They currently hold the record for the longest uninterrupted stay in the Top Division/Premier League (dating all the way back to 1919/20, when they were promoted under very controversial circumstances following World War I) and they're renowned for finishing in the top four with metronomic regularity (the shambolic 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons being the times under Wenger's tenure this has not happened). A lack of major trophies (The FA Cups notwithstanding), however, made a number of fans impatient with Wenger, who was perceived as being outdated in his approach and taking the club backwards, something backed up by having every other club of the Big Six finish ahead of them in his final year. Their Arch-Enemy is Tottenham Hotspur, a derby that has led to classic matches in both league and cup competitions. Matches against Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea are also Serious Business to Arsenal's fans. Didn't lead at halftime in any of their first 16 league games of the season, but won 10 of them, and drew 4 (they lost the first 2 games of Emery's reign to Manchester City and Chelsea).
- AFC Bournemouth
Current Manager: Eddie HoweCurrent Captain: Simon FrancisCurrent Stadium: Dean Courtnote2018/19 Position: 14thHighest Finish: 9th
An incredible story in its own right, Bournemouth spent most of their history floating around between the third and fourth tiers, the only exception being a brief spell in the second tier under Harry Redknapp in the late Eighties. By the 2008/09 season they looked doomed to extinction, having started their League Two season on -17 points due to financial problems, but after appointing Eddie Howe as manager not only did they comfortably avoid relegation, they secured promotion the next season, and then promotion to the Championship in 2013. They continued doing better and better until in the 2014/15 campaign, they sealed Premiership status for the very first time by winning the Championship. Started 2015/16 brightly, spearheaded by fearsomely talented striker Callum Wilson. After he was ruled out for most of the rest of the season by injury, they went into a prolonged slump, dogged by injuries. Despite this, however, they managed to reinvent themselves, grabbing a win at Chelsea and, at home, famously beating Manchester United the following week. Despite a drop in performance in the run in (4 points from their last 8 games), they managed to ensure survival in their first ever top flight season. In their second, they made a marquee loan signing of Jack Wilshere, and, although he didn't make too much impact, they finished a spectacular 9th, with results including a famous comeback win over Liverpool, and no defeats in their final 5 games. The following season started slowly, with 6 losses in the first 7 games, but then saw a win over Arsenal and a hammering 3-0 triumph at Chelsea. The following season led to suggestions that Bournemouth could challenge for Europe in the future.
- Brighton and Hove Albion
Current Manager: Chris HughtonCurrent Captain: BrunoCurrent Stadium: Falmer Stadium (sometimes called American Express Arena after the credit card firm sponsoring it.)note2018/19 Position: 17thHighest Finish: 15th
BHA once had a pretty decent stay in the old First Division, but plummeted soon after, going as far as being just half-an-hour away from being relegated out of the Football League before managing to pull themselves back into the Championship in 2011. Having generally struggled in the lower leagues before moving to the American Express Arena fans were desperate for (after 14 years without a real home, which included two seasons 100 miles away in Gillingham), BHA reached the play offs for the Premier League 3 times over the subsequent 5 seasons, without managing to win them. Come the 2016/17 campaign, they managed to dominate the league alongside Newcastle, where they were able to win the league and achieve promotion. They are known as the Seagulls or the Albion, and have a very fierce rivalry with Premier League side Crystal Palace, known as the M23 Derbynote . Gained promotion on 17 April 2017 with a 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic to seal their promoted status, they have given good accounts of themselves to Manchester City and Arsenal, and have started to adapt well to life in the Premier League, with wins over Arsenal and Man U rubberstamping a successful first campaign. The AMEX has started to become a bogey ground for Man U. The season since became inconsistent, not too far from danger, but clear enough from it, but Brighton than reached the semi finals of the FA cup. However, the relegation battle stayed on until late in the season, but thanks to hated rivals Crystal Palace, Brighton survived the 2018/19 season and will play in the Premier League again for the next year.
Current Manager: Sean DycheCurrent Captain: Tom HeatonCurrent Stadium: Turf Moor note2018/19 Position: 15thHighest Finish: 15th
The smallest club to have been promoted to the Premier League until Bournemouth's promotion in the 2014/2015 season. The club is based in a town in eastern Lancashire so small its population would only fill three of Old Trafford's stands. Despite starting their freshman season (2009/10) well, things went horribly wrong after promotion-winning manager Owen Coyle left and they ended up getting relegated shortly after. They got another chance in the Premier League during the 2014/2015 season, in which they had a number of notable feats, including getting a 1-0 win against Manchester City, who they held away from home earlier in the season from 2 down, who up to that point had scored in every match. They fought hard to stay in the league, but it was not to be. They guaranteed promotion on 2 May 2016, with a 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers, before finishing the season atop the Championship. The following season, they survived, largely off the back of stunning home form (in the league - it could have been in the cup too, but Burnley lost at home to then-5th-tier Lincoln), despite earning only one away point before February (at Old Trafford after their ex-United keeper Tom Heaton stopped a Curb-Stomp Battle on his own), and no away wins until the end of April. In the next season, however, they won at Stamford Bridge and Goodison Park, and drew at Anfield and, with a last minute equaliser, away to Spurs, before the October international break, earning more points in these 4 games than the 19 away games across the preceding season. They then continued this good form, unexpectedly being the team that challenged the Big 6 (in terms of league position), thereby making it to Europe, although 3 qualifying rounds were too many and held the clarets back during the first quarter to third of the season, and they have struggled in the relegation zone.
Current Manager: Maurizio SarriCurrent Captain: Gary CahillCurrent Stadium: Stamford Bridgenote2018/19 Position: 3rdHighest Finish: 1st
Central London-based Chelsea FC is currently owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, making the club one of the wealthiest in the Premier League. The club have won four Premier League titles as of the 2014/15 season, winning it all in in 2004/05 and 2005/06 under José Mourinho, in 2009/10 under Carlo Ancelotti, and in 2014/15 after Mourinho returned from stints at Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Their most recent title was won quite handily, with Chelsea leading almost the entire season. However, following a disastrous start to the 2015/16 season, one that made Manchester United's 2013/14 title defence look heroic by comparison, with Chelsea only one point above the drop zone after 16 games, Mourinho was shown the door not long before Christmas. Interim manager Guus Hiddink managed bring the club's performance from relegation threatened to mid-table, but inconsistency in performance killed Chelsea's bid for European qualification, their first such miss since the 1996-97 season. They did, however, help clinching Leicester's title by drawing against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge (see Always Someone Better below). In 2016/17, Chelsea rebounded and won the league with relative ease under Antonio Conte, as their main competition Spurs sputtered out in late season fixtures. Although their traditional rivals are Fulham, Chelsea fans tend to look down on their central London neighbors, instead regarding Arsenal or Spurs as their main rivals. Like Manchester City, fans of other sides find them controversial, due to Abramovich splashing money on the team, their (ab)use of the loaning system, and their penchant for "bus-parking" and relying on the counter-attack, though the latter may be changing with the signing of Maurizio Sarri as their manager replacing Conte. Sarri had the longest unbeaten start of a PL manager before losing to Spurs in late November in round 13. However, he than suffered Chelsea's biggest Premier league away defeats in successive games, at Bournemouth, and at League cup final opponents elect Manchester City, losing the latter 6-0.
- Crystal Palace
Current Manager: Roy HodgsonCurrent Captain: Scott DannCurrent Stadium: Selhurst Parknote2018/19 Position: 12thHighest Finish: 10th
A South London-based club who to date have had five separate spells in the Premier League, more than any other team, and suffered immediate relegation in each of the first four (though were a little unlucky to go down in the 1994/95 season, when there was an extra relegation spot due to league reconstruction). They finally averted relegation in the 2013/14 season thanks to manager Tony Pulis, the ex-Stoke coach who has never suffered relegation with any of his teams. Pulis moved on to West Brom afterwards and Palace have further established themselves in the Premier League mix under former Newcastle manager (and ex-Palace player) Alan Pardew, who has succeeded in making them a credible threat to the very top teams, particularly the long suffering Liverpool. After Christmas, however, they suffered an extended collapse, not winning a single league match until the 10th of April, being the last team in the top four divisions to record a win in 2016. Despite this alarming loss of form, they still managed to reach the FA Cup final, where they lost to Manchester United. They really, REALLY don't like Brighton and Hove Albion, and as much as they hate BHA, their hate for Eric Cantona is even worse. In the 2017/18 season, they lost all of their first seven games without scoring (and sacked Frank de Boer after just four of them) but then deservedly beat Chelsea, were the first side all season to take maximum points off Manchester City, and only lost once between November 6 and January 20, a span of 12 league games.
Current Manager: Marco SilvaCurrent Captain: Phil JagielkaCurrent Stadium: Goodison Parknote2018/19 Position: 8thHighest Finish: 4th
Liverpool's major rivals from just across town. Spent the first decade of the Premier League constantly fighting relegation, but after David Moyes's appointment as manager in 2002 they often challenged for European places, and managed to break into the Champions League spots (at that time occupied consistently by the "Big Four") in the 2004/05 season (ironically the one of the Four they replaced that year - Liverpool - actually won the Champions League that season, so got a bye into the following season's competition). Roberto Martínez took over as manager after David Moyes left for Manchester United and constructed an extremely talented team that played delightful attacking football. Unfortunately, their defending was correspondingly dubious, especially in the 2015/16 season, where numerous times they took the lead, only to either concede goals and lose or draw, along with a serious problem with playing at home, where they only managed 5 victories all season before Martínez was shown the door before the final game of the seasonnote . Under Ronald Koeman, they became the 'best of the rest', spearheaded by prodigiously talented striker Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku then joined Manchester United for £80 million, this move enabling Wayne Rooney to make a surprise return to his alma mater after 13 years away. Despite spending more than £140 million in the transfer market, a disastrous start to the 2017-2018 season meant that Koeman was sacked in October 2017, being replaced by footballing firefighter Sam 'Big Sam' Allardyce. He got the team to the top half but was obviously unpopular due to his rustic game and canned for longtime target Marco Silva, with Rooney's return lasting just one season. Typically, as with Watford, a superb season up to early December was followed by a cruel decline in form with several soft goals conceded - this was than followed by a solid end to the season which saw them keep out Liverpool and beating Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United in consecutive home games, either side of losing a 2-0 lead to lose in Newcastle despite saving a penalty and losing away to already-relegated Fulham.
- Leicester City
Current Manager: Brendan RodgersCurrent Captain: Wes MorganCurrent Stadium: King Power Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 9thHighest Finish: 1st
The Midlands-based "Foxes" had a good run under Martin O'Neill's management in the late nineties, but things went rapidly downhill after he went north of the border for Celtic in 2000. Leicester got relegated to League One in 2008, but they bounced back the following season and spent the next five seasons in the Championship. After being absent from the Premier League for ten years, the Foxes achieved promotion in 2014, following a miraculous rally that saw them come from bottom into safety within two months. Following a tumultuous offseason that saw their old manager sacked, the club swiftly appointed Claudio The Tinkerman Ranieri, former Chelsea boss, who had never won a top flight title in his 28 year career as a manager. Despite all the oddsnote , most notably the now infamous 5000/1 odds of the side winning the league, the squad made up of mostly bargain buys, cast-offs and supposed has-beens managed to defy all logic and reason to win the 2015/16 title, the first league title in the club's history, and in the eyes of many, a victory for passion and teamwork over money and power in football. Their 2016/17 season wasn't quite so successful, with the worst title defence in over half a century, to the point that Ranieri was sacked in February 2017 (which led to a pretty big backlash pretty much everywhere owing to his popularity). Leicester then carried out another controversial sacking after a slow start to 2017-18, which involved narrow defeats to big names, and draws with like-minded opponents, but, again, it seems to have worked. Tragedy struck the club early in the 2018/19 season, when a helicopter carrying widely beloved owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed, killing everyone aboard and leading to mass mourning from everyone in the league.
Current Manager: Jürgen KloppCurrent Captain: Jordan HendersonCurrent Stadium: Anfieldnote2018/19 Position: 2ndHighest Finish: 2nd
The second most successful club in English football, having won the League 18 times and the European Cup 5 times, but have never the Premier League in its present form, being runners-up in 2002, 2009 and 2014. Formerly known as the club most likely to come third in any competition you care to name, before a nosedive in 2009-10 season put paid to that. Periodically threaten a return to the glory days and had a good record in the Champions League under Rafael Benítez, winning in 2005 and reaching the final in 2007. Known for attacking verve, being dubbed 'Europe's Entertainers' - on form, they're arguably the best attacking team in Europe. Their defence, however, usually dragged them down, varying between 'less effective' and 'slapstick comedy routine'. Their home stadium of Anfield was medium sized by footballing standards at 45,000 prior to its expansion, but renowned for its raucous atmosphere, leading to a reputation as an intimidating place to play and the nickname 'Fortress Anfield'. Owned by Fenway Sports Group, owners of the Boston Red Sox, succeeding the widely despised Hicks and Gillette, who drove the club into bankruptcy. Almost won the title under Brendan Rodgers in 2013/14 before quite literally slipping up at the last moment. After a steady decline, Rodgers was replaced in 2015/16 by charismatic German Jürgen 'The Normal One' Klopp, who has managed to steadily restore Liverpools fortunes, taking them to two cup finals in his first season, and the 2018 Champions League final in his third (lost after some very poor keeping by Loris Karius, who it turned out had been concussed in an earlier on-pitch collision). One well documented problem he's addressed has been consistency, especially against weaker teams - one season, they actually took more points (20) against the top 6 than against the bottom 6 (19). The addition in 17/18 of ex-Chelsea winger Mo Salah has only made them deadlier going forward (his goal tallies rival Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo), weathering the loss of star midfielder Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona by using the £142 million transfer fee to acquire Virgil Van Dijk (£75 million) and in the summer, goalkeeper Alisson Becker (£65 million), transforming the defence from 'comedy' to 'impenetrable', but a string of draws saw them drop a 10-point lead and allow Manchester City back into the race, ultimately falling short despite winning on the final day.
- Manchester City
Current Manager: Josep "Pep" GuardiolaCurrent Captain: Vincent KompanyCurrent Stadium: Etihad Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 1stHighest Finish: 1st (Most wins (32), most goals (106), and most points (100) in a single season in Premier League history)
The current league champions. Perennial underachievers until being bought by Arab Sheik Mansour, after which the team became serious contenders, winning the 2011-12 title under Roberto Mancini and the 2013/14 title under Manuel Pellegrini, capitalising on the faltering at the end of the season of a previously rampant Liverpool side. Fans of other teams find City as controversial because of the team's overwhelming wealth and despite their secure position at the top end of the Premier League, they have yet to translate it to European success, the standard by which every top club is ultimately judged. Had a mixed 2015/16, hanging around at the top of the table, but being overshadowed by surprise title challengers Tottenham Hotspur (usually scrapping for fourth place at best) and Leicester City (who everyone honestly expected to be relegated). Despite this, they did well in Champions League, going as far as the semi-finals before being eliminated by Real Madrid. Have a persistent problem playing against Liverpool, especially at Anfield, the only stadium they've failed to win at since the Mansour takeover, and in general since 2003. After yet another mixed season in 2016/17, 2017/18 started off really well for City, being undefeated in their first 22 matches in the league, with only 2 draws in those 22 matches (against strugglers Everton and Crystal Palace of all teams), before a dramatic loss to Liverpool, though they reduced a 4-1 deficit to a single goal. By the start of April, a Manchester Derby triumph was all City, with 6 further games to play, required for the title. They imploded in that one, losing from a 2-goal start, and crashing to Liverpool in the Champions League, but then won at Spurs, which coupled with Manchester United's defeat to West Bromwich Albion, confirmed their title win, but they continued to play well, breaking 2004/05 Chelsea's record for most points, wins, and goals in a single season, reaching 100, the first to do so in the PL. Came from as many as 10 points behind Liverpool to secure the 2018/19 campaign, only making it certain on the final day.
- Manchester United
Current Manager: Ole Gunnar SolskjærCurrent Captain: Paul PogbaCurrent Stadium: Old Traffordnote2018/19 Position: 6thHighest Finish: 1st (Most Premier League titles (13))
The most successful club in English football, who have won the top League a record 20 times, with their 13 Premier League titles all being won under Sir Alex Ferguson. The Glazer family, which also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, holds a controlling stake in the team; however, supporters have unsuccessfully attempted to buy out Malcolm Glazer, the family patriarch and owner of the club until his death in 2014, since he saddled the club with massive debts. After Fergusons retirement, the club has been in a bit of a flux. First, Fergusons chosen successor, former Everton boss David Moyes, was sacked after leading United to their worst ever Premier League finish (7th), which meant the club failed to qualify for any European competition for the first time since 1990. Afterwards, Dutchman Louis van Gaal was brought in to bring back winning ways, and Champions League. He managed the former in his second season (an FA Cup victory), and the latter in his first (4th). However, his reign at the club will always be remembered for his very boring style of football designed to neutralize opponents rather than attack them, to the derision of everyone, particularly the clubs fans. Despite the aforementioned FA Cup victory, van Gaal was sacked two days later after failing to obtain Champions League football. Until mid-December 2018, was managed by former Chelsea manager José 'The Special One' Mourinho. While United finished sixth in Mourinho's first season, outside the Champions League qualifying places, they managed to get into the 201718 CL group stage by winning the Europa League. Man U spent £90million to bring back former youth product Paul Pogba in 2016, and a year later spent £80 million on Romelu Lukaku, who has had a mixed relationship with Mourinho, with Wayne Rooney back at Everton after 13 years. Following a disastrous start to the 201819 season (by their normal standards), Mourinho was sacked with the team in sixth place, 11 points adrift of the top four, and without a PL win in over a month. Only United's rivals lamented this choice. Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the one who scored United's last-gasp winning goal against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final, was hired as the caretaker for the remainder of the season amid general perplexity, but he quickly steered the ship at United, netting eight victories in his first nine games, propelling them into the top 4 chase. This newfound success continued in both the PL and the Champions League, leading to United buying out Solskjær's contract with the Norwegian club from which they borrowed him and removing the "caretaker" tag by the end of March. However, they faded to sixth by the end of the season.
- Newcastle United
Current Manager: Rafael BenítezCurrent Captain: Jamaal LascellesCurrent Stadium: St James' Parknote2018/19 Position: 13thHighest Finish: 2nd
Owned by SportsDirect tycoon Mike Ashley, this team from Newcastle-upon-Tyne is probably most famous for Kevin Keegan's rant in 1995, where with Newcastle 12 points ahead, he declared that he'd "love it if we (Newcastle) beat them (Manchester United)". They let that lead slip. The team had something of a slide around 2007/08, leading to the sacking of Sam Allardyce, Keegan's ill-fated return, and a whole lot of off-field issues, leading to club legend Alan Shearer taking his first management job to try and save them from relegation. It failed. They came back up at the first attempt, and in their second season back in the top flight, got into Europe under Alan Pardew, who apparently had a 10-year contract but left in January 2015 to rescue the fortunes of his former club, Crystal Palace. Newcastle went into a full-blown tailspin, dropping every single game until the last day of the season, where a crucial win secured their stay in the top flight, though the next season was almost as dismal as the last, with them going down again. Despite spending over £80 million on new players, a long string of poor results led to McClaren getting the heave-ho and replaced by former Liverpool and Chelsea boss, Rafael Benítez. With a late victory over Preston North End, Newcastle sealed their return for the 2017/18 season - a result made even better when you consider that they swapped places with their biggest rivals (and the team that relegated them the previous season) Sunderland. Despite reaching 10th place that season, the priority is still to avoid relegation.
Current Manager: Ralph HasenhuttlCurrent Captain: Steven DavisCurrent Stadium: St Mary's Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 16thHighest Finish: 6th
South coast club who were regular fixtures (albeit usually struggling against relegation) until some epic mismanagement saw them relegated in 2005, and then again in 2009. Rebounded with back-to-back promotions in 2011 and 2012, though promotion-winning manager Nigel Adkins was controversially axed simply because the owners didn't think he was high-profile enough. However, the new boss, Mauricio Pocchetino, famous for his foul in the 2002 World Cup, helped Southampton climb into the top half of the table. They continued their good form during the 2014/15 season, they turned into unlikely title challengers under the management of Dutchman Ronald Koeman, and though they fell away, finished respectably. Losing yet more star players to clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool didn't seem to impede them again, despite a dismal period from late November to early January (where they only obtained 4 points from a possible 24), they turned it around to finish in their highest ever position and qualify for the Europa League group stage. Things, however, have been tougher since due to the increasing changeover in managers, with veteran Mark Hughes being required to save them with 8 games left of 2017-18 despite reaching the FA cup Semi Final, though he succeeded. However, after just one win in their first 14 games (with the 15th "away" to Spurs, which would produce another routine loss under the interim management, though a last-gasp goal back made it the first time in 8 years EVERY team scored in a PL game round), Sparky got canned for the second time in 2018, the final game seeing them lose a 2-0 lead to draw with Manchester United. Austrian Ralph Hasenhuttl, who had an impressive record in the German Bundesliga with young and unheralded squads, was the next to the role. His first home game saw a win over Arsenal, despite being pegged back twice, their first win since round 4, and the Gunners' first loss since round 2. However, a run of 3 favourable games produced only 2 points after the January window ended without investment despite a prior revival.
- Tottenham Hotspur
Current Manager: Mauricio PochettinoCurrent Captain: Hugo LlorisCurrent Stadium: New Tottenham Hotspur stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 4thHighest Finish: 2nd
A north London club and Arsenal's main rival. The Spurs were relatively unremarkable for the Premier League's first decade, usually finishing in a mid-to-low position, but became regular challengers for the Champions League first under Martin Jol, and then under Harry Redknapp, though to date have only actually made the top four twice, in 2010 and 2012 (and failed to qualify for the Champions League in the latter after sixth-place Chelsea won it). The 2013/14 season saw Spurs selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a world record £85.3 million and sacking Andre Villas-Boas after a rocky start. In addition to loathing Arsenal, Spurs also have fierce derbies against West Ham United and Chelsea. They usually play exciting and attractive football, played by a young and talented team (they have the youngest squad in the division, albeit only by a fraction, with Liverpool close behind). They finished a season in which they had challenged for the title, ahead of traditional powers Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Chelsea, by being absolutely dismantled by an already relegated 10-man Newcastle, while Arsenal defeated Aston Villa to pip them for second in the final standings. The next season however, Spurs placed 2nd after winning 19 of their last 23 games, including 9 in a row, cumulatng in a derby win to confirm a place above Arsenal with 5 games to spare, before scoring 13, 6 from Harry Kane, in their last 2 away matches. They spent the 2017/18 season and most of the 2018/19 season at Wembley Stadium, during which time their usual stadium White Hart Lane was redeveloped into a 61,559-seater stadium, into which they moved in April 2019. After a slow start, the form continued, with Real Madrid beaten at Wembley and the Stamford Bridge taboo ended. During the 2018/19 season, they would go from being 12 minutes away from being knocked out of the Champions League group stage - with two games left - to knocking Manchester City out in the quarterfinals, and then coming form 3-0 down on aggregate to Ajax inside the final half of the fixture to secure a berth to the Champions League final.
Current Manager: Javi GraciaCurrent Captain: Troy DeeneyCurrent Stadium: Vicarage Roadnote2018/19 Position: 11thHighest Finish: 11th
Enjoyed success under Graham Taylor in the 80s, and he took them back to the top-flight in 1999, only for them to be immediately relegated. They were promoted again under Adrian Boothroyd in 2006... and got immediately relegated again. Have since done reasonably well in the Championship, though repeatedly fell short of promotion, before finally winning promotion in the 2014/15 campaign. Following the surprise sacking of their previous manager, Sanchez Flores joined the club and faced the prospect of bedding in half a dozen new signings, almost all of whom spoke different languages. Despite this and consequently being tipped for relegation, he managed to perform beyond expectations and keep Watford in the top flight. Despite a great start to the season that saw them in 7th by Christmas, as well as an appearance in an FA Cup Semi-Final, an abject second half of the season was enough for Watfords owners to decide that Flores time was up and the two parted company at the end of the season.note Walter Mazzari led them to one of their most successful starts in the top division in their history, keeping three square clean sheets, though a 6-1 thrashing at Anfield dampened the optimism somewhat. They then earned a shock win to destroy Arsenal's title chase, but lost all their last 6 games and Mazzari was sacked. Hull's Marco Silva came in, and, in spite of his best successes being at home as Hull boss, and in Portugal and Greece beforehand, has proven ace away from home. Like Burnley, they are ahead of most middle-to-bottom teams and well clear of the relegation zone so far, although their form has fallen over the winter. However, after a loss to Leicester, Marco Silva was surprisingly sacked, to the anger of the country, with Watford's loss in form after they rebutted Everton's overtures for him 2 months earlier (although Watford lost a 2-0 lead to lose to an Everton side than in terrible form when the toffees were still awaiting their next boss - they won their next 2 games afterwards but only 1 of their subsequent 11, not keeping a clean sheet during the 11 games) being blamed for it, and obscure Spaniard Javi Gracia, a manager with experience in Spain and Russia, in his place a few hours later. Beat Chelsea and Everton at home a short time after. Won first 4 games of 2018-19 season, a club record, and reached the last 4 of the cup.
- West Ham United
Current Manager: Manuel PellegriniCurrent Captain: Mark NobleCurrent Stadium: London Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 10thHighest Finish: 5th
Despite what the name suggests, they're based in east London, having begun life as the Thames Ironworks Football Club in 1895. "The Hammers" are notable for their devoted fan base and for having contributed several key players to England's only World Cup winning side in 1966, including hat trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst and legendary defender Bobby Moore. The team has featured in most Premier League campaigns and generally finishes mid-table, but have twice suffered relegation on the back of ill-advised managerial appointments (Glenn Roeder in 2003, and Avram Grant in 2011). Recent years have been something of a roller coaster for West Ham. On the one hand, their century-long tenure at Upton Park ended on a high note with a strong performance in the 2015/16 season. Under then manager and former player Slaven Bilic, the club achieved the rare feat of a Premier League Grand Slam by beating Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, and both Manchester teams in a single season. But a move to the London Stadium (the renovated 2012 Olympic Stadium) in the autumn of 2016 would prove tumultuous as both players and supporters struggled to adjust to their new home. The next two seasons would be dogged by uneven form, relegation fears, and simmering discontent among the clubs fans. Veteran manager, Manuel Pellegrini took control of the club in the summer of 2018 and made a number of key signings. After another wobbly start, the Hammers began to show signs of consistency and positive attacking play, creating a fresh sense of optimism among fans. A late season rally, including a historic away win at Spurs new stadium, saw West Ham sneak into the top ten despite a negative goal differential caused by kamikaze defending. The West Ham Way, innit.
- Wolverhampton Wanderers
Current Manager: Nuno Espirito SantoCurrent Captain: Danny BatthCurrent Stadium: Molineux note2018/19 Position: 7thHighest Finish: 7th
Hugely successful in the 1950s, and relatively common fixtures in the top-flight until the mid 1980s. After their first Premier League campaign ended in immediate relegation they survived for a few years in the 2000s/2010s, only to be relegated in 2012, and then relegated again the following year, although were promoted back to the Championship in 2013/14 and have hung out in the lower half of the table. However, in 2017, a Chinese takeover allowed Mourinho's agent Jorge Mendes to help engineer the Midlands side's managerial appointments and transfers, and Wolves were successfully able to achieve promotion in early April 2018. Their first season back in the top flight started with a draw at home against Everton and a defeat at Leicester, but they surprisingly managed to snatch two points away from Manchester City despite scoring with an offside handball. Form has bizarrely oscillated - one example being a 7 game run where they lost to Watford, Brighton, Huddersfield and Cardiff, but were very unlucky not to beat Arsenal, cut a 3-goal deficit to Spurs to one goal, and beat Chelsea from behind. Also knocked Manchester United out of the FA cup to make the semi finals, and became the first team to be promoted and then finish in the Top 7 in the next season.
- Cardiff City
Current Manager: Neil WarnockCurrent Captain: Sean MorrisonCurrent Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium note2018/19 Position: 18th (Relegated)Highest Finish: 18th
The second Welsh club to have played in the Premier League. Their constant failures to get promoted to the top-flight were the source of a running joke for many years, until things finally went right in 2013 when they won the Football League Championship and earned promotion. Their owner, Vincent Tan, is a controversial figure for his constant Executive Meddling note , his jeers toward his own players and his lack of knowledge for the game note . However, his decision to sack Malky Mackay has helped vindicate his reputation after details about the former manager's... unsavory text messages came to public light. Despite signing players such as England international Steven Caulker, their only season in the Premier League was a far cry from the success of their rivals Swansea City and the Bluebirds got relegated ignominiously, and have since bounced around the Championship. However, under Neil Warnock, they managed the division's best winning start in 2017, with 5 on the trot, and could get a fairer crack of the PL whip in real colours. In spite of their season being destroyed by their marquee signing being killed in a plane crash a day after joining the club, they won back-to-back, a feat not achieved the previous time, but lost late to Crystal Palace to be sent down with one match left to play, bringing an end to their rather tragic season.
Current Manager: Scott Parker (caretaker)Current Captain: Tom CairneyCurrent Stadium: Craven Cottage note2018/19 Position: 19th (Relegated)Highest Finish: 7th
Probably most famously had a great escape from relegation in 2007/08 under Roy Hodgson, then the following season got into Europe, before becoming runners-up in the 2009/10 Europa League - beating many of the game's most famous names to do so, including a famous 4-1 win against Juventus. The team lost their status as a Premier League club as a poor 2013/14 campaign saw both ex-Spurs boss Martin Jol and René Meulensteen getting the sack. Formerly owned by Mohammed Al Fayed, they were purchased in 2013 by Pakistani-born US billionaire Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Their first 2 seasons after relegation were ones of struggle, where Fulham held off the risk of a further relegation, but under ex-Chelsea player Jokanovic, they snuck into the playoffs ahead of Leeds, only to lose to Reading. Most recently, they won their way back into the playoff final. They earned a good early win over Burnley, having spent big money on talented platers, but than 8 straight defeats, many of which saw them leak goals left, right and centre, Jokanovic was sacked and replaced by his former manager up the road Ranieri, without knowing he was sacked until the Leicester legend was announced in his place. Ranieri failed to revitalize the club, and barely a hundred days later he was sacked himself, with Jokanovic associate Scott Parker taking his place as caretaker. Went down in early April after losing to Watford.
- Huddersfield Town
Current Manager: Jan SiewertCurrent Captain: Tommy Smith (team) and Mark Hudson (club)Current Stadium: Kirklees Stadium note2018/19 Position: 20th (Relegated)Highest Finish: 16th
Like Preston North End, Huddersfield are an historic team with regard to English football. When the English top flight was the Football League's First Division, they were the first team to win three straight titles (1923/24 to 1925/26), as well as the first team to score an Olímpico (a goal directly from a corner kick) in English history. They have not won a title since, and they began slipping over the next few decades, going down from the top flight in 1972 as far as the Fourth Division in 1975 (the first League Champions to do so). The Terriers spent most of their time in the Premier League era sitting still in the Championship and League One (with a single year in League Two), but in 2012 they won promotion to the Championship. They then climbed the ranks to make it to the Championship Playoff Final in 2017, where they beat Reading 4-3 on penalties. The 2017-2018 season will be their first season in the Premier League, and their first top-flight season in 45 years. They became the second newly promoted team to not concede a goal before the first international break (in the 3 games, wins by 3-0 and 1-0 and a 0-0 draw). They struggled afterwards, but then became the first team to beat Manchester United in the 2017-18 season, and shock late season stalemates at Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge allowed their survival with time to spare. This hasn't occurred the next season though, as their inability to find a goalscorer cut Huddersfield well adrift from the start, and indeed, they suffered the second earliest relegation (one day later than Derby's hapless 2007-08 ensemble), with three wins, two of which were against Wolves, the other against fellow strugglers Fulham, scoring just 18 goals in the process.
Promoted teams (Will play in Premier League next season):
- Norwich City: (1992-95, 2004-05, 2011-14, 2015-16, 2019-)
Current Manager: Daniel FarkeCurrent Captain: Russell MartinCurrent Stadium: Carrow Roadnote2018/19 Position: 1st in Championship (Promoted)Highest Finish: 3rd
Title challengers under Mike Walker in the first Premier League season, but suffered a spectacular collapse after he left the following year and went down in the 1994-95 season. Came back for one season in 2004/05, before returning again and stabilising themselves in 2011. A torridnote 2013/14 campaign, however, saw the Canaries being too cautious and conservative for their own good and they paid dearly by being relegated on the season's final day. Fortunately for Canary fans, the team redeemed themselves in the Championship thanks to a much more positive play-style under Scottish manager Alex Neil and they achieved promotion after comfortably beating Middlesbrough in the 2015 Playoff Finals. In the 2015/16 season, despite a famous victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford, they were relegated despite doing their part in the final days. In the 2018/19 campaign, they ran away with the campaign toward the end of the season, and achieved promotion with one match to play.
- Sheffield United (1992-1994; 2006-2007, 2019-)
Current Manager: Chris WilderCurrent Captain: Billy SharpCurrent Stadium: Bramall Lane note2018/19 Position: 2nd in Championship (Promoted)Highest Finish: 14th
One of the two Sheffield clubs, who contest the Steel City derby (at least, when they're in the same division). Suffered last-day relegation from the Premier League on two separate occasions, the second in very controversial circumstances due to West Ham striker Carlos Teveznote scoring the goal which kept West Ham up at United's expense. Generally enjoyed better fortunes than Wednesday for most of the 2000s, though they only just won back promotion to the Championship, where a blistering start suggested that Wilder could be promoted from League 2 to Premier league in successive seasons (Northampton in 2015-16, Sheffield United since), though the Blades ultimately fell short. Achieved promotion with a Leeds United draw with one game left to play.
Guaranteed playoff spot or better:
- Aston Villa (1992-2016)
Current Manager: Dean SmithCurrent Captain: Tommy ElphickCurrent Stadium: Villa Parknote2018/19 Position: 5th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 2nd
Generally a typical mid-table side from Birmingham, the odd flirtation with either end of the table notwithstanding; their highest finish was as runners-up under Ron Atkinson in the first Premier League season. They also mounted a consistent challenge for European places under the management of Martin O'Neill, only to have reverted to old ways since then. The 2014/15 season saw the sacking of manager Paul Lambert after a dire run that left them in the relegation zone. However, ex-Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood managed to keep the team from relegation and took them to the FA Cup final. After a monumentally bad start to the 2015/16 season, Sherwood was fired and replaced by Rémi Garde, former Arsenal player in Arsène Wenger's early years as manager. While he managed to upgrade their performances from 'downright awful' to merely 'very bad', after just 3 wins from 23 games he left the club in March 2016. They're also controlled by an American: former Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner. Following a truly abysmal 2015/16 season, they were relegated in mid-April following a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United. Tony Xia took over the club in the offseason and signed Premier League-caliber players like Jonathan Kodjia and Mile Jedinak. Despite the club's overhaul, Villa finished midtable in the Championship, following up the next season with a strong push that saw them finish in a playoff spot, though they lost to Fulham in the final. Bruce was ditched after a poor start to the next season, with open Villa fan Dean Smith taking over from Brentford.
- Derby County (1996-2002; 2007-2008)
Current Manager: Frank LampardCurrent Captain: Richard KeoghCurrent Stadium: Pride Park Stadium note2018/19 Position: 6th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 8th
Mostly remembered as the first team that Brian Clough made into title-winners. They were a generally decent side for a few years under Jim Smith, until they were relegated in 2002. Returned for one season after that, which can only be described as a failure of the most epic kind. They most recently made it into a playoff spot, winning the home fixture against Fulham, but losing the away by a greater margin. After Gary Rowett joined Stoke, ex-Chelsea icon Frank Lampard decided the Rams were his first managerial job.
- Barnsley (1997-98)
Current Manager: Daniel StendelCurrent Captain: Marc RobertsCurrent Stadium: Oakwell note2018/19 Position: 2nd in League One (Promoted)Highest Finish: 19th
Spent 102 years trying to make it into the top flight of English football, and then were relegated after only one season, having spent virtually the entire season in the bottom three. Did manage a strong FA Cup run in the same season though, reaching the fifth round and knocking Manchester United out along the way. Came close to a return in 2000, but were relegated to the third tier 2 seasons later. Yo-yo between Championship and League 1 nowadays. An FA Cup run to the semi finals, exactly 10 seasons after the Premier League season, repeating its bright spot of a historic win at Anfield, than ending Chelsea's defence, was their most notable moment since.
- Birmingham City (2002-2006; 2007-2008; 2009-2011)
Current Manager: Gary MonkCurrent Captain: Michael MorrisonCurrent Stadium: St Andrew's note2018/19 Position: 17th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 9th
The other major club from Birmingham. Had quite a few seasons in the Premier League during the 2000s, but could never quite establish themselves despite a League Cup win months before their relegation in 2011. With Villa and Wolves, forms one-third of a trio of Midlands clubs that have benefited from Chinese investment. Benefit is used loosely however at this stage. The investors sacked local boy Gary Rowett just before Christmas with the side near the Play-off places, replacing him with Gianfranco Zola, and Zola saw the team slide towards the relegation zone, resigning after a loss to Burton in the pre anti penultimate fixture, with Brum now just 1 point above the relegation zone. Harry Redknapp came in, and they won their last 2 games to stay in the Championship when a loss in either of them would have seen Birmingham relegated, but was sacked after a slow start to the next season, another one where they survived for definite on the final day.
- Blackburn Rovers: (1992-1999; 2001-2012)
Current Manager: Tony MowbrayCurrent Captain: Jason LoweCurrent Stadium: Ewood Park note2018/19 Position: 15th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 1st
Won the Premier League once back in 1994/95 under Kenny Dalglish, with Alan Shearer on the offense before he moved to Newcastle next season. The only former champions to have been relegated, twice no less; the second relegation came after they were taken over by Indian poultry giant Venky's, who sacked then-manager Sam Allardyce and replaced him with the highly unpopular Steve Kean, leading to relegation the following year, and the club getting through four managers in the following season in the Championship. Relegated again in 2017, with Venkys still owning the club, but immediately returned to the Championship the following year.
- Blackpool (2010-2011)
Current Manager: Gary BowyerCurrent Captain: Andy TaylorCurrent Stadium: Bloomfield Road note2018/19 Position: 10th in League OneHighest Finish: 19th
Mostly remembered for the success they had when Stanley Matthews played for them back in the 50s, but they suffered some very troubled times from the late 70s onward, before getting back into the top-flight after a series of promotions in the mid-late 2000s. They went down straight away, albeit with a relatively high points total for a relegated side, partly due to a series of good away wins in the first two thirds of the season, before a spectacular implosion in spring. They were relegated twice in a row as the ownership was losing control and fans were turning against the Oyston family regime that has owned the Tangerines for decades, but snuck into the play offs in league 2, despite continued fan anger at the club's corrupt ownership, after winning their last game when any 2 of 9 teams could have made the play off, and beat Luton dramatically before holding off Exeter in the play off final.
- Bolton Wanderers (1995-1996; 1997-1998; 2001-2012)
Current Manager: Phil ParkinsonCurrent Captain: Jay SpearingCurrent Stadium: University of Bolton Stadium note2018/19 Position: 23rd in Championship (relegated)Highest Finish: 6th
A Greater Manchester based club; their first Premier League season was awful, and their second saw them relegated on goal difference, but they established themselves as a pretty good side under Sam Allardyce in the 2000s, reaching highs of 6th place and establishing themselves in the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League). Their fortunes gradually deteriorated after he left however, and they were eventually relegated in 2012. After a dismal 2015/16 campaign, which saw them in 173 million pounds of debt, and handed a transfer embargo to boot, they were relegated to the third tier for the first time since 1993, though they won their way back up next season, and only narrowly avoided going down again in the final minutes of the 2017-18 season.
- Bradford City (1999-2001)
Current Manager: Michael CollinsCurrent Captain: Josh WrightCurrent Stadium: Valley Parade note2018/19 Position: 24th in League One (relegated)Highest Finish: 17th
West Yorkshire club who famously survived on the last day of the 1999/2000 season by beating Liverpool. Unfortunately, in a portent of what would later happen to neighbours Leeds United, they then massively overspent on players and underwent financial meltdown, ending up in the Football League's lowest tier by 2007 (though they won promotion out of that division in 2013). Generally chased promotion to the Championship since they knocked Chelsea out of the FA cup in 2015, until a dire end to the 2017-18 season ended promotion hopes and continued into the new year.
- Charlton Athletic (1998-1999; 2000-2007)
Current Manager: Lee BowyerCurrent Captain: Johnnie JacksonCurrent Stadium: The Valley note2018/19 Position: 3rd in League OneHighest Finish: 7th
Another London-based club, who narrowly failed to survive in their first season, before establishing themselves as a decent mid-table side for a few years. However, things quickly went downhill after long-time manager Alan Curbishley left, and they were relegated the following year, then again in 2009. They won promotion back to the Championship in 2012, before their new owner's mismanagement of the club saw them sent back down in 2016, having relied on a partnership with clubs of his in Belgium, Spain and Hungary, where he was losing popularity at a rapid rate. Lost in Playoffs in 2017-18 under the guidance of ex Leeds and West Ham bad boy Lee Bowyer.
- Coventry City (1992-2001)
Current Manager: Russell SladeCurrent Captain: Jordan WillisCurrent Stadium: Ricoh Arena note2018/19 Position: 8th in League OneHighest Finish: 11th
Midlands-based club, with rivalries with Leicester City and the two Birmingham-based clubs. Like Southampton they were long time members of the top-flight, but constantly struggled and finally went down in 2001. Contrary to what Monty Python's Flying Circus would have you believe, they have won the FA Cup (in 1987, well after the referenced sketch aired). Their failures to win promotion combined with the cost of building a new ground caused their finances to deteriorate as the decade progressed, leading to them being relegated again in 2012. To add insult to injury they were kicked out of their ground the following year, playing their 201314 "home" games 40 miles away in Northampton. They're now back in their Coventry ground... though they're now tenants of the Wasps rugby union club, formerly playing near London, which bought the ground and moved their home matches there in late 2014. They had a torrid 2016/17 campaign and have gone down to League 2. They last placed in the top 5 in any division in 1966, but Reached the FA cup last 16, including beating Stoke, and placed 6th, thereby earning a playoff place, in 2017-18. They won the play off final, finally getting upward trajectory.
- Hull City (2008-10; 2013-15; 2016-17)
Current Manager: Nigel AdkinsCurrent Captain: Michael DawsonCurrent Stadium: KC Stadium note2018/19 Position: 12th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 16th
Hull first entered the Premier League (and indeed the top-flight) in 2008. The Kingston upon Hull-based team's debut season was mostly remembered for them doing well until then-manager Phil Brown decided to berate his entire team on the pitch during half-time of one match. After that moment, they barely avoided relegation after failing to win a single home game for the rest of the season (winning only once away, at Fulham) before going down the following year having not won a single game on their travels. Hull returned to the top-flight in 2013 under Steve Bruce's management and finished as runners-up to Arsenal in the 2014 FA Cup after being up 2-0 within 20 minutes. While the Tigers went out of the Premier League on the final day the following season, they quickly rebounded and ultimately achieved promotion after beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 in the 2016 Championship playoff final. Usually struggling against relegation and being the whipping boy of the League in the first half of the 2016/17 season, including a wince-worthy 5-1 defeat to Liverpool, a change of manager restored fortunes somewhat (including with a 2-0 victory of Liverpool), but it was not enough to stop them from going down. A failed spell under ex-Russia boss Lenoid Slutskiy led to Hull needing another boss change, and risking an untenable back to back relegation and financial ruin after a decade of yo-yoing between the top 2 tiers, though Nigel Adkins has stabilised them since and they were able to stay up in the Championship for next season.
- Ipswich Town (1992-1995; 2000-2002)
Current Manager: Paul LambertCurrent Captain: Luke ChambersCurrent Stadium: Portman Road note2018/19 Position: 24th in Championship (relegated)Highest Finish: 5th
Norwich's main rivals, and a successful club under Bobby Robson in the seventies, but their first few years in the Premier League were unimpressive, and they were relegated after a really terrible season in 1994/95. They came back in 2000, and finished fifth that year, only to end up back in the second tier the following year, but a torrid 2018/19 campaign saw them finish dead last with only 28 points out of 46 games, which sent them down into League 1.
- Leeds United (1992-2004)
Current Manager: Marcelo BielsaCurrent Captain: Liam BridcuttCurrent Stadium: Elland Road note2018/19 Position: 3rd in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 3rd
Frequently won trophies in the 60s, 70s and 90s, reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, but crashed and burned spectacularly after overspending in the early 2000s, being relegated in 2004, and then again to League One in 2007, and only avoided being tossed out of the Football League and bankrupted due to Loophole Abuse (which cause the FA to bring in the more stringent financial rules that are in operation today). Got back to the Championship in 2010, but have never seriously looked like getting back into the Premier League since then, and in fact have only even once finished in the top half of the Championship, when they made the play-off final in 2006. Their main rivals used to be Liverpool and Manchester United, the two other traditional footballing superpowers of the North, and some fans still believe this is so, to the derision of Liverpool and United fans alike (it being one of the very few things the two groups agree on). Nowadays, their rivals are the two Sheffield clubs. Nowadays, fans quietly acknowledge that the old days of Champions League football and challenging for the title are long gone. Replaced an earlier club called Leeds City... who were tossed out of the Football League and bankrupted just after World War I due to massive corruption, which included bribing league officials and paying their players illegal bonuses. Most recently bungled a Playoff Spot they almost seemed assured to win at 3rd, before dropping their last several matches to finish outside the Top 6. For a while, they had a promotion chase in the bag the next season, under Thomas Christiansen, but lost form badly over the winter, he was sacked, and Paul Heckingbottom made the short move up the M1. He only lasted the season, and famous Argentine Marcelo Bielsa came in instead.
- Middlesbrough (1992-93; 1995-97; 1998-09; 2016-17)
Current Manager: Tony PulisCurrent Captain: Grant LeadbitterCurrent Stadium: Riverside Stadium note2018/19 Position: 7th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 7th
One of the "North-East Three" along with Newcastle and Sunderland. Were controversially relegated for failing to fulfill a fixture in 1997, but came back the following year and lasted over a decade, generally finishing mid-table (although they reached the finals of the UEFA Europa League (then the UEFA Cup) in 2006, losing to Sevilla in the finalsnote ) before eventually going down in 2009. They won promotion in 2016, only to go down again the following season. Gary Monk was controversially sacked pre-Xmas because Boro thought his style wasn't good enough. Who did they bring in his place? Tony Pulis! Pulis led them to the Championship playoff, though they were ousted by Aston Villa.
- Nottingham Forest (1992-1993; 1994-1997; 1998-1999)
Current Manager: Aitor KarankaCurrent Captain: Chris CohenCurrent Stadium: City Ground note2018/19 Position: 9th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 3rd
Enjoyed huge success under Brian Clough in the 70s and 80s, but the start of the Premier League brought relegation, and his retirement. Came back twice after that but, aside from a 3rd place finish in 1995, enjoyed little success, and ended up going down to League One in 2005, becoming the first European Cup-winning team to later be relegated to the third tier of their domestic league (they came back three years later). Barely escaped relegation in 2016/17, and most recently made headlines for signing "Lord" Nicklas Bendtner, the former Arsenal striker, and onetime player of the year for his country, Denmark, who only played for them for six months, but scoring 2 goals, before leaving on a free transfer to Rosenborg in Norway. Forest avoided relegation by 2 goals, meaning fans attributed Bendtner, whose goals scored 3 points off top 6 teams Fulham and Newcastle, to their survival. In the next season, they sacked Mark Warburton but than caused a great FA Cup shock a week later, being the first side since Arsene Wenger was Arsenal manager to knock the Gunners, who won 3 of the last 4 iterations of the world's oldest event, out at the earliest possible stage, also Arsenal's first direct defeat in round 3 (ie without a replay) since their famous 1992 loss to Wrexham, which was also done in impressive style with a young side hammering a demotivated reserve group of Arsenal players, with most main men left out completely for the League cup semi final. Aitor Karanka, the ex Middlesbrough boss, came in just a couple of days after that famous result.
- Oldham Athletic (1992-1994)
Current Manager: Richie WellensCurrent Captain: Peter ClarkeCurrent Stadium: Boundary Park note2018/19 Position: 14th in League TwoHighest Finish: 19th
Smallish club based in Greater Manchester who nonetheless spent a few years in the top flight back in the early 90s. They were relegated in 1994 and since 1997 have been in the third tier - the longest period any non top-flight club have been in their division without being promoted or relegated. However, this was ended on the final day of 2017-18.
- Portsmouth (2003-2010)
Current Manager: Paul CookCurrent Captain: Michael DoyleCurrent Stadium: Fratton Park note2018/19 Position: 4th in League OneHighest Finish: 8th
South coast club, whose fortunes seem to be the opposite of bitter rivals Southampton at any given time. After getting into the Premier League, their fortunes improved year on year, including winning the FA Cup... until their playboy millionairenote owner pulled the plug on them in 2009, sending them into a financial meltdown that made Bradford and Leeds's declines look tame. They were relegated the following year, relegated to League One in 2012 (thanks to a points deduction) and relegated to League Two the year after that, only avoiding bankruptcy when the supporters' trust purchased the club. They were able to win promotion to League One again in 2017, and a former Disney CEO purchased them that summer.
- Queens Park Rangers (1992-1996, 2011-2013, 2014-2015)
Current Manager: Steve Mc ClarenCurrent Captain: Nedum OnuohaCurrent Stadium: Loftus Road Stadium note2018/19 Position: 19th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 5th
Yet another central London club, who were regular fixtures in the top-flight until relegation in 1996. After 15 years of varying fortunes they returned to the Premier League in 2011 with rich new owners, and barely survived the 2011/12 season before things went epically wrong the following season and they were relegated. They returned for 2014/15 after beating Derby County in the play-offs, but crashed out of the league after a brutal thrashing from Manchester City. Formerly managed by footballing stalwart Harry Redknapp, the club is facing an uncertain future as they have enough financial debt to potentially prevent them from playing in the English Football League. However, they continue playing there, albeit as an unspectacular mid-table side.
- Reading (2006-2008; 2012-2013)
Current Manager:Current Captain: Paul McShaneCurrent Stadium: Madejski Stadium note2018/19 Position: 20th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 8th
Berkshire-based club who were promoted to the top-flight for the first time ever in 2006. Despite a strong debut season, things went wrong the next year and they were relegated. They proved even worse the next time they were promoted, and went straight back down. Finished in a playoff spot in 2017 and made it to the Championship Final, where they lost on penalties, but needed the late-season appointment of Paul Clement to stay in a division which they were last below in 2002, and a subpar start to the next season meant that he was ditched just before Christmas for the second year in a row, having also been at Swansea the previous year.
- Sheffield Wednesday (1992-2000)
Current Manager: Jos LuhukayCurrent Captain: Tom LeesCurrent Stadium: Hillsborough note2018/19 Position: 13th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 7th
The other Sheffield club. Had varying fortunes for the first few Premier League seasons before getting relegated after a pretty terrible season in at the turn of the century (in which they lost 8-0 in an early season game). Currently in the Championship, into which rivals Sheffield United won in 2017, after cruel play off losses to near rivals in 2016 and 2017.
- Stoke City (2008-2018)
Current Manager: Gary RowettCurrent Captain: Ryan ShawcrossCurrent Stadium: Britannia Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 16th (Relegated)Highest Finish: 9th
Top-flight mainstays from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire until the mid-80s, when they were relegated after an infamously awful 1984/85 season. They then spent the next two decades bouncing between the second and third tiers, before Tony Pulis bought them back into the Premier League in 2008. They've consistently finished in the mid-table since then, though their somewhat ugly footballing style and failure to progress saw Pulis get sacked in 2013. He was replaced by Welshman Mark Hughes, who steadily cleaned away their thuggish reputation by buying former Barcelona players Bojan and Ibrahim Affelay, former Inter Milan attacker Marko Arnautovic and highly rated starlet and talisman of the Swiss national team, Xherdan Shaqiri. This last in particular caused a lot of double takes since Shaqiri is the exact opposite of Stoke's stereotypical kind of player, being tiny even by the standards of tiny technical players at 5'6'', which had led to him being dubbed 'the Magic Dwarf'. For the next few years, they became the team from mid-table that the big teams worry about. Also well known for the meme But can he do it on a cold rainy Wednesday night at Stoke? Relegated in the 2017/18 season after ten seasons in the EPL, with Hughes being sacked at midseason.
- Sunderland (1996-97; 1999-2003; 2005-06; 2007-17)
Current Manager: Jack RossCurrent Captain: George HoneymanCurrent Stadium: Stadium of Lightnote2018/19 Position: 5th in League OneHighest Finish: 7th
Deadly rivals of Newcastle from just across the county, and relatively regular members of the Premier League since 1996. Challenged for the European spots for a few years in the early 2000s under Peter Reid, but otherwise have generally finished lower mid-table, along with being relegated after two really awful seasons in 2003 and 2006. Spent the past few seasons looking almost certain for relegation before rallying under a new manager to finish safely; First Paolo Di Canio came in at the end of the 2012/13 season, where they obtained 8 points from their last 7 games to secure safety. The following season, after the appointment of Gus Poyet in October, they won 4 of their last 6 games to avoid relegation (which had looked near-certain for most of the season. Unfortunately, another bad run in 2014/15 saw Poyet sacked, with Dutchman Dick Advocaat hired on a short-term contract to help the team survive relegation. While he succeeded, becoming much loved by the fans (who clubbed together to get a massive bouquet of flowers for Advocaat's wife when she reversed her decision to make him retire at the end of the 2014/15 season), a poor start to the 2015/16 season led to his parting company with the club and the safest of safe pairs of hands, Sam 'Big Sam' Allardyce, coming in to guide Sunderland to better fortunes, eventually escaping relegation again after beating Everton 3-0.note . During the pre-season, Big Sam left to become England Manager, and so he was replaced by former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes. Relegated in late April 2017 for the first time in 10 years. They took 364 days to record a home win, beating Fulham 1-0 on December 16 2017, their first home win since December 17 2016. Ironically, Fulham were also the side that Sunderland earned their sole home league win against in 2005-06, their final home league game, and rearrangement of an abandoned match from a month earlier (though they won home games in cup competitions, although only against Cheltenham after extra time, and Northwich). Prior to the win over Fulham in late 2017, Sunderland appointed Chris Coleman, famous for getting Wales into the last 4 of the European Championships, and making them the UK's best side despite generally weaker players than England, aside from Bale and Ramsey. Home form continued to deteriorate in the Championship, however, and they ultimately went down again with a 2-1 loss to Burton Albion in April, going on to finish bottom.
- Swansea City (2011-2018)
Current Manager: Graham PotterCurrent Captain: Leon BrittonCurrent Stadium: Liberty Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 10th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 8th
Became the first Welsh club to ever play in the top division after being promoted in 2011. After almost being relegated out of League Two in 2003 (which would have caused the club to fold due to the financial difficulties they faced at the time), they enjoyed a meteoric rise to the Premier League thanks to their attacking, possession-focused tactics. Having established themselves as consistent mid-table finishers in their first two seasons, Swansea earned their first major piece of silverware when they won the League Cup in 2013, qualifying for the Europa League in the process. They started the 2015/16 season well, but slumped significantly after the first few weeks, eventually leading to the sacking of intensely popular and widely admired manager Garry Monk, who had gone straight from retirement from playing for Swansea to management and had, at the end of the previous season, been tipped for the England job. An upturn in performance following Guidolin's recruitment managed to bring Swansea to safety. After a rough start to the following season, Guidolin was shown the door, and replaced by former USA boss, Bob Bradleynote , before he too was shown the door two and a half months afterwards after failing to re-invigorate the squad. They appointed their third manager of the season in the form of former Bayern Munich assistant manager Paul Clement, and he began with a stunning win away to Liverpool, and Swansea managed to survive after a late revival, ensuring a 7th PL season in a row on the Gower Peninsula. Caused a surprise by signing Portugal international Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich, after the Euro 2016 winner struggled for first team action at the club Clement was a former assistant manager of. He hopes to better Portuguese winning team teammate Eder, who had failed to make impact in a brief spell there before his stunning winner against hosts France in the 2016 final. However, Renato himself was struggling (and passed to a billboard in a game at Chelsea), prompting rumours of his loan being cancelled, and Clement being sacked for Carvahal, himself sacked by Sheffield Wednesday a few days earlier. Eased past Liverpool and Arsenal in successive league games, and had a best cup run in over 50 years including winning one replay 8-1. Sent down on the final day of the 2017/18 season.
- Swindon Town (1993-1994)
Current Manager: Luke WilliamsCurrent Captain: Nathan ThompsonCurrent Stadium: County Ground note2018/19 Position: 13th in League TwoHighest Finish: 20th
Their only top-flight season to date did not go at all well, as they were relegated in bottom place after conceding precisely one hundred goals. To add insult to injury, they were then relegated the following year (though like Crystal Palace, this was only due to league reconstruction), and have since spent most of their time bouncing around between the bottom two divisions, as evidenced by their relegation to League Two in 2017. Their stadium is next to a bizarre set of roundabouts called The Magic Roundabout.
- West Bromwich Albion (2002-03, 2004-06, 2008-09, 2010-2018)
Current Manager: Darren MooreCurrent Captain: Chris BruntCurrent Stadium: The Hawthornsnote2018/19 Position: 4th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 8th
West Midlands-based club, who spent much of the 2000s bouncing between the Premier League and Championship, before establishing themselves as a decent mid-table side under Roy Hodgson before he left to take over England. Best known for their "Great Escape" during the 2004/05 season, where they became the first team to escape relegation having been bottom at Christmas (in fact, they were still bottom going into their final match). They were relegated the following season, however. Under Tony Pulis, they have re-established their mid-table status, proving a hard team to break down and a consistent threat to top teams via set-pieces. However, they had a dire end to the 2016-17 season, dropping out of the top half, and, when wins in their first 2 games were followed by a 19 game winless run, Pulis was sacked. Having oscillated between stability and PR disasters throughout 8 years in the PL unimpeded, their 2017-18 campaign descended into farce, and Pardew was ditched with one league win in 30 league games, and 10 points adrift with 18 to gain, though Moore gaining 11 of them in his first 5 games, including against Man Utd, Liverpool and Spurs, ensured WBA were only demoted on the final week.
- Wigan Athletic (2005-2013)
Current Manager: Paul CookCurrent Captain: Sam MorsyCurrent Stadium: DW Stadium note2018/19 Position: 18th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 10th
Lancashire club who spent the better part of a decade surviving against the odds, always managing to pull off last-day escapes. Unfortunately the 2012/13 season proved a step too far, and they were relegated despite winning the FA Cup. They almost reached the FA Cup final again the next year (beating Manchester City in the quarter-finals, no less), but eventual winners Arsenal put them out on penalties in the semi-finals. Relegated to League One twice in 3 years after horrific seasons (the ill advised appointment of Mackay, and Whelan's laughable and senile defence of his slurs in 2014-15, and despite rebounding with Ulster striker Will Grigg becoming a meme after a great season, they went back down again after their squad didn't adapt). Knocked City out of the cup AGAIN thanks to Grigg (having defeated two lowlier PL sides beforehand) and were too good for League One again.
- Wimbledon (1992-2000) note
Current Manager: Simon BasseyCurrent Captain: Barry FullerCurrent Stadium: Kingsmeadow note New stadium2018/19 Position: 20th in League OneHighest Finish: 6th
South London club who were nicknamed "the Crazy Gang," and the only former Premier League club which is no longer in existence. The club itself became Milton Keynes Dons in 2004 (an occasion that is still very controversial to this day among football supporters), while a Spiritual Successor club, AFC Wimbledon, was formed in 2002. Supporters of both clubs insist there is no rivalry between them despite their history, despite matches still being treated as a big deal. Both clubs met in the same league for the first time in the 2016/17 League One season, splitting the fixtures and with MK Dons finishing ahead by four points. The next season, however, MK Dons went down after a horrendous season, with AFC Wimbledon surviving to the joy of football fans around the world because for the first time ever AFC Wimbledon will be in a league above MK. The team is also currently building a new ground intended as the successor of their old ground Plough Lane, with the new stadium projected to be opened in the 2019/20 season. Their new ground will be located in the site of the former Wimbledon Greyhound Track. Chelsea Ladies F.C. (who currently shared ground with them) will take over Kingsmeadow as the sole tenant of the stadium once Wimbledon leave for their new stadium.
NOTE: Passions tend to run high among fans of the teams currently and formerly in this league. As a result, unlike most other Useful Notes pages, standard YMMV trope rules are fully enforced on this page — meaning, we don't want to see any!
The League provides examples of:
- Aesop Amnesia:
- The primary reason why QPR got relegated in the 2014/2015 season. They went down in 2012/2013 due to a squad filled with overpaid players who were either too old or too apathetic. The club squeezed back into the top flight a year later... only to sign players such as Rio Ferdinand (a defender who was 36 years old) and Mauricio Isla (a loanee who is hated by QPR fans for his poor work ethic).
- One could argue that Tottenham Hotspur had a case of this late on in the 2015/16 season that cost them the title. In their 4-0 thrashing of Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, some commentators pointed out the complete lack of contact between players at corners that Spurs - and possibly Stoke as well - had supposedly learnt from leaders Leicester City in the prior game. note With Leicester slipping against West Ham and Tottenham moving within five points of them, it looked like Spurs had closed the gap and could have sneaked the title from under their noses, with pressure applied to Leicester. However, come Tottenham's trip to Stamford Bridge to play against London rivals Chelsea on the back of Leicester's wins and their most recent 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the time, they had seemed to completely throw this tactic out of the window in exchange for trying to physically destroy their opponents. What resulted was Spurs letting slip a two-goal lead, costing Tottenham the title with both Chelsea fans and Leicester fans celebrating dubiously. Ouch.
- And that's not even going into the fact that their sheer brutality against Chelsea players in the game nearly started mass brawls at least three times - including one after the match ended!
- Whatever Chelsea did to win the 2016/17 season, it very evidently hasn't stuck to them. Their first match of the new 17/18 season saw them lose 2-3 in a match where both Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas were sent off, and were 3-0 down at Stamford Bridge by half-time with 10 men, with infighting/arguments being present and, supposedly, a lack of personnel compared to last season. Against Burnley. Granted, it's only on the first day of the season, and they have got back to form since, but it's still pretty surprising to see, especially considering they are the previous season's champions and did so brilliantly before. They would, however, go on to lose crucial title form in successive home games against Arsenal and Manchester City afterwards, and were the first side to concede goals to, let alone lose to, Crystal Palace, but remain competitive, although they also had a 4 game winless run, and required penalties to knock Norwich out of the cup, in the new year.
- In early 2014, West Ham, managed by Sam Allardyce, with Adrian in goal, conceded a halfway line goal from Wayne Rooney for David Moyes' Manchester United. 3 and a half years later, Rooney scored for Everton, with Allardyce about to be appointed their manager, against West Ham, managed by Moyes, with Adrian on the bench, in a near identical manner.
- Always Someone Better: Almost every side has a "bogey team" that they just can't beat. The most spectacular example? Portsmouth have not beaten Chelsea in any competition since 1960.
- Chelsea have never beaten Newcastle at St James' Park in a league game when José Mourinho, a candidate for best manager in football, was manager of the Blues. This was very pivotal in the 2014/15 campaign, as Newcastle defeated Chelsea 2-1 in St. James' Park to end what many Chelsea fans had hoped would be an unbeaten season. Mourinho also lost there as Manchester United boss against the odds in 2017-18.
- Crystal Palace had become this to Liverpool in recent years, ever since they pulled back three goals in ten minutes to force a draw with a Liverpool side then considered favourites for the title. As a result, Liverpool lost their nerve and their title challenge failed. Liverpool would go on on to lose their next three league matches against Palace until Jürgen Klopp finally snapped them out of it.
- Manchester City aren't very good at playing Liverpool in the Premier League, particularly at Anfield, where they have won twice since 1956 and not since 2003 - to this day, it remains the only Premier League stadium at which they have failed to win at even once since Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008, despite the many levels in badass they have taken since and a proven ability to batter Liverpool at the Etihad, such as the 5-0 win early on in the 2017/18 season. The latest league match in Anfield in January 2018 ended with Liverpool breaking Manchester City's 30 match unbeaten run, winning 4-3 - and that result was only given a degree of respectability after two late goals from City. Liverpool would go on to win both home and away when the two met in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final in April. They aren't always much better at playing them at home, either, as a 4-1 defeat in 2015/16 showed.
- City also seem to stumble against Wigan Athletic in recent years, most notably in the FA Cup, where they have lost three consecutive fixtures, including one that ended their hopes of winning the Quad in 2017/18.
- Tottenham Hotspur had never won a Premier League game at Stamford Bridge since 1990, and this had huge implications in 2015/16. On Matchday 36, they needed a win to stay in the title race against Leicester City. They were up 2-0 at halftime, until Gary Cahill scored in the 58th minute, and then Eden Hazard scored the equalizer in the 83rd. The game ended 2-2, and Leicester City won the title off Tottenham's draw. Finally broken as of the 2017/18 season thanks in part to a poor run of form for Chelsea, effectively knocking their rivals out of the running for the top four. Spurs would eventually earn that win, from behind, on April Fools' Day 2018, by a 3-1 score.
- Tottenham did not finish above arch-rivals Arsenal in the league from 1995 through 2016. Because it happened for so long, Arsenal fans coined this moment as St. Totteringham's Day, meaning that it is the day Arsenal earn enough points that mathematically they will finish above Tottenham in the standings. It looked like it would change in 2015/16, five points and a ton of goals ahead with three games to go, but then came the draw with Chelsea, losing from a goal up against Southampton, and then a final day 5-1 thrashing by Newcastle, having not conceded more than two goals in a match until then. Arsenal picked up two wins and a draw in their final three matches to pip Spurs to second by a point. They got their revenge next season, defeating Arsenal in their final North London Derby in White Hart Lane to clinch a finish above their rivals.
- Awesome, yet Impractical: Overly-offensive football. To be fair, offensive ball does work, as Arsenal demonstrated on more than one occasion during the height of their standing in the EPL. But however beautiful the goals scored, it's very difficult to consistently challenge for titles without a proper defense behind the attack, as Liverpool and Arsenal have found out in recent years.
- Big Damn Heroes: Every team has its tales of last minute heroics against the odds. However it's no coincidence that the most successful teams have players who seem to always score a goal Just in Time to salvage a result.
- Steven Gerrard made his career on this trope, having scored the goal against Olympiakos that kept them in the Champions League in 2005 and later in the season kickstarted their famous comeback against AC Milan in the Champions League Final and then scored the goal that took the FA Cup Final against West Ham to extra time (they eventually won on penalties) in 2006 - the latter has since become known as 'the Gerrard Final'. These are just three of the most notable instances - he did it all the time.
- With his club five points adrift at the bottom of the table, Leicester City's stalwart Andy King scored a 86th minute winner against West Ham to record the club's first win in nine games, triggering a run of seven wins in nine to secure survival. The following season City lost just three games on their way to winning the title, with King becoming the first player in the Premier League era to win the top three tiers of English football with the same club.
- Big Game: Matches between rivals, title contenders or a match that could either seal relegation or the title.
- The Big Guy: Each club has had at least one player who was considered a 'hard man', a physical player who had no shame in yelling at others or getting physical or getting plenty of red cards. This practice has been in decline with the controversy surrounding tough tackling lately but examples include:
- Wimbledon's Vinnie Jones is the best known example, who even released a video called Soccer's Hard Men which got him fined and banned by the FA for a while, and now plays tough characters in films. He also was booked after 3 seconds in one game and earned 12 red cards in his career. Perhaps best known for a photo of him, er, taking the measure◊ of poor Paul Gascoigne.
- Manchester United had Roy Keane and Nemanja Vidić. Nowadays, Marcos Rojo and Marouane Fellaini have gotten this reputation due to some two-footed challenges and ill-timed elbows, respectively.
- Arsenal had Martin Keown, and they currently have Granit Xhaka.
- Chelsea had Dennis Wise. More recently, Diego Costa (who is a striker) played this role.
- Everton had Duncan Ferguson.
- Liverpool had Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Martin Skrtel (who tended to outmatch the aforementioned Diego Costa), and recently, Emre Can and Virgil Van Dijk.
- Miguel Britos of Watford was lucky that he only got a red card for a truly horrific tackle v Brighton, and didn't hurt anyone.
- Austrian creative midfielder Marco Arnautovic (who has played for Stoke and West Ham), was sent off against the same side (Southampton), for different teams in successive seasons.
- Stoke City during the Pulis era was almost entirely composed of rough and tough bruisers, but the most notorious of the lot was Ryan Shawcross, who gained a nasty reputation after injuring Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey. That being said, he doesn't exactly lack in ability either, as he remained an integral part of the team even after Mark Hughes' arrival.
- Book-Ends: The first Premier League in the 1992-93 season was won by Manchester United and was their first under Sir Alex Ferguson, with Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce collecting the trophy together - Robson being club captain but missing a large portion of the season due to injury or younger players forcing him out of the team, and Bruce captaining the side in the games Robson didn't play. The 2012-13 season was again won by United, with Robson and Bruce bringing the trophy out for the current United side to collect in Ferguson's final championship win before his retirement at the end of the season.
- The unpredictable 2015/16 league season began with an own goal in Old Trafford in the kickoff match before everyone else began play. Following a two-day delay because of a suspicious package being found in the stadium (which was actually a training prop that looked like an IED for local law enforcement to find that they had forgotten to put away), the 2015/16 season ended with an own goal in the same goal at Old Trafford.
- Boring, but Practical: Overly defensive football ("bus-parking"). No one enjoys watching it except the team that wins (and even then, it divides many of the fans of said team). José Mourinho, twice manager at Chelsea and freshly sacked by Manchester United in 2018/19, often gets the most criticism for this, as his usual game plan is to sit back and wait for an opportunity to counter-attack. Nonetheless, his Chelsea team won the 2014/15 league by a wide margin with that strategy. It failed the following season, largely thanks to players under-performing. Needless to say, gloating ensued from just about every other team in the league.
- This same accusation was levelled at Louis van Gaal in the 2015/16 season, with the additional complaint that it has a tendency to go wrong.
- Break the Haughty: Pretty much everything that happened to José Mourinho in the first few months of the 2015-2016 season, culminating in him being sacked in December 2015 and his own players turning against him after his treatment of the popular (and attractive) team doctor Eva Carneiro.
- Ronald Koeman got massively hit with this in 2017, following the departure of Romelu Lukaku from Everton. Despite signing several new players, the team failed to gel and lost match after match. With several players being played out of position and the club's failure to replace Lukaku, the fans quickly turned on Koeman, and rumours of his arrogant behaviour and lack of involvement with the players, as well as his treatment of Ross Barkley and Oumar Niasse, both of whom he was supposed to have exiled, but neither did (and Niasse, who wasn't registered for European competition, became Everton's main goalscorer in the first third of the season), did not help. Everton plummeted down the league, and Koeman was sacked after a 5-2 loss to Arsenal.
- Bribe Backfire: Arsenal's George Graham, credited with returning them to glory in the late 80s, was discovered to have taken bribes to sign players; the fact those players didn't do well at all just makes it worse. He was fined and banned from the game for a year.
- Legendary Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar was found to have been involved with match-fixing scandals, that was rather messy too. Ironically he was actually declared to be innocent of the allegations in question, although the judge noted that this was due to the lack of any decisive proof that he was guilty. However, Grobbelaar then tried to sue several major tabloids for their reporting on the case — not only did he fail miserably in this, the tabloids in question proceeded to drag his name through the mud by digging up every little bit of dirt on him that they could, and utterly destroyed what little reputation he had left.
- Cheaters Never Prosper: Inverted, every year there will always be one player diving in the penalty area or a referee making a stupid decision. Cue the calls for video refereeing yet nothing is ever really done to change anything.
- However, it is difficult for cheaters to not prosper in the Premier League since all teams have cheated to some extent at some point.
- And in recent years, the Premier League now reviews red cards if they are appealed against, using video evidence, and enforces bans on players who should have been red carded during a match (and players can have their ban extended if the board decide that it was a frivolous appeal).
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Rare, but they happen, like Manchester United vs Ipswich (9-0) and Tottenham vs Wigan (9-1). In fact, Chelsea are starting to become accomplished curbstompers, with four of games either side of the 2010 summer break ending like this, against Stoke (7-0), Wigan (8-0), West Brom the following season (6-0), and Wigan again (6-0 again).
- On their way to winning the treble in 1999note , Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest 8-1. Four of those goals were scored in the last 10 minutes.
- Norwich City went into the last day of the 2004/05 season just outside the relegation zone and with their fate in their own hands. They got thumped 6-0 by Fulham and were relegated, due to other results going against them (see Didn't See That Coming).
- On August 28, 2011, the teams of Manchester achieved back to back curbstomps against Northern London sides, with Manchester City crushing Tottenham 5-1 and Manchester United embarrassing Arsenal in an 8-2 shitstomping.
- And when the two Manchester teams met on October 23rd, City hammered United 6-1.
- On December 23, 2012, Chelsea hammered Aston Villa 8-0... which set a new record as Aston Villa's heaviest ever loss.
- Manchester City, throughout the 2013/14 season. They beat Norwich 7-0, Tottenham 6-0, Fulham 5-0, Tottenham 5-1 again, Newcastle 4-0, Manchester United 4-1, and West Ham United 6-0 (Capital One Cup), with several matches left to play.
- 8 February 2014, Arsenal at Liverpool. Liverpool scored four times in the first 20 minutes, then later in the second half. Arsenal finally got a penalty at the 70th minute, but by then it was too little, too late. Final score, 5-1. Perhaps the date being 08/02 might have been the first clue that something bad was about to happen.
- Liverpool made this a habit in the 2013/2014 season, flattening Arsenal 5-1, Tottenham twice (4-0 at Anfield, 5-0 at White Hart Lane), Everton 4-0, Norwich 5-1 (though this one might as well have been Luis Suarez 4, Norwich 1) and Manchester United 3-0.
- Poor Arsenal, yet again. 22 March 2014, against Chelsea, in Arsène Wenger's 1000th game, thrashed 6-0. They went down to 10 men in the 18th minute (when it was already 2-0) after Kieran Gibbs was wrongly sent off in place of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after a blatant handball in the penalty area.note
- Liverpool were on the receiving end of this in the final game of the 2014/15 season (and the final game of Steven Gerrard's Liverpool career) from Stoke of all teams, being hammered 6-1, their worst defeat since 1963.
- They returned to handing these out in 2015/16 under Jürgen Klopp, crushing Chelsea 3-1, Manchester City 4-1, Southampton 6-1, Aston Villa 6-0 (on Valentine's Day - it was promptly dubbed 'the Valentine's Day Massacre'), Manchester City (again) 3-0 and Stoke 4-1 when over half the first team was being rested for a crucial Europa League second leg tie with Borussia Dortmund - which they promptly won 4-3, despite going 2-0 and 3-1 down. Then, they handed out a 4-0 thrashing to Everton in the Merseyside derby, a match mostly played in cruise control (by the 75th minute, Liverpool players were taking pot shots). However, they aren't immune to this themselves: in between the Southampton win and the Aston Villa win, they were themselves beaten 3-0 by Watford, largely thanks to a horror show by substitute goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.
- And they're still doing it in 16/17, with Stoke being thrashed 4-1 again, champions Leicester also being crushed 4-1, while Hull (5-1) and Watford (6-1) suffered the same fate.
- Then Liverpool were on the receiving end from a resurgent Leicester, getting thumped 3-1.
- On the final day of the 2015/16 season, there were two curbstompings with moderately massive implications on each other (both sides were assured of a top 3 place and definite CL footy the next season). Arsenal defeated Aston Villa 4-0 with Olivier Giroud netting a hat trick. Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur imploded against Newcastle, losing 5-1 (with three of those goals being scored after Newcastle went down to 10 men), ultimately allowing Arsenal to finish ahead of Spurs 71 points to 70.
- In the 2016/17 season, Arsenal (yet again) went down to Chelsea, 3-1 with one goal coming from a fluke lob into the net, another one where Hazard managed to score despite 7 players between him and the goal and the first one scored coming from a header. To add insult to injury, Arsène Wenger was still serving a 4-match ban for pushing a referee.
- The 2016/17 season saw Tottenham do this twice in back to back away matches: they thumped Leicester 6-1 and Hull 7-1 within the space of 72 hours.
- In 2017-18, Manchester United won both their first 2 games 4-0, the same scoreline by which Liverpool routed a very misshapen Arsenal side at the end of the month. Even Huddersfield got a curb stomp to their name, with the opening day hammering of Crystal Palace.
- In their next game after the win over Arsenal, and, after signing utility man Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, who played for the Gunners in that match 3 days earlier, they would be trashed 5-0 by Manchester City after Sadio Mane's red card for a high challenge on the keeper.
- City again. After the win over Liverpool, they won 6-0 away to a Watford side that didn't lose any of the other 7 of their first 8 games, won 5-0 v a Crystal palace side that struggled badly, and 7-2 v Stoke, which was only 3-2 at one stage.
- In early 2019, Chelsea were thumped 4-0 by a Bournemouth team who had only won two of their previous 13 league matches. This was followed by a 6-0 thumping by Manchester City in their next away game.
- Deadpan Snarker: By getting Blackpool promoted into the Premier League, Ian Holloway can be added here.
- José Mourinho surely counts here as well.
- As does Sir Alex Ferguson, to an extent. Not as much as the other two, mind you.
- Defiant to the End: Any team that wins their last game in the EPL at the end of a relegation-suffering season. Special mention goes to 2015/16 Newcastle United, who went down thrashing Tottenham Hotspur 5-1, allowing Arsenal to pip them for second.
- Determinator: Whether you like him or not, you cannot deny that John Terry does not give up under any circumstances. Case in point, a moment from the World Cup.
- Manchester United's Roy Keane.
- Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, a man renowned for not giving up even when it is patently obvious that he can barely walk.
- Ditto Liverpool's centre-back of the same era, Jamie Carragher.
- Didn't See That Coming: Christmas 2015 featured a number of surprises around English football, such as Chelsea's worst start to a title defence in Division One history (15th), Manchester United out of the Champions League and into the Europa League, and of all teams, Leicester City top of the table on the back of Jamie Vardy's goal-per-game streak and Riyad Mahrez's brilliant play, bearing in mind they only narrowly escaped relegation the year before. Leicester went on to win the title.
- West Bromwich Albion were bottom on Christmas Day 2004 and, at the time, nobody bottom on that day had avoided relegation from the Premier League and were bottom at kick-off on the final day. They won their last game 2-0 and, due to other results going in their favour, jumped out of the relegation zone.
- The 2015/16 season has been generally agreed to be one of the most unpredictable in recent memory.
- No one saw Liverpool's title challenge in 2013/14 coming either.
- Their 2016/17 challenge wasn't expected either. The January collapse, on the other hand, kind of was.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Sir Alex Ferguson, whose habit of shouting at players from a range of inches has earned the nickname "the hairdryer treatment".
- The reaction to a number of players with the arrival of Paolo di Canio to Sunderland.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Since arriving in the Premier League in 2011, Manchester City striker Sergio Agüero has scored 143 goals in 206 games, including his dramatic last-minute strike against QPR in 2012 to clinch the title. Only Newcastle legend Alan Shearer can boast of reaching that milestone faster. Agüero also boasts a staggering minutes-to-goals ratio of 110, the next best being of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, whose ratio was 122, meaning that he would find the back of the net every 110 minutes. Despite all of this, Agüero has never been named the PFA Player of the Year, or the Premier League Player of the Season. He also has shockingly never been named in the PFA Team of the Year.
- However, the 2017/18 season saw Agüero finally get named in the PFA Team of the Year.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Most teams have at least one unusual cult hero, a player who isn't necessarily a star, but is dedicated to the team and/or produces a moment of magic that earns the undying love of the fans.
- Definitely Steffen Freund during his time playing for Spurs. While his stats were nothing to write home about, Freund's dedication to the club and work ethic won over fans. To this day, you'll hear Spurs fans chanting "I love Steffen Freund, Steffen Freund loves me..."
- Ole Gunnar Solksjær is beloved by Manchester United fans, years after his retirement until the 201819 season, it was mostly because of his heroics in the 1999 Champions League final. Then came his hiring as caretaker manager after the sacking of José Mourinho. Which has so far been a major success, enough so that United bought Solksjær out of his Norwegian managerial contract and removed the caretaker tag.
- Speaking of United, Park Ji-Sung was loved by Red Devils fans due to his boundless energy and high workrate (hence his nickname "Three Lung Park"). The fact that he was Korean also meant that he was, more often than not, the favorite player of some Asian Man United fans; some speculate that he might be the reason why Manchester United have such a huge fanbase in Asia.
- Teenage striker Marcus Rashford is quickly becoming this for Man United, especially since he's a homegrown talent. It helps that he's scored against bitter rivals such as Man City and Arsenal.
- After Man United beat eventual champions Chelsea in 2017, Ander Herrera earned Memetic Badass status among the Red Devils due to his masterful man-marking of Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard.
- For a time, Jack Wilshere, formerly for Arsenal, now for West Ham. Many English fans especially loved to keep an eye on him, as he is developing into a centerpiece for the English national team. Arsenal fans see that in particular due to his loyalty, though he has been loaned out twice and often injured. However, he saw somewhat sporadic starting playing time, usually coming on as a sub, before finally being let go by new manager Unai Emery and heading across London to West Ham. But he is known for some very spectacular goals for club and country (last clip, start at 0:36).
- James Milner is generally popular among his fellow players and widely beloved by fans and managers of every team he plays for (even after he's left), because he's an honest, hardworking and moderately talented player who will play wherever the team needs him, chip in with a decent amounts of goals and assists and never, ever complain. He is also one of the few players who is pretty much entirely free of controversy. It probably helps that his resultant reputation for being fairly dull has undergone Memetic Mutation via the hugely popular 'Boring James Milner' spoof Twitter account. Milner is aware of it and apparently thinks that it's Actually Pretty Funny.
- Mamadou Sakho has achieved this status among Liverpool fans despite mixed performances (some weeks, he looks like the best central defender on the planet, others he looks like the worst), thanks to his entertainingly unorthodox, apparently ungainly , yet astonishingly effective style of defending that shouldn't work yet, somehow does, something that bamboozles even seasoned ex-pros, his clear love for the team and willingness to give his all, his active involvement in local charity work and being frankly Adorkable. It helps that the top performances were reserved for the big games and he's becoming more consistent, but that's not the real reason.
- His being sent home from a training camp in America for indiscipline, followed by an ill-judged late night social media outburst, resulted in his being exiled from the first team by Jürgen Klopp - fan reaction has largely been sympathetic, but the general vibe has been to take Klopp's side. Eventually, he was firmly moved on, and while he is remembered fondly, it is generally considered to be the right decision.
- Lucas Leiva, also formerly of Liverpool, has steadily achieved this status. Despite being possibly the least technically skilled Brazilian footballer ever to ply his trade, and something of a positional oddity, steadily moving back down the pitch from attacking midfield to central midfield, to defensive midfield, and finally to defensive midfield/auxiliary centre-back (even though he's only 5'8", he's surprisingly good in the air), going seven years without scoring, and a horrendous injury to his Anterior Cruciate Ligament that robbed him of his never abundant pace and ensured he was never the same again (before, he was in the prime of his career and among the best defensive midfielders in Europe. After, he became a footballing punchline). However, he remains beloved by Liverpool fans for his never say die attitude and tough tackling style (even if it means that he's usually a yellow card waiting to happen), his decade of loyal and uncomplaining service through times both good and bad, giving them the best years of his career, and for the fact that he has the sort of palpable passion for the club that's usually only seen in local Scouse boys like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher (and a hilarious hybrid Scouse-Brazilian accent when speaking English).
- Andy King is a minor example for Leicester fans, as he stuck with the team through a one-year stint in the third tier, leading them through 2 promotions, all the way to a title triumph in 2016.
- Epic Fail:
- Massimo Taibi's entire Manchester United career; he played in three Premier League matches. The first was a victory over Liverpool where he was named the man of the match. However, his second featured an incident where he allowed a shot by Matt Le Tissier to squeeze through his legs, allowing Southampton to snatch a 1-1 draw. The third and final match was a 5-0 defeat by Chelsea, which still stands as United's worst-ever Premier League result — and bear in mind that this was during the 1999-2000 season, in which they won the Premier League by what remains the biggest margin in English football history. Taibi never played again for United after the Chelsea match.
- Derby County's 2007/08 season, in which they earned a grand total of one win and 11 points from 38 games. Sunderland had two seasons that were almost as bad, getting just 19 points in the 2002/03 season and then somehow doing even worse in the 2005/06 season and getting 15 points. (Portsmouth also finished on 19 points in the 2009/10 season, but their record looked worse than it actually was due to a points deduction for their financial problems.)
- Aston Villa's 2015/16 season is probably up there with these. On April 16, they were officially relegated to the Championship for the first time in thirty-odd years. At the time, they were hard-welded to the bottom of the table on 16 points, with only three wins all season, and finished on 17... which was 17 points adrift of next-to-bottom Norwich City.
- Paolo Di Canio's tenure in charge of Sunderland looks like it became this, sacked after less than 6 months in charge. The day he was appointed the vice chairman (former Labour MP David Miliband) resigned due to Di Canio's alleged fascist sympathies. A famous win over local rivals Newcastle seemed to help, but Sunderland then failed to win their remaining games and narrowly avoided relegation. Rumours of numerous fallings-out with high profile players resulted in several being sold. Despite many replacements being brought in, the team didn't appear to gel or get along with him at all, they didn't win any of their first 5 games, he was fined for complaining about the officials after losing to Arsenal, and received abuse from fans. Players have allegedly revolted, the team are bottom with just one point. Makes you wonder why they even bought him in to begin with? It got better though, see Miracle Rally.
- Newcastle's fortunes after Pardew left for Palace. Loss after loss after loss, right up to the final day. They only managed to escape relegation by defeating West Ham on their own ground in the final game, though they needn't have worried, as Hull City failed to capitalize against Manchester United and went down in their place. It continued into the next season, with Newcastle never leaving the relegation zone, finally going down in early May.
- Roberto Martinez' tenure as Everton manager ended with one of these, a 4-0 derby defeat against fierce local rivals Liverpool - and this despite the fact that Liverpool's leading scorer had gone off injured (to be fair, the Everton player who injured him was sent off). It got so bad that with 20 minutes to go, Liverpool were comfortably camped outside the Everton box, passing the ball around with the sole intention of trying to get cult hero Lucas Leiva, who'd been with the club for nearly a decade and whose goal tally could be counted on both hands, to score. This was a tactic so ridiculous that the Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, was caught on TV laughing. Needless to say, this led to Martinez being sacked.
- Huddersfield Town's 2018-19 season: Having surprised everybody by not being immediately relegated (after being promoted via the play-offs, having won both rounds on a penalty shoot-out), they suffered massive second season syndromenote ; they didn't win a game until November (against fellow strugglers Fulham - see below for more on that), scoring just twelve goals in five months. A change in manager failed to effect any change in their fortunes, having scored just six goals in 2019 in a period where they won just four points in twelve games, which included throwing away a two-goal lead at West Ham to lose 4-3. They became only the second club to be relegated in March (following Derby's hapless campaign in 2007/08) and only the third team to be relegated with five games left (alongside Derby; Ipswich were also relegated with five games left, but they had played more games than the other two).
- Fulham, also in the 2018-19 season: Having spent an amazing £108 million during the close season, Fulham were clearly planning to stay in the Premier League. They would embark on a nine-game winless run, leaking goals by the boatful. Slavisa Jokanovic was sacked during that run and was replaced by Claudio Ranieri, who was himself sacked in February 2019 after a run of eight defeats in nine games, again leaking goals left, right and centre. As the season rolled into April, Fulham had conceded 72 goals and were relegated three days after Huddersfield following another thumping defeat, this time a 4-1 thumping at Watford. This took their total goals against to 76 - more goals than anybody other than Manchester City had scored.
- Every Year They Fizzle Out: The clubs that try to break into the top four each year, namely Manchester City and Tottenham, as well as Aston Villa. Liverpool could also be counted since every year could be the year they finally return to the pinnacle of League Football since 1990 but sadly never succeed.
- Averted in the 2009/10 season as in a close fought battle for 4th place between Tottenham, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Liverpool it was Tottenham who finished 4th. Liverpool slumped down to 7th thanks to poor form.
- Every single year the Liverpool fans seem to mark it as being "our year". They are, to this date, always wrong, though not without having come close to it in 2002, 2009 and 2014.
- While "every year" would be an exaggeration, Everton fans have done the same; 2013 was a particularly painful example, after a fantastic season they suffered several epic curbstompings from lesser renowned teams. 2017-18, after big spending following European qualification, was another such season, as Everton suffered some bad, and sometimes cruel, thrashings in the League (both games v Arsenal and Spurs, and v lowly Atalanta in the Europa League, away v Manchester United, Southampton and at home v Manchester City). Like with 2014-15, Everton avoided defeat in a league Merseyside Derby, with an equaliser for a 1-1 at Anfield, and a tedious 0-0 at Goodison.
- Arsenal have been stuck in this since the 05/06 season, they usually start brightly or make a challenge for the title only for something to happen such as Eduardo's broken leg or the 2011 League Cup defeat which takes the wind out of their sails and causes them to collapse. This is not helped by Wenger himself, who has constantly touted the squad as having great mental strength, blaming everyone but the players when things go wrong, refusing to invest in experienced players to assist what is arguably a talented young side and lately claiming that that finishing in 2nd place for the next 20 years is akin to winning titles. Although it is true that dozens of other clubs would love to be in their position, the constant squandering of great opportunities and an arrogant manager has caused several Arsenal fans to demand his sacking or at least admit that he needs to change.
- Funnily enough, inverted in the 2012/13 season. After a rough start (3 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses in their first ten league games, with most of the draws and losses being to teams they should have beaten handily) and a shaky mid-to-late season, Arsenal found themselves four points behind Tottenham for the fourth Champions League spot. They played Tottenham at White Hart Lane, and lost, widening the gap to seven points. Following that match, and following a victory against Bayern Munich in the Champions League Quarter Finals (they lost on aggregate), Arsenal came roaring back to go 7W-2D-0L in their last nine League games, beating out Tottenham and almost beating out Chelsea for third place as well.
- Seemingly brought to a head in the 2016/17 season. After dropping Premier League Kickoff Day at home to Liverpool, Arsenal went on an unbeaten run in all competitions that lasted until December, seeing them in second behind Chelsea on goal differential and top of their group in the Champions League. They were drawn against Bayern Munich and suddenly suffered a monumental collapse that saw them drop out of the Top 4 (they finished 5th), get completely embarrassed by Bayern Munich 5-1 in both fixtures, after Laurent Koscielny was forced off early in the second half with Arsenal in a good position (injured at 1-1 in Munich, controversially sent off at 1-0 at home), and managed to finish outside of the Champions League and behind rivals Tottenham Hotspur for the first time in 22 years, the "Wenger Out" campaign got enough exposure to become a meme, the official fan channel Arsenal Fan TV became a global laughingstock, and ongoing speculation as to how many of the club's faces will simply walk out (including Arsène Wenger himself). Arsenal's place below Spurs was confirmed with 5 games to go, despite this being their sole failure to win in their last 8 games, and those final 5 games saw uncharacteristically convincing performances at home to Man U and at traditional Bogey Grounds St Marys and Stoke City stadium. However, Liverpool and Manchester City had strong endings themselves to confirm Arsenal as missing out on the CL. Despite this, they won the FA Cup with non league sides Sutton and Lincoln in the last 16 and last 8 respectively, after a late win over Preston was followed by a Curb-Stomp Battle over Southampton, before brilliant displays to beat Manchester City in the semi final and Chelsea in the final.
- Executive Meddling:
- As mentioned under Cardiff City, the Vincent Tan era has been nothing but this. It essentially got them relegated as well; Malky Mackay appeared to be keeping them out of relegation, until Tan decided to sack him. Cardiff wound up imploding, finishing dead last. The only consolation was conceding less goals than Fulham!
- Newcastle United are also a victim of this. This is largely due to their owner, Mike Ashley, running the club like his business Sports Direct, meaning only cheap (and mostly unqualified) players will come in while successful players get sold. This, along with Crystal Palace's early struggles, led to Alan Pardew walking out on the Magpies in the 2014/2015 campaign and the club's relegation one season later.
- He even tried to rename the stadium, St James' Park, 'The Sports Direct Arena'. While it was officially called that until a new sponsor took over and decided to restore the ground's historic name, even the BBC long since stopped caring and kept referring to it, as everyone else had, as St James' Park.
- Football Hooligans: Mostly averted, thanks to FA, FIFA, and UK laws and regulations, though there are a few times where fans lose the plot.
- Crystal Palace fans graffiti-ed a bus they thought was the opponents', but turned out to be their own. Funnily enough, general consensus is that it actually made the bus look better.
- Arsenal fans got into altercations with each other after the Wenger In/Out! camps saw animosity grow exponentially in the 2016/17 season.
- After a number of arson and bomb threats were issued against the establishment, several Tottenham fans were suspected of arson against a small sheet-metal firm because the owners wouldn't sell, and it was the last spot of land Tottenham needed to purchase their new stadium. It doesn't help that said firm's owners were purportedly Arsenal supporters.
- Tottenham fans also had altercations with each other following their 2017 FA Cup Semifinal defeat to Chelsea at Wembley.
- For Want of a Nail: Bolton winger Chung-Yong Lee's season-ending injury in the 2011-12 preseason, along with other injuries to the squad including Stuart Holden and Fabrice Muamba, apparently led to Bolton being relegated, Manchester City winning the 2011-12 title at the last second, and Queens Park Rangers avoiding relegation and signing Ji-Sung Park in the off-season.
- Friendly Enemy: Averted while they were both managers, Sir Alex Fergusson and Arsène Wenger were bitter rivals, who had little nice to say about each other, but played straight after Fergie's retirement, where they have gotten onto fantastic terms since, and Fergie even had a message praising Wenger and his achievements in time for Wenger's 1000th game. At his final appearance at Old Trafford, Fergie presented Wenger with a commemorative gift, ad in his final address to the Emirates after his last hime game, Wenger's first words were wishing Fergie well after his illness.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Leicester City in the 201516 season. Under Claudio Ranieri, they went from borderline relegation candidates to champions, to the surprise of pretty much everyone.
- To a lesser extent, Dmitri Payet in 2015/16. Came out of nowhere to become the most feared dead ball specialist in the league with laser-guided free kicks for West Ham. Then, after an equally impressive run in the Euros that summer, he quickly vanished into indifferent form and obscurity...again like Leicester.
- Since than, Payet's feet were so nimble that he injured an opposing keeper by rounding him in such a skilful manner to score for Marseille.
- To a lesser extent, Dmitri Payet in 2015/16. Came out of nowhere to become the most feared dead ball specialist in the league with laser-guided free kicks for West Ham. Then, after an equally impressive run in the Euros that summer, he quickly vanished into indifferent form and obscurity...again like Leicester.
- George Jetson Job Security: Sadly, this is the case with most Premier League clubs aside from Arsenal and Manchester United, who to date have respectively had just three and four managers since the formation of the Premier League. Chelsea in particular burned their way through seven managers in five-and-a-half years between José Mourinho's two spells at the club.
- To give you an idea: After the final round of matches in the 2017/18 season, Arsène Wenger stood down as Arsenal manager having been there since October 1996. Eddie Howe - Bournemouth's manager - replaced him as the longest-serving manager, having started his second spell as manager in October 2012 (and became a Premier League manager in August 2015). The longest current managerial reign in the Premier League is Mauricio Pochettino, who started at Southampton in January 2013, before moving to Tottenham in May 2014.
- Watford appear to have personified this trope to the extreme as of late, changing managers every year since they got promoted to the Prem in 2015. After promotion, they kicked promotion-winning manager Slavisa Jokanovic to the curb and brought in Quique Sanchez Flores. While Quique led The Hornets to a comfortable mid-table position in the 2015/16 season, he wasn't able to escape the sack in 2016 as the ambitious Watford owners replaced him with Walter Mazzari. And after the 2016/17 season ended in a disastrous 17th-place finish, Mazzari himself was canned and Marco Silva was appointed Watford manager. Watford had one of their best starts to a season, but this meant that Silva was in demand, with Everton making overtures for him, though Watford lost a 2-0 lead to lose to the Toffees a short time after the Hornets rejected their multi-million pound approach. They won their next 2 games, but than won only 1 in the following 11, and he was abruptly sacked, replaced by Javi Gracia, a manager of mid table Spanish and Russian sides.
- Recently taken even further beyond extreme in regards to Crystal Palace and Frank de Boer, the latter of which only lasting four games at the club, with four losses and no goals scored in that time period.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: All of the top Premier League clubs have worldwide fans and followings, but a particular one of note is Manchester United, who have a massive fanbase in Southeast Asia.
- Those relatively few Americans who watch the game are mostly split between Arsenal and Liverpool (though there are also sizeable Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United followings). Liverpool because they're American owned (by the same people who own the Red Sox, funnily enough), and the team everyone knows who isn't Manchester United. Arsenal for... some reason no one's really sure about. (Well, actually, they're American-owned too.) For that matter, Manchester United is American-owned as well.
- Glass Cannon: Andy Carroll and Daniel Sturridge spring to mind: both lethal under the right circumstances, but liable to sustain multiple fractures from a stiff breeze.
- Grumpy Old Man: The managers usually; Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger spring to mind.
- He's Back:
Commentator: He may be cast in bronze, but he's still capable of producing truly golden moments!
- Any team who wins promotion back to the league after previously being relegated.
- This also applies to any players coming back after long spells of injury or suspension. The most high profile may be Eric Cantona, who was suspended from football for eight months, with his return to the Manchester United squad actually being hyped up in the press as if it was an event.
- Kenny Dalglish returned to the Liverpool manager's chair in January 2011, almost exactly twenty years after he left it. Unfortunately the following season ended up being Liverpool's worst-ever Premier League season, and his second spell was cut short in May 2012. However, it was generally intended for him just to take a caretaker role and he did manage to win Liverpool's first trophy in most of a decade, the League Cup.
- Paul Scholes retired from the Manchester United team at the end of the 2010/11 season, taking a coaching job at the club. However, with United scuffling thanks to a rash of injuries in the midfield, Scholes was coaxed out of retirement to anchor the center again, and the Ginger Ninja didn't miss a step. Although Man City took the 2012 crown, United took the title the following year, with improbable long-running vets Scholes (in his final season) and Ryan Giggs still showing they could keep up with players nearly half their age.
- Thierry Henry also returned briefly to Arsenal to maintain match fitness ahead of the new MLS season, while coming on as a substitute in all of his appearances he still scored three times, showing he had lost none of the class he had during his first spell. Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann had also returned briefly in prior seasons to some acclaim.
- The reaction when former long-serving members of the league Norwich and Southampton came back up after 6- and 7-year exoduses respectively.
- José Mourinho returning as Chelsea manager. And, after his second sacking from Chelsea, returning to the league at Manchester United.
- Lukas Podolski for Arsenal and Theo Walcott went out early in the 2013/14 season to injury. Walcott was handed his first start since his injury against West Ham United on Boxing Day, and Podolski was subbed in about halfway through the second half. Arsenal were down 1-0 68 minutes in, and then Walcott put in a goal to tie it up, then another one to take the lead. Then Podolski scored to seal the comeback victory for Arsenal.
- Liverpool spent several seasons outside the Champions League places, but during the 2013-14 season, they handed out curbstompings like sweets at Halloween, brutally crushing rivals Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur with stylish attacking football spearheaded by 'the SAS' (Suárez and Sturridge) in an ultimately doomed attempt to claim the title, finishing in second place. Suárez left and Sturridge was largely injured, and the resultant collapse the following season left them in 6th place.
- They pulled this off again in the 2015/16 season following the appointment of charismatic and instantly beloved German Jürgen Klopp, who restored Liverpool's swagger, taking them to a League Cup final against Manchester City which they took to penalties before losing, reaching the Europa League Semi-Finals, steam-rollering rivals Manchester United and beating competition favourites Borussia Dortmund in a thrilling Miracle Rally along the way, and returning to handing out thrashings like sweets at Halloween, with 4-1 and 3-0 victories over Manchester City, a 3-1 victory over Chelsea, a 6-1 victory over Southampton, a 6-0 victory over Aston Villa, a 4-1 demolition of Stoke City (done with what amounted to the reserve team) and a 4-0 derby victory over Everton, most of which was played in second gear - it reached the point where defensive midfield/centre-back Lucas was taking potshots with 15 minutes to go. This run of form meant that they mounted an unlikely challenge for the top 4, ending up falling just short of the Europa League.
- 2016/17 has so far cemented that status, with Liverpool being the early season pace setters and were in second place behind Antonio Conte's all-conquering Chelsea side, despite a squad that - on the face of it - isn't half as good as those of the teams around them. Though they've since fallen away, they're still very much in the mixer for the top four.
- Twelve years after being dumped out of the Premier League by Chelsea's new owner Roman Abramovich, Claudio Ranieri returned to England as manager of Leicester City and was widely expected to be sacked within weeks or relegated. Neither of those things happened.
- Wayne Rooney scored for Everton against Stoke on the opening day of the 2017-18 season, his first league game for the club in 13 years, after his sometimes acrimonious, but incredibly successful association with Manchester United.
- Bournemouth bought back Jermain Defoe, Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake, all of whom have had loan spells with the Cherries in the past, in 2017. In Defoe's case, it was 16 years after he had a record breaking loan for them.
- Liverpool players have been having a tendency to do that in 2018/19, having been hampered by injuries in earlier seasons and on the verge of transferring out. Daniel Sturridge, who had been hampered by injury after injury since 2014/15 and even had a failed loan spell at West Brom in the second half of 2017/18 (who were relegated at the end of the season), scored two goals in his first 25 minutes of playing, and contributed heavily to keeping Liverpool's early season momentum alive, including a late equaliser at Chelsea that salvaged Liverpool's unbeaten run. Divock Origi was never quite the same after a nasty ankle injury sustained against Everton in 2015/16, and spent the entire 2017/18 season on loan at Wolfsburg, but wrote his name in the Merseyside derby history books after scoring a 96th minute winner against them, which also allowed Liverpool to keep pressure on title rivals Manchester City. Nathaniel Clyne fell out of favour after sustaining a back injury in July 2017, but an injury to his replacement Trent Alexander-Arnold got him only his fourth start since then against Manchester United, no less and he performed brilliantly as if he'd been playing regularly, even almost getting a goal.
- Humiliation Conga: José Mourinho has been going through this for the last few seasons, and it shows no signs of stopping just yet.
- It started with a 3-3 away-goals-defeat in the UEFA Champions League to Paris Saint-Germain when PSG were down to ten men, knocking them out. They won the league that season handily, though they promptly lost the Community Shield to rivals Arsenal (FA Cup winners). Things went from bad to worse when they started off with the worst title defense in EPL history, culminating in him being sacked.
- He was picked up by Manchester United not long after to replace Louis van Gaal, where he showed signs of bringing back the swagger of the Fergie days by signing Zlatan Ibrahimović on a free transfer and Paul Pogba for almost 90m pounds, and in a move that enraged Man U supporters, pretty much banished Bastian Schweinsteiger from both the first team and reserves (he would end up in MLS). Neither Zlatan nor Pogba (under Mourinho) lived up to his billing, to the general derision of every other rival team. Zlatan ended up following Schweini to MLS, where he had a Career Resurrection. For a time, Mourinho had the last laugh. Although United finished sixth, below their normally lofty expectations, they won the Europa League, securing a Champions League group place by doing so. Then came 201819, when United got off to a poor start by their normally lofty standards, with Mourinho widely blamed thanks to a bus-parking playing style, poor transfer decisions, and conflicts with players (most notably Pogba) and management. The Special One was shown the door in December with his professional reputation in ruins. Pogba finally began living up to expectations once Ole Gunnar Solskjær took over.
- Incompetence, Inc.: Sadly common among some lower-to-mid-table clubs:
- The aforementioned financial meltdown Leeds United had in the mid-2000s, fuelled by both an unfulfilled expansion of Elland Road and an average payroll increase of 175% in the 5 years before they went bust, exacerbated by their chairman Peter Ridsdale taking out loans collateralized with Champions League money. And then...
- Bradford's "six weeks of madness" where they signed 3 guys to guaranteed wages of 40k/week...when their gate receipts couldn't supplement the wage bill!
- Blackburn Rovers from November 2011 until the present, when they were purchased by Indian poultry outfit Venky's.
- Portsmouth's collapse - from being owned (and possibly used as a money-laundering outfit) by Russian oligarch Alexandre Gaydamak, to being jerked around by Middle Eastern hucksters.
- Sheffield United's board in 2006-07 solely blamed the Carlos Tévez "scandal" for sending them down, despite not spending a penny on the squad and actually strip-mining the squad for cash.
- Southampton in the early 2000s - their chairman knew nothing about football, and in fact preferred rugby, which would be why he hired Sir Clive Woodward as first Performance Director, then Director of Football. While Sir Clive was a fantastic rugby coach, he wasn't so good at football and Southampton paid the price.
- Oh god, Queens Park Rangers from the 2012/2013 season onwards. Despite being owned by successful airline mogul Tony Fernandes, the club blew most of its money on players who were either on the verge of retirement or were just playing for the money. While QPR came back immediately after being relegated, the club continued to buy old or apathetic players instead of investing in youth. After being relegated again in the 2014/2015 season, the club's professional status as well as plans to build a new stadium and training facility are in jeopardy due to losses exceeding £60 million (and a debt reaching as high as £177 million).
- Liverpool is one of the more dramatic examples, simply because they're one of the twenty richest football clubs on the planet and as a result, one of the richest sports franchises full stop (number 41, in fact). Under Hicks and Gillett, however, they were nearly plunged in bankruptcy and had to be pried away from those in charge by court order, before being sold off to the much more competent (and, it has to be said, much more popular) Fenway Sports Group, run by John W. Henry.
- Kingmaker Scenario: The second Manchester Derby of the 2018/19 season. With Manchester City and Liverpool, both of which being United's biggest rivals, being guaranteed to finish first and second, and with only two points separating them and City having this game as a game in hand, United found themselves in a unique position. Were they to win or draw, hated rivals Liverpool would likely win the league.for the first time in thirty years. Were they to lose the game, City would likely win the league and United would be all-but-eliminated from contention for the Top 4. Jurgen Klopp even called United into question in the run-up to the game, questioning whether or not they would even try to make a game of it against City, or whether they'd roll over and let City walk all over them to deny Liverpool the league.
- Licensed Game: The popularity of football in Europe means there are several video games, most notably Football Manager and the FIFA games. Of course not all games have permission to use likenesses or logos, but you can still play the leagues.
- Miracle Rally: Teams have been known to overturn two-goal deficits to grab draws or even victories. Manchester United overturned a three-goal deficit to win 5-3 against Tottenham in 2001, and in February 2011, Newcastle pulled back from four goals down with thirty minutes to go, to draw 4-4 against Arsenal. One week after the result at St James' Park, West Ham came back from 3 down against West Bromwich Albion. At the end of the season in question, West Brom came from 3 down to draw with Newcastle.
- Arsenal beating Chelsea 5-3 at Stamford Bridge counts. Losing at half time 2-1 they scored twice early on in the second half to make it 3-2. Only for Chelsea to equalize thanks to a stunning Mata goal with 10 minutes to go. Only for van Persie to pop up to score twice inside 5 minutes to result in a second miracle rally! Considering most people had written Arsenal off due to a weakened team and after that 8-2 defeat to Man Utd, it was a sign that they had managed to develop a side capable of pushing for a top spot in the table. Highlights included that Mata goal, Terry falling over and gifting van Persie his second and Walcott falling over surrounded by 4 Chelsea players, then getting up and running through them to score.
- Chelsea lost a 3-goal lead home to Manchester United in a 3-3 draw in February 2012, aided by David de Gea's save preserving Man U's rally.
- Wolves 4-3 Leicester in 2003-04, and Leicester - with 10 men - rallying from 3-1 down to draw 4-4 at a Spurs side who lost a 3-0 lead to 10-man Manchester City in that season's FA Cup. The season ended with Wolves and Leicester down and Spurs were at 14th.
- Liverpool lost a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace in 2013-14, which all but ended their title challenge and left them with enduring psychological trauma that turned Crystal Palace into their 'bogey team' for a while.
- In 2015/16, Liverpool went 3-1 down to Norwich City and looked to be on the receiving end of an embarrassing defeat. Then, they rallied to 3-3, before scoring to make it 4-3. Then, Norwich looked to have snatched the win from them with a last minute goal to make it 4-4. Then, Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana scored at the very last second to seal a 5-4 win. Cue a massive group hug, with manager Jürgen Klopp at the heart of it - his glasses got broken in the process, but no one cared.
- See Who Needs Overtime?.
- Any team in a relegation battle and in one of the relegation spots sometimes does this to survive. In particular, to do so having been bottom during Christmas is said to be breaking the 'Curse of Christmas'. West Brom were the first Premier League team to do so in 2005, and also remain the only team to do so having also been bottom going into the final day.
- Sunderland in 2013/14 were bottom, 7 points from safety with 6 games to go. Gus Poyet commented that he needed a miracle in order to survive. Well, there then followed a 2-2 draw with Man City, and then wins against Man Utd and Chelsea (at Stamford Bridge!). End result, 13 points scored in those 6 games! As a result, Sunderland stayed up, becoming only the second club to survive the curse. Fittingly, the last team that lost against them during this streak was West Brom. Poyet later remarked that he had "found his miracle."
- In the 2014/15 season, Leicester City began the month of April 2015 with 19 points from 29 games, and 7 points away from safety. They won 7 and drew 1 of their remaining 9 games, roaring back to take 14th in the table and ensure survival for the next season; prior to this no team with fewer than 20 points after 29 games survived (West Brom had 21 and Sunderland had 25 during their escapes). They followed up by hiring Claudio Ranieri and proceeding to win the 2015/16 title ahead of traditional powers Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United. This is demonstrated by a strange statistic: Leicester City are the first team in the Premier League era to be bottom of the table one Christmas, and top of it the next.
- Arsenal beating Chelsea 5-3 at Stamford Bridge counts. Losing at half time 2-1 they scored twice early on in the second half to make it 3-2. Only for Chelsea to equalize thanks to a stunning Mata goal with 10 minutes to go. Only for van Persie to pop up to score twice inside 5 minutes to result in a second miracle rally! Considering most people had written Arsenal off due to a weakened team and after that 8-2 defeat to Man Utd, it was a sign that they had managed to develop a side capable of pushing for a top spot in the table. Highlights included that Mata goal, Terry falling over and gifting van Persie his second and Walcott falling over surrounded by 4 Chelsea players, then getting up and running through them to score.
- Manchester United, down 2-0 at halftime, came roaring back in the second half to defeat Manchester City 3-2 in 2018, denying City the pleasure of winning the league against their rivals.
- Money, Dear Boy: Of the many, many examples, arguably the most infamous was Winston Bogarde. In the summer of 2000 he was signed by Chelsea on a 4-year contract worth £40k a week. He spent 3 1/2 of those four years doing absolutely nothing, playing no games at all and being successively demoted down the ranks as the club tried to force him to leave — they couldn't sack him because then they'd have to pay the rest of his contract as compensation anyway, and they couldn't transfer list him because no club in their right mind would buy him. Bogarde defiantly stayed and saw out the full length of his contract while being quite open about the fact that he was only doing so for the money. In total he earned around £8 million, and played just nine Premier League games. Once his contract ran out, he promptly retired.
- Never My Fault: José Mourinho, full stop. Brought to light at the beginning of the 2015/16 campaign, the first two games of which saw Chelsea earn a single point of a possible six. After the first game, in which Chelsea drew Swansea 2-2, Mourinho criticized team physio Eva Carneiro and banned her from the bench for going out to assist Eden Hazard, whom it appeared had been injured, and thus wasting precious time to get a game-winner (in short, he criticized her for doing her job). After the second game, in which Manchester City went to town on Chelsea, he placed all the blame on John Terry (though this isn't completely baseless, since Terry'd had a nightmare game). Culminated in his sacking in December, though he ended up at Manchester United to start it all over.
- The Noodle Incident: Literally. Go ahead and mention lasagne to a Spurs fan.
- One-Man Army: Regularly features players who can tear apart entire teams on their own. Examples include:
- Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, for Arsenal.
- Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres, Luis Suárez and most recently, Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, and Mohammed Salah for Liverpool.
- Wayne Rooney first for Everton, then for Manchester United.
- Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard for Chelsea. In 2014/15, Cesc Fàbregas, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard were this as well.
- David Silva, Sergio Agüero and Kevin de Bruyne for Manchester City.
- Tottenham used to have Gareth Bale. Now they have Harry 'Hurricane' Kane.
- Callum Wilson looked set to be this for Bournemouth until he suffered a leg injury that put him out for most of the season.
- Jamie Vardy's incredible goal-scoring form, making him the third most prolific goal scorer in Europe, ahead of the likes of Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, has made him this for Leicester City. His colleague Riyad Mahrez, who provided most of the assists, likewise.
- Opposing Sports Team: Every club has rivals. Arsenal have Tottenham, Manchester United have Manchester City (and Liverpool), Liverpool have Everton (and Manchester United), etc. Expect those matches to be pretty tense and borderline violent. The Everton-Liverpool tie has produced the most red cards in the League (though perversely, it is one of the few derbies where fan segregation isn't actively enforced).
- Oral Fixation: If he wasn't down in the pitch screaming about something, Sir Alex Ferguson could mostly be seen up in Old Trafford's plush manager's chair, chewing away at gum.
- Owner Appeal: Cardiff City's nickname is the Bluebirds, and their traditional kit colors are blue. Their new owner's favorite colour is red. So he changed the kit for the 2013/14 season. (He also changed the crest to include a large Welsh dragon, and relegate the bluebird to a small icon; he figured dragons would go over better in east Asia, where he was trying to push merchandise, and make Cardiff the team for all of Wales.) The fans weren't happy. The fan revolt was so strong that Tan relented and brought back the blue kits midseason in 2014/15. Announcing it one day before a scheduled match. Which drew the largest crowd the club had seen in two years. He followed up by switching the places of the bluebird and dragon on the crest the following off season. And There Was Much Rejoicing. Red was, however, used as the away or third colour from that point until promotion to the Premier League a second time, where this time, there were no red kits on the roster for the first time since 2011-12 (like that season, blue home, white away, yellow third).
- Technician vs. Performer: Occasionally emerges.
- The early part of the 2016/17 title race was this:
- Technician: The ruthlessly consistent Chelsea were in first place thanks to a 13-game winning streak lasting from late September 2016 to early January 2017 (which was broken by Tottenham), one in which they conceded only a handful of goals, doing things by the numbers, relying on a defence so solid you could base the economy on it to keep other teams out while allowing their forwards to pick teams off.
- Performer: Liverpool, in second for most of the time period, and the highest scoring side in Europe's top 5 leagues for a time as well (the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga, and Ligue 1). They were known as 'Europe's Entertainers' for good reason, being justly famous for their fearsome and mesmerising attacking style and their 'heavy metal football' in the gegenpressing style, and are known for blowing teams away. However, they've also suffered monumental inconsistency against lesser teams (to the point where they've taken more points from the top 6 than the bottom 6), losing 2-0 to newly promoted Burnley and 4-3 to Bournemouth when they were 3-1 up with 15 minutes to go.
- That said, both teams had elements of the other. Chelsea's attack was capable of taking teams apart in a blitz of stylish football, while Liverpool occasionally showed the ability to dig in and patiently break teams down, doing things by the numbers - in addition, the gegenpressing style takes not only immense physical fitness, but intense discipline to get right.
- The early 2018/19 title race seems to be shaping up into this:
- Technician: Liverpool, in contrast to their reputation for attacking flair and defensive weakness, instead developed into a team that matched the all-time first division defensive record by conceding only 6 goals after 15 games, patiently picking apart teams, snatching opportunities, and hitting them on the break. Despite often scraping victories and being predicted to run out of steam, they've continued to win and have yet to run out of steam. In terms of their actual football, it was frequently commented well into December that they haven't actually been playing that well/as well as they are capable of playing, only occasionally turning on the style - though when they do, it's spectacular.
- Performer: Manchester City, who are cruising their way through the league, taking apart teams in a blitz of stylish passing football that slices through even the best defences (except Liverpool, where they played out a tense stalemate). However, they have also shown that they can grit their way through matches and respond to set backs... until suddenly they didn't, losing to Crystal Palace and Leicester in quick succession, allowing the ruthlessly consistent Liverpool to open up a six point lead at the top of the table.
- The early part of the 2016/17 title race was this:
- Phrase-Catcher: Everyone will have songs sung about them by their fans after they do something good (a save, a good shot/goal, etc.). Players who have scored from distance for their club in any competition will often hear the crowd also shout "SHOOOOOOOOOOOT!" at them.
- Power Creep, Power Seep: Liverpool are infamous for being consistently inconsistent. One moment they're winning three trophies in a season (2000/1), another they're challenging for the title (2001/2, 2008/9, 2013/14), and yet another, they're winning the Champions League (2004/5) or at least getting to the final (2006/7, 2017/18). The next they're finishing 7th (2009/10 - yes, the season after they challenged for the title), sinking even lower with 6th and then 8th in the seasons after that, then 6th in 2014/15 (yes, a season after they challenged for the title), 8th in 2015/16 (albeit in a very close season, meaning they were only a few points off the top four) before a resurgence to as high as 2nd in 2016/17... which was followed by a massive loss streak during January that pretty much killed their chances for a title and they squeaked into 4th place. The graph of their league positions over the last fifteen or so years is best described as a zig-zag, the glorious highs followed by extended lows, much to the chagrin of their long suffering and extremely loyal fans.
- In the last couple of seasons, however, some consistency has emerged: back-to-back 4th placed finishes in 16/17 and 17/18, followed by their currently leading the title race in 2018/19, being six points clear and the sole remaining unbeaten team 19 games into the season.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Wigan won the FA Cup in 2013, only to become the first team in history to win the FA Cup and be relegated from the Premier League in the same year.
- Rank Inflation: The Premiership was formerly known as the First Division.
- Justified, because it wasn't the FA that named the league such. The top teams broke away on their own and formed the Premier League, which was then brought into the FA... who then later renamed the Second division the Championship, and the third and fourth divisions "League One" and "League Two". It is also worth pointing out, the divisions are still technically referred to as the First Division, Second, Third, etc., but are more well-known by their full titles.
- Real Song Theme Tune: TV coverage of live match days open with "Written in the Stars" by Tinie Tempah in the UK and Ireland. Abroad, they open with "Fire" by Kasabian.
- The Rival: Every team has a rival. Some rivalries exist completely within the Premier League, others with a team outside.
- Some of the more famous rivalries typically exist within the top half of the table and have that extra bit of pressure for victory.
- Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham have a fierce rivalry between them over the dominance of London (Arsenal and Tottenham's is known as the North London Derby). West Ham joined the mix in 2015 on their run to the Europa League, though they already had a rivalry with Tottenham to speak of.
- Manchester United have a rivalry with City due to geography (both teams are from Manchester) and Liverpool (they and Arsenal used to be the three teams competing for the title).
- Liverpool have the Merseyside Derby with Everton (the most carded derby in league history) and as noted earlier, their traditional rivalry with Manchester United.
- Some of the more famous rivalries typically exist within the top half of the table and have that extra bit of pressure for victory.
- Running Gag: Arsène Wenger and his coat. Everything from how long it is◊ to his lack of pockets◊, but especially his trouble with the zippers. Puma and Wenger nodded to it with a video based entirely around Wenger's new zipper, and his new coat comes with a much larger zipper. Too bad he still has trouble getting it to work, even several years later.
- Say My Name: Chants, announcers announcing goals, and commentators every time a spectacular goal happens. But most notably, all together now, "AGUEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: John Terry retired from international football in 2012 when the FA opted to charge him for using racially offensive language against Anton Ferdinand, even though he had been cleared in a court of law.
- Alan Pardew. Newcastle fans calling for his sacking and Newcastle's owner not giving him money to splash on players that he needed to mount a Europa League challenge finally led him to just leave and join Crystal Palace as their manager. Newcastle barely avoided relegation after he left (before going down the very next season), whereas Crystal Palace finished midtable after avoiding relegation the year before.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Between 1998 and 2002, Leeds United were regarded as having one of the finest young teams in the country, and being the club most likely to break Manchester United and Arsenal's stranglehold on the title. They ended up winning nothing despite runs to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup and Champions League, got into more debt than any club before or since (barring Manchester United and Portsmouth), got relegated in 2004, and then came within a hair's breadth of being expelled from the Football League altogether in 2007 after being relegated again and starting the new season with a fifteen point deduction. They eventually got back into the Championship in 2010, only to fall back into financial trouble four years later. Tellingly, the only person even remotely interested in buying them when that happened was maverick Italian owner Massimo Cellino (a convicted criminal), suggesting that the club's reputation is too badly damaged for them ever to return to their "big club" status. The real kicker was that the key members of their 1998-2002 squad ended up winning trophies at their deadly rivals, Manchester United and Liverpool. However, as of 2018, they're among the front runners for promotion back to the Premier League, so who knows?
- To a lesser extent, Newcastle United, whose big-spending and good league finishes also failed to translate into any actual honours (apart from an Intertoto Cup win in 2006... and that's stretching it, to say the least).
- Spanner in the Works: In the 2015/16 season, Manchester United, despite their inconsistent performance under van Gaal, ruined Arsenal's and Man City's title challenges and relegated Aston Villa thanks to some young Mancunian striker named Marcus Rashford. Oh, and they nearly prevented Leicester City from becoming champions.
- Spin-Off: Basically what the Premier League is when the teams broke away. A common rumour during the early 2000s (which has recently sprung up) again was that Europe's biggest clubs would break away to form a European Super League. How it would have worked if it had happened is unknown. Lately comments from managers have arisen again about forming a league due to wanting the best teams to play the best, and also due to money.
- Stepford Smiler: Roberto Martínez has been accused of being this by many Everton fans, due to his relentless positivity and seeming refusal to admit to the team's many failures. Publicly criticising fan favourite Leighton Baines for saying that the Everton team 'lacked chemistry', and insisting his words had been 'misinterpreted', did not help.
- Team Spirit: Averted when one player has a falling out with his team or manager and tells all in a tabloid. The fallout can be immense. At the time of writing, the most recent spectacular example is of John Terry and Wayne Bridge, former Chelsea teammates still playing together in the England team. It emerged that Terry had had an affair with Bridge's ex-girlfriend. Terry was demoted from England captain, while Bridge declined to play for England at all...
- Hell, the entire league with the exception of one team supported Bridge after this came out. The one team that didn't, was Chelsea - the side John Terry is captain of.
- It should probably be said that the details of what exactly happened are not really clear. Bridge's ex-girlfriend has since denied any such affair, while the press are adamant that it did happen.
- Caused some additional interest as Chelsea were supposed to play Manchester City shortly after the affair was leaked. This caused people to wonder if Bridge would offer the customary handshake to Terry once the teams came out onto the pitch; he moved his hand out of the way instead. Nobody disputed this decision.
- Other examples include David Beckham getting a boot thrown at his face by Alex Ferguson after a falling out in 2003. He needed stitches above his eye.
- Although neither example is as spectacular as an incident at a Newcastle-Aston Villa match in 2005, in which Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer, in the same Newcastle side, actually started throwing punches at each other. Predictably, both got sent off. Perhaps the craziest sight in this punch-up was seeing Gareth Barry, an Aston Villa player, rushing to the fight, trying to help break it up (he actually pulled Bowyer away from the scrap, and got him to calm down).
- This being Played Straight has been cited as the reason that Leicester pulled off their deeply unexpected title charge so successfully - everyone in the team works their socks off for everyone else.
- Equally, this trope being Played Straight has also been cited as the reason for Liverpool's success under Jurgen Klopp, reaching the League Cup and Europa League finals in his first season in charge, despite the fact that their squad had only one player who most would consider to be world class (as in, 'could walk into any team in Europe'), Philippe Coutinho - who spent a good portion of the season injured - and far fewer general star players than the teams around them.
- Hell, the entire league with the exception of one team supported Bridge after this came out. The one team that didn't, was Chelsea - the side John Terry is captain of.
- Tempting Fate:
- The aforementioned "I'd love it if we beat them" interview, which led to Manchester United beating Newcastle in the final standings.
- José Mourinho has a reputation for saying polarizing things in his post-match interviews, or frankly, any of his interviews. At one point in the 2013-14 season, he called Arsène Wenger a "specialist in failure," much to the anger of the Arsenal fans. As the season progressed, Chelsea were still in the running for the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, but were knocked out of the latter by eventual runners-up Atlético Madrid, and only came third in the league. To add insult to injury, Arsenal won the FA Cup at the end of the year and then the ensuing Community Shield to open the 2014/15 year, meaning Wenger had won more that year than Mourinho.
- After beating Manchester City 3-2 in April 2014, Liverpool went top of the table. Steven Gerrard, immediately after the match, got his players in a huddle and told them "this does not slip!" and "every game is like a Champions League final!" Two weeks later, Liverpool faced a Chelsea side who were in the middle of a Champions League semi-final, missing their two best players from injuries sustained in the first leg of that semi-final (one of their centre-backs was making his Premier League debut!) and had all but dropped out of the title race after losing to Sunderland a week earlier. Just before half-time, Gerrard slipped over, and Chelsea's striker ran unimpeded into the Liverpool area to put his side ahead. Liverpool spent the rest of the match trying to break down the Chelsea defence, and in stoppage time one of their players gave the ball away cheaply, allowing two Chelsea attackers to advance on the Liverpool goalkeeper and score again. Liverpool then drew 3-3 at Crystal Palace to all but lose their grip on the title, in a match very much like their CL final victory in 2005. The irony did not go unnoticed.
- Three games into their 2017/18 campaign, Arsenal lost 4-0 to Liverpool, a game in which midfielder/winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had played, right at the end of the transfer window. Immediately after, Oxlade-Chamberlain signed for Liverpool, and in his first interview with the club, drew the ire of Arsenal fans for replying to a question about form with "We're in good form at the moment. We beat Arsenal 4-0." Liverpool would lose the next game away to Manchester City 5-0, draw two games against sides they should have beaten, and then lose to Leicester City in the League Cup, a game in which Oxlade-Chamberlain made awful mistakes almost all game long and drew the schadenfreude of almost every other team in the league. However, he got the last laugh by dominating the return fixture that Liverpool won, and Liverpool finished above Arsenal in the league, claiming a coveted top 4 place.
- Token Minority: Before the 90s foreign players were rare in the English game. Now, not so much...
- Some people argued that Park Ji-Sung, and the less-successful Dong Fangzhuo to a much greater extent, were signed by Manchester United mainly to placate the club's massive Asian fanbase and to keep them interested. Considering that Shinji Kagawa, who some say "replaced" Park as the token East Asian player in 2012, petered out after a couple of seasons and went back to Dortmund, it's safe to say that Park had enough talent to justify his longevity in the team.
- Due to the richest teams simply buying up the best players from around the world rather than training up local talent (one of the factors which damaged the England national football team), FA rules now dictate a minimum number of native English players that each team has to employ, making them something of a Token Majority.
- During the 2014/15 season, the lack of ethnic-minority managers in the Premier League (and the Football League in general) has come under scrutinynote , with calls for an introduction of the NFL's "Rooney Rule", which would require clubs to interview a Token Minority candidate whenever they hire a new manager (which can be fairly often). Whether this will have any impact, or is even necessary to address the balance, is subject to intense debate.
- Took a Level in Badass: The 201516 season featured many clubs undergoing this trope. Some of the most notable were:
- Leicester City. Dead last at Christmas 2014, still dead last at the start of April 2015, top of the league at Christmas 2015, champions in May 2016.
- Crystal Palace. Last year at Christmas, they were 17th and on the brink of relegation. Then Alan Pardew jumped ship from Newcastle and ensuring their survival to the next season. With the help of the signing of Yohan Cabaye, at Christmas they were tied for Tottenham and Manchester United for a Champions League spot, though they then failed to win a single game until April, and finished just above the drop zone.
- Watford. In 2015 they were in the Championship. Given their record that they're always relegated during their spells in the Premier League, it seems that their fate is sealed when they signed thirteen new players during the summer transfer list. However, at Christmas, they reached 7th, just one point away from the Champions League spot mentioned above. Despite a significant drop off in form, they ended up firmly in mid-table, and knocked Arsenal out of the cup.
- Bournemouth. Sure, they were in the bottom half of the table, but beating Chelsea and Manchester United consecutively in their first ever season in the first division of the English football system is a huge achievement for a small team like them.
- West Ham. While in comparison to last year's Christmas, they were below than last year. However, they beat Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City this season, and also drew with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
- Liverpool, who, while traditionally a top team and one that nearly won the title in 2013/14, had been languishing outside the top 4 places, looking stale and hopeless, with even the famous Anfield atmosphere dying down somewhat. Cue new manager Jürgen Klopp who arrived in October 2015 proclaiming that he would "turn doubters into believers." 6 months, one cup final appearance ultimately decided by the lottery of penalties, multiple thrashings of top teams, a spectacular Miracle Rally against one of Europe's best teams to reach the Europa League semi-finals, ultimately losing in the final, pulled off by a revitalised team in front of a delirious Anfield crowd and the prospect of an unlikely challenge for 4th place later (which in the end narrowly fizzled out), followed by a strong, sustained title challenge in 2016/17 that despite falling away, earned them a Champions League spot (which they parsed the following season into a barnstorming run to the Champions League final and another Champions League spot), and in 2018/19, being unbeaten 19 games into the season and leading the table by six points after finally fixing the infamously leaky defence, doubters are now most definitely believers.
- Tottenham Hotspur mounted their first serious title challenge in decades, following some of their younger players coming into their own over the course of the season. Unfortunately, this made them the villains of the Leicester City Cinderella Story, and thanks to Chelsea's Eden Hazard, they ended up failing and then crashing the remainder of the season, ending up finishing below hated rivals Arsenal for the 21st consecutive season. The following season, however, Spurs rebounded and finished second, winning 19 of their last 23 games including 9 in a row and finishing ahead of Arsenal for the first time in 21 years. The year after that, they dropped down to third but did have the distinction of not only winning a tough Champions league group stage that featured Real Madrid and Dortmund, also managing to beat the eventual Champion's League winner Real Madrid. As of the 2018/19 season, despite not having their new stadium done for the majority of the season and becoming the only team in all of football to not sign anyone during the season, they ended up advancing to the semi-finals of the Champions league, demonstrating that if nothing else, the perpetually-mediocre Spurs teams of the 2000s are a thing of the distant past.
- Tough Act to Follow: Leicester City won the title in 2015/16. Although they have remained in the league as a midtable side, they were at one time just a point above the relegation zone in the 2016/17 season.
- We Will Meet Again: Every club plays each other twice a season, once at home and once away. This trope also extends to the fact that every year, one club claims they will be able to breach the 'big four' and secure a Champions League place. They tend to fail quite easily.
- Chelsea and Liverpool met in five consecutive Champions League tournaments.
- Everton did it in 2005 - then Liverpool won the Champions League!
- Everton then failed to even get past the qualifying stagesnote
- Tottenham in 2009-10.
- Manchester City in 2010-11.
- We Win... Because You Didn't:
- Naturally this comes into play, especially late in the season for teams vying for the Top 4 spots. The Arsenal fans take it one step further, having their own celebration when there is literally no chance of Tottenham Hotspur finishing ahead of them in the table, no matter where in the table it might be.
- The working title for the inverse day is "St. Gunneringham's Day", which saw its first instance in 22 years on 30 April 2017 after Tottenham defeated Arsenal 20 at White Hart Lane to clinch finishing above them.
- Recent years have seen another Arsenal celebration pop up, similar to an urban legend about the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Known as 'Invincibles Day', it occurs on the day the last unbeaten side in the league loses, therefore ensuring no team will emulate Arsenal's unbeaten season of 2003/04.
- In the 2013-14 season, defending champions Manchester United suffered a collapse that left them struggling to even get into the European qualification places, never mind challenge for the title. As the season came down to Manchester City vs. Liverpool (United's most hated rivals), it appeared most United fans were rooting for City, purely because Liverpool have the second highest number of league titles after United, and United fans were hoping that they wouldn't have to see Liverpool close the gap.
- A quite literal example occurred for the fans of Chelsea and Leicester City. On 2nd May 2016, Tottenham Hotspur needed to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge or else Leicester City would win the title. Despite Tottenham leading 2-0 at the break, Chelsea came back in the second half to draw 2-2, securing Leicester the title. Leicester's fans celebrated for obvious reasons, while Chelsea's celebrated the fact that they'd prevented Tottenham from winning the league.
- A repeat example happened with Manchester City winning the title due to Manchester United losing at home to West Bromwich Albion in 2017/18.
- In short, British football fans specialise in schadenfreude.
- Naturally this comes into play, especially late in the season for teams vying for the Top 4 spots. The Arsenal fans take it one step further, having their own celebration when there is literally no chance of Tottenham Hotspur finishing ahead of them in the table, no matter where in the table it might be.
- Who Needs Overtime?: Injury time, and occasionally a team will score a goal to salvage a win or a point. Manchester United seem to do this often, so much that it's now got a reputation as Fergie Time. Arsenal are running them close though. As it turns out, though, it's Liverpool have the most winning goals in added time in Premier League history, which came as a surprise to more or less everyone.
- Ironically came back to bite them in the close of the 2011-2012 season:
- With four matches to go in the season, United were leading the league with their rivals Manchester City five points behind. Then they played Everton and were up 4-2 with ten minutes to go when Everton scored twice to claim a 4-4 draw. This, followed by a City victory when they met United in their next match, allowed City to tie them in points (leading in goal difference) until the final day of the season.
- On said final day, after 90 minutes, City were down 2-1 to Queens Park Rangers (who at that time were on the brink of relegation) but had five minutes of stoppage time still to play, while United were leading Sunderland 1-0 and had three minutes of stoppage time. City equalised two minutes into injury time, and mere seconds after the final whistle blew at United's match, City scored again to win 3-2 and earn their first championship since 1968.
- Ironically came back to bite them in the close of the 2011-2012 season: