How does the Barclays Premier League work?

Alan Shearer talks Premier League with Ore

The Premier League was created in 1992 and is one of the biggest, most-watched football leagues in the world.

Each season runs from the end of August to the middle of May. There are twenty club sides that play each other twice, once at home and once away - so there are 38 games every season.

Premier League winners 1992-2013

  • Arsenal (3 times)
  • Blackburn Rovers (once)
  • Chelsea (3 times)
  • Manchester City (once)
  • Manchester United (13 times)

The league is based on points. A side scores three points for a win, and one point for a draw - and if you lose you get nothing.

At the end of the season, the side with the most points wins the league and the famous trophy.

If two sides end up on the same amount of points, it's then down to goal difference: how many goals a side has scored - and how many they've had scored against them.

Europe calling

But it's not just about winning the league - there are other prizes up for grabs, and also pitfalls to avoid.

Top Premier League goalscorers (up to 2012/13 season)

1. Alan Shearer - 260

2. Andy Cole - 188

3. Thierry Henry - 175

4. Frank Lampard - 165

5. Robbie Fowler - 162

6. Wayne Rooney - 156

(Players in bold are still playing)

The top four clubs at the end of the season automatically qualify for the Champions League, where the best sides in Europe play against each other for another top trophy.

Finishing fifth gets you a spot in the Europa League - Europe's second competition - and finishing sixth and seventh mean you might qualify too, depending on which other sides have already qualified through other methods, like winning the FA Cup.

Relegation

But where you really don't want to finish is in the bottom three places in the league.

This is the relegation zone - where hopes and dreams are crushed - and finishing there means you'll be playing in the Championship (the league below the Premier League) next season.

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