The original First Division was founded in 1888, three years after the FA approved professionalism in football. It consisted of 12 clubs and was known as the Football League. The league lasted for four years before a rival league was launched, called the Football Alliance. The Football League admitted some clubs from the Alliance, and then it was rebranded as the Football League First Division. The first season took place in 1892 and the league would last for 100 years. Some of the clubs in the original league are still playing in the top flight today such as Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa, and Newton Heath (which would become Manchester United).
Preston North End won the very first Football League, with Aston Villa finishing in second place. They went on to win in the following year, but then they placed in second in the next two years, losing out to Everton and Sunderland. After the league was rebranded to the First Division, it was expanded to a 16-team format.
Aston Villa emerged as the top team in the 1890s, becoming league champions 5 times. In the following two decades, the league became far more competitive, with Liverpool, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers and Everton all winning at least once. Sunderland managed to win 5 titles, to go second behind Aston Villa who had put their tally up to 6.
Between the two wars, the league expanded to a 22-club format, and this was when West Bromwich, Burnley, Huddersfield Town, Arsenal and Manchester City all won their first titles. Huddersfield Town had a run of 4 successive titles in the early to mid-20s, whilst Arsenal managed to win 5 trophies in the space of 8 years. Sunderland won their sixth title in 1936, to go level with Aston Villa's tally.
After the Second World War, Arsenal continued their good form and won two more titles by the early 50s. Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur also became First Division winners in the 40s. In 1953 and 1954, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea became first time First Division winners, respectively.
Manchester United had a good run in the 50s and mid-60s, when they increased their number of wins in the league to 7, but Liverpool was not far behind their northern rivals, winning their seventh title in 1966. Arsenal won their eighth title in 1971, but Liverpool would dominate the next decade. In the 70s, Liverpool won 5 First Division titles, and in the 80s they would extend that to 8. Teams such as Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Everton were also winning league titles in these decades as well.
In 1992, a proposal was put forward for the top teams to establish a new league, where they would have independent commercial rights from the FA and the Football League. This was to create extra income for the Premier League teams so that they could compete with European teams that had larger budgets. The teams negotiated with the FA and finally the Premier League was established. The league followed the same structure as the previous First Division, only that now the second tier league was rebranded as the First Division (and now the EFL Championship), and teams that were relegated from the Premier League then went into the First Division.
In the 90s, Manchester United emerged as the dominant side in the newly found league. The club won 6 Premier League titles up until 2000, and then won 5 more in the 2000s. Arsenal chased the leaders in the 2000s, and so did Chelsea and Liverpool. These teams were seen as the "Top Four", and for most of the decade, they finished in the top four. In the 2010s, this was extended to the "Big Six", as Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur started to become more successful.
Chelsea and Manchester City started to win Premier League titles, as the two clubs overtook Manchester United and Arsenal as potential title contenders. In 2016, Leicester City won the Premier League, which was probably the biggest upset since the league was founded. The team, who were complete underdogs, took advantage of a great start to the season, and managed to upset all the big teams by keeping their pole position right until the end. The following year, the race between Chelsea and Manchester City resumed, but in 2019, Liverpool started to become potential title contenders. The team had built up slowly, but showed signs of improving with each season, and then in 2020 they won their first title in 30 years. In the years following their win, they have chased Manchester City right until the last days of each season and the two teams have become heavy favourites, ahead of all the other big teams.
The Premier League starts in August and finishes in May. 20 teams compete in the current format, and each team plays every other team in the league twice, once home and once away. When the league concludes, the top four will qualify for the Champions League in the following season, the teams placing in 5th and 6th will qualify for the Europa League, and the 7th placing team will qualify for the Europa Conference League.
At the bottom of the table, the 20th, 19th and 18th placed teams are relegated to the EFL Championship, and the winner, runner up, and winner of the playoffs from that league will be promoted to the Premier League.
Before the Premier League was launched, the average salary of a player was £75,000 per year. In the 2018 season, the average salary was £2.99 million.
In 2011, Swansea City became the first non-English club to play in the league. The first Premier League match played outside England was Swansea's first home game against Wigan Athletic.
In 2004, Arsenal won the Premier League without losing a single game. The fans nicknamed the team "The Invincibles" - a name that was used for the Preston North End team that won the 1889 season without losing a single game.
This is a three way bet, where punters have to predict how a match will end. In a Premier League fixture where Liverpool faces Manchester City, there will be bets for Liverpool to win, Manchester City to win, or for the game to end in a draw.
Handicaps can be used to lengthen the odds when betting on the favourite to win, or to increase the chance of winning when betting against a favourite team. These are basically bets where a team is given an additional number of goals or a goal reduction. If a negative handicap is set, that will be subtracted from a team’s score at the end of a game, then the odds will lengthen but the bet will also be more risky to place. If a positive handicap is set, where the handicap will be added to the team’s score at the end of a game, then the odds will shorten but in return the bet will have a better chance of winning.
This is a bet where punters can predict how many goals will be scored between both teams. It works using the over/under format, where there are multiple betting lines and a punter can pick a line and bet for the game to end with over or under the number of goals defined by a line.
There are many different types of game props, and these can relate to anything from will there be a penalty to will the total number of goals be an odd or even number. There are props that relate to individual players, these can be bets on whether a player scores, whether that player will score the first or last goal in a game, whether they will give an assist and so on. There may be bets on how a team may win a game, such as whether they will win both halves, will they make a comeback from 1-0 down, will the team win without conceding a goal, and more.
Live bets offer punters the chance to make their bets during a game. In addition to the main bets such as match result, handicaps, totals, and so on, there may be bets that relate to what will happen next in a game. These can include bets such as which team will score the last goal in the current half, which team will score the next goal, will the next goal come from a set piece, and so on.