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Premier League: All you need to know

The Premier League was formed in February 1992, but those who led the charge away from the old First Division could not have envisaged the revolution they were initiating and the seismic changes they would make to the top of England's national game.

This is the story of how a sport on its knees turned not only into a financial juggernaut but the blueprint in how to organise a competition that is obsessed over by fans across the globe.

Here's everything you need to know about the Premier League

Key Premier League facts

Manchester United won the first Premier League in 1993 and have claimed the trophy a record 13 times.

Manchester City have won the title seven times and Chelsea have won five, while Arsenal have won it on three occasions.

Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City and Liverpool are the only other teams to have won it, each on one occasion.

There are 20 teams in the Premier League and the bottom three are relegated to the Championship at the end of each season.

The teams who finish in the top four positions each season qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

Gareth Barry holds the record for Premier League appearances with 653.

Alan Shearer holds the record for Premier League goals with 260.

Sergio Aguero holds the record for Premier League hat-tricks with 12.

A whole new ball game - The Premier League starts

Football was emerging from a dark place in 1992, just three years after 97 Liverpool fans died in the Hillsborough disaster.

The game was falling behind leagues in Spain and Italy and club bosses like Martin Edwards at Manchester United, Irving Scholar at Tottenham and David Dein at Arsenal believed breaking away from the Football League and going their own way was the right thing to do.

Married to this development was the advent of satellite television and the new league got into bed with British Sky Broadcasting, who won the initial contract to provide live coverage of the action.

It started with a 1-0 win for Nottingham Forest over Liverpool at the City Ground in August 1992.

Ferguson ends United's drought

Nowhere was the expectation higher in that first season than at Old Trafford as Manchester United had gone 26 years since being crowned English champions.

They had gone close in the final First Division season when Howard Wilkinson's Leeds got the better of them, but 1993 was the year Alex Ferguson, who three years earlier looked on the verge of being handed the sack, finally ended the drought.

A 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday with two last-gasp goals from Steve Bruce proved a huge moment and after the title was confirmed following a Monday night win over Blackburn, a new dynasty was about to be born.

Ferguson is undoubtedly the most successful manager in the Premier League era, steering the Red Devils to each of their 13 title triumphs.

Twice United won three Premier Leagues in successive seasons, the first starting in 1998-99 when they became the first English club to complete the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League wins in the same season.

They also won it in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 and Ferguson is regarded as English football's greatest ever manager after developing three separate generations of players to be the cream of the crop.

Exciting times in Blackburn and Newcastle

The new league brought new opportunities and it was the age of the local-lad-made-good making a big impression.

Nowhere was that more noticeable than in Blackburn where local steel businessman Jack Walker ploughed money into his local club and achieved the dream of claiming the title in 1995.

With former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish at the helm and a team of big-name signings spearheaded by England striker Alan Shearer, they won the trophy on a thrilling final day.

Rovers lost at Anfield but Manchester United, with star forward Eric Cantona serving a lengthy ban following an altercation with a fan after being sent off at Crystal Palace, were unable to see off West Ham at Upton Park.

Newcastle, under Tyneside businessman Sir John Hall, were also flying high and earning plaudits for their attacking football under Kevin Keegan.

They seemed to have the title within their grasp when they had a 12-point lead in February, but after a thrilling 4-3 defeat at Liverpool, United clawed back their deficit, leaving Keegan fuming on television as Ferguson won the mind-games battle.

The Magpies paid £15m for Shearer the following summer, but that's the nearest they have got to winning the Premier League.

Wenger and the Invincibles

There was also a fresh face at Arsenal in 1996 when Arsene Wenger took over from Bruce Rioch and the Frenchman would go on to have a huge impact in the 22 years he had at the Gunners' helm.

The former Monaco manager, who had been plucked from the Japanese club Grampus Eight, introduced a new level of professionalism to his team's preparation for matches.

The old drinking culture became a thing of the past and his team, epitomised by early midfield signing Patrick Vieira, went on to have some classic battles with Ferguson's United and Wenger claimed his first crown in the 1997-98 season.

His greatest signing was Thierry Henry, who scored 175 Premier League goals, but of his three titles, his most memorable will be the 2003-04 team who were dubbed the 'Invincibles' after they went the whole season undefeated.

The Gunners also finished runners-up five times during Wenger's time at the club and he will go down as one of the great managers of the Premier League era.

Abramovich and the rise of Chelsea

By the time Arsenal were embarking on their greatest-ever season, however, there was a new kid on the block.

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich became the first mega-bucks owner of a club when he took over at Chelsea and the club embarked upon a rapid and extensive investment policy that saw them slimbs the heights to be established among the elite of European football.

Claudio Ranieri steered them to second in the Premier League in Abramovich's first season having spent £120m on players in the summer of 2003, but that was not enough to save his job and Jose Mourinho, who had steered Porto to Champions League glory the season before, took the Stamford Bridge hotseat.

That's when things really started to take off with the extremely self-confident Mourinho - he was dubbed 'The Special One' by the media after comments he made at his opening press conference - at the helm, and the Blues claimed their first title win for 50 years at the end of his first campaign and they repeated the trick the following season.

Mourinho departed in 2007, but returned to claim a third title in 2014. Carlo Ancelotti (2009-10) and Antonio Conte (2016-17) have also won the title, while they have won the Champions League twice under the guidance of Roberto di Matteo and Thomas Tuchel.

Citizens hit the jackpot

Many comparisons were made with Abramovich's Chelsea investment when Manchester City were taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group, lead by Sheikh Mansour, in August 2008.

City had been in the shadow of their rivals United during the Premier League era and had even slipped into the third tier of English football, but the investment from the Middle East would eventually make them one of the biggest outfits in the game.

They ploughed money in immediately and were rewarded in 2011 when they claimed an FA Cup win, which was their first trophy for 35 years.

Bigger things were on the horizon, though, and they won the title the following season under Roberto Mancini on the Premier League's most dramatic day as a Sergio Aguero goal deep into injury-time against QPR confirmed glory, just as Manchester United were thinking their 1-0 win at Sunderland had been enough.

Manuel Pellegrini also won the title there, before former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola took over in 2016 and he has won the title five times, in 2017-18, 2018-19, 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23.

The Leicester miracle

But it has not always been about big spending, as Leicester City, who were dismissed as 5,000-1 shots at the start of the 2015-16 season, pulled off arguably football’s greatest fairytale success.

The Foxes were top at Christmas under Claudio Ranieri, who had been a surprise appointment as manager the year before, and former non-league striker Jamie Vardy became their talisman, scoring in a record 11 consecutive Premier League matches.

While experts and rivals may have expected them to run out of steam, they didn't and claimed the title after Tottenham could only draw 2-2 at Ranieri's former club Chelsea.

The sale of midfielder N'Golo Kante, who had been a bargain buy from French club Caen, to Chelsea was the beginning of the end for the team and Ranieri was eventually sacked the following February, but not after giving Foxes fans the ride of their lives.

Finally, it's Liverpool's time

Liverpool had dominated English football in the 1970s and 1980s, winning the title 18 times, but a Premier League triumph had eluded them, despite Champions League triumphs in 2005 and 2019.

Even in the 2018-19 season when they collected 97 points, Jurgen Klopp's side finished a point behind Guardiola's Manchester City.

However, they managed to put it right in 2019-20, when they cruised to success by accumulating 99 points and winning the title with seven matches of the season remaining.

They won 32 of their 38 matches and finally put an end to their 30-year wait for a title success.

Liverpool’s triumph added up to little more than a minor interruption to City’s recent dominance.

Twelve months later the Citizens were back atop the pile, they repeated the feat in 2021-22 and completed the hat-trick in 2022-23, this time as part of a magnificent treble also featuring the FA Cup and, most precious of all, the Champions League.

Joy at The Etihad was not shared at the King Power, though, as Leicester, champions in 2015-16, were relegated, becoming the second team (after Blackburn) in the Premier League era to drop into the Championship.

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