The new season of the English Premier League is back and starting to gain momentum. The highest level of English football is possibly the most popular league in the world, in terms of audience, TV audience and quality of players. The Spanish La Liga division can argue that it has the best soccer offering in the world, but aside from Barcelona and Real Madrid, La Liga does not compete with the Premiership in several respects.

It's difficult to really determine what the real appeal of the Premier League is. Is it the quality of the football on offer? Or is it good old-fashioned effective marketing from several big brands? Either way, the Premiership draws global television audiences that exceed 100 million each week, with as many as half a million hitting stadiums across the country to watch the action live. Whatever the formula for a successful Premier League, it is clearly working.

The 2008/2009 season will be the 17th season in the Premier League since its inauguration in 1992. During this time, the league has only seen four different teams win the title. Manchester United have won it ten times, Arsenal three; Chelsea twice and Blackburn were the anomaly that upset the dominant trend of the Big Three by winning in 1995.

Aside from Blackburn's victory in 1995, the fact that only three teams have won the Premier League title makes the division almost like a monopoly between an elite of three clubs, making the league less attractive; however, it seems to have the opposite. to affect. Teams below the big three, (or more frequently referred to as the 'big four' when Liverpool are included) live with the hope of entering that group of elite teams, which are seen as having a chance of winning the Title. It is the optimism and hope of the fans of the other 16 teams in the league that makes the Premiership interesting. While most of these fans will appreciate that it's a distant dream, and many will be glad just to avoid the descent, the thought of one day being able to challenge at the top end of the board is enough to keep the turnstiles clicking. The draw for home neutral fans is simply the title battle, fought between the division's four bigwigs, hence the coverage these four receive on television.

It is also the top four that will generate most of the discussion when it comes to the Premier League. Throughout the season, but especially early on, the question is which team do you think, or any football expert imaginable, will win the title. This season, the answer is likely to be one of two teams, Manchester United or Chelsea, with the occasional call that Liverpool or Arsenal can upset the odds.

Chelsea got off to a better start to opening weekend but there is still a lot of football to play and others will remain optimistic despite Phil Scolari's side being the bookies favorite. However, it is difficult to see beyond the Blues as the best equipped team to win this season's title. Despite having won the title for two years in a row, Manchester United will find it difficult to repeat the heights of last season, many of which depended on Ronaldo's way of scoring goals. The Portuguese winger was at the center of a transfer line between Man Utd and Real Madrid over the summer and, coupled with a recent operation, it's hard to see him reach the heights of last year. Chelsea, on the other hand, have introduced a new coach and a couple of new players to the squad, which should help them recover from many unrest at Stamford Bridge last season. It seems likely that Arsenal and Liverpool will have to settle for supporting roles once again.

Outside of the top four, there are two other battles, first the battle of one group of teams for qualification for the UEFA Cup, while another handful of teams fight to avoid relegation. For fans of the rest of the teams, unless you are playing one of the big four, you can be optimistic about getting a result, it is a very competitive league and there are many draws, which is ideal if you play in the pools. Whoever you support in the Premiership or if you are just a fan of watching football, the biggest draw of this league is the guaranteed entertainment.

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The allure of the Premier League