By Sam Noel | The Duquesne Duke
Six weeks in, the Barclays Premier League is in full swing as its clubs look for glory and success on the soccer field. The best teams in England battle for the honor of being called “champions,” but others fight for the right to remain in the top tier.
For perennial soccer lovers, the Barclays Premier League, or “BPL” for short, is the must-see competition, as it hosts some of the world’s most talented players and most popular teams. Clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are a few of the well-known clubs who boast world-class talent like Wayne Rooney, Mesut Özil and Eden Hazard.
There are many things to look forward to when it comes to the league season. For starters, there is, of course, the race to win the Premier League title. Unlike most sports leagues in the U.S. where the champion is ultimately decided through playoffs, the BPL’s champion is decided through 20-team league standings, and whoever finishes in first place is the champion. There are no playoffs.
Teams to definitely watch for are the defending champions from a season ago, Chelsea, located in southwest London. Led by their tactical mastermind, José Mourinho, the champions are the favorite to repeat this season. Other contenders for the title are the runners-up from last season, Manchester City, the third-place finishers, Arsenal, located in north London and fourth-place finishers, Manchester United.
While the title race is the most exciting part of the season, there’s also the race to finish in the top four of the standings. In European soccer, there is a competition called the UEFA Champions League, where the best teams in Europe compete. In England, the teams who finish in the top four are eligible to compete in the Champions League for the following season. This is a huge deal for clubs, as they see their reputation grow and their income increases dramatically. Players will want to sign for Champions League clubs so that they can compete with the best in the world. Look for teams like Tottenham Hotspur, from north London, and Liverpool to be in the race for the top four as well.
Last but not least, there is the race to escape relegation. This is one of the more confusing aspects of European soccer, yet it’s very exciting to watch unfold. In Europe, most countries have multiple soccer leagues. In England, they have the BPL and the Football Leagues. The three teams that finish in the bottom three in the BPL will be sent down to the next lower league, called the Football League Championship. Then, the top three teams from that league get promoted to the BPL. It’s a little confusing, but this part of European soccer gives these teams who don’t necessarily have the money or players to compete with the best a reason to play their hardest. It’s also worthwhile noting that teams whom stay in the top-tier BPL will earn more money, just like the teams who qualify for the Champions League.
So, with all of that done and explained, the BPL is an exciting league that all soccer fans should invest their interest in. You don’t have to be from England to be a fan. Find a team that interests you most, and watch, as the most dramatic, storytelling sports league in the world unfolds.