Struggling to hold your own with your guy mates when the conversation turns to football? Fed up of countless Saturdays being dragged to the pub by your boyfriend to watch so-and-so play whatcha-ma-call-it? You may not have any interest in the game whatsoever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to enjoy the times when you are made to endure 90 minutes worth of potential boredom, made better only by free pub Wi-Fi or cheap alcohol.
Read on for a whistle-stop tour of the most famous football league on the planet. Learn to tell your City apart from your United, who has the best bum and who has the best banter and that all important offside rule, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Premier League expert… or an impressive blagger.
A total of 20 teams play in the Barclays’ Premier League each year, with each team playing each other twice: one fixture at home, the other away. The football season runs from mid-August to early-May each year. The aim of a match is to score more goals than the opposing team. A win scores your team 3 points, a draw gives you 1 point, and a loss none.
By the end of the season the three teams with the fewest points are relegated to the league below, the Championship. At the same time, the three highest scoring teams from the Championship are promoted to the Premier League, where they will play for the following season. Still with me?
The team with the highest number of points (if two teams are tied the decision will be made on goal difference) will win that year’s Premier League.
Meanwhile, the three highest scoring teams will go on to play not only in the next season’s Premier League, but also in the coveted Champions’ League, a European competition which sees the best teams from each country competing against one another. The 4th highest scoring team will be entered into the Champions’ League qualifier stage and the 5th highest will be entered into the Europa League, a lower ranked European competition.
The traditional top 4 teams in recent years have been Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. However, recent years have seen teams such as Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs for short), Everton and Newcastle United doing quite well for themselves. In an almighty shake-up to the expected rankings, this season has seen original underdogs Manchester City top the table so far, followed closely by last season’s winners Manchester United. Tottenham currently hold a clear third place (as of 26th February), with Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool grappling for that all important 4th place.
Facts and rules aside, the best part of watching football is of course having a sneaky perve at the players and even the odd manager! Below are a few of my personal favourites:
Joe Hart – number one goalkeeper for Manchester City and England, he seems like a genuinely nice guy and has a smile to die for, not to mention a gorgeous mop of hair.
Niko Kranjcar – midfielder for Spurs and Croatia, Niko is a cheeky little slice of European eye candy… check out those puppy dog eyes!
Fernando Torres – he’s had almost as many hairstyle changes as Becks, but it’s hard to resist his Spanish charm, even if your male friends will reassure you he’s a waste of space on the Chelsea pitch.
Gareth Barry – the Manchester City and England player is dark, brooding, and has THE best bum in the whole league… phwoar!
Yohan Cabaye – a midfielder for Newcastle United and France, he’s got the continental beardy look down to a tee, and Her Campus Leeds loves it!
Roberto Mancini – Manchester City manager Mancini may be old enough to be our dad, but he’s the perfect combination of silver fox and sexy Italian.
Who to Follow
Everyone’s on Twitter these days, including these two, so get following for post-match banter:
A bit of a menace on the field, Joey is actually a really sound guy online, with his tweets covering everything from awards ceremonies to soviet politics:
“What’s happened to the
#brits its really bad. Cutting Adele off for Blur, who sound really bad by the way, was disgusting. F*ck u britawards”
“Putin is certainly an alpha male not to be f*ked with………”
When he’s not threatening to beat up fans, he’s busy declaring his love for film stars or confessing his lifetime ambitions:
“My aim is to win more trophies and become all time leading scorer at man utd. Would be amazing. 81 more.”
“I love denzil washington. I would love to meet him 1 day. The best actor of all time. Legend.”
Finally, it’s worth making the effort to learn a bit of the jargon if you really want to know what you’re talking about. Her Campus Leeds simplifies the most commonly misunderstood rule in the game for you…
The Offside Rule
In its simplest form, the offside rule states that if one player is in an offside position when the ball is played by a teammate, he is not allowed to become actively involved in the play. An offside position is when a player is closer to the opposing team’s goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last defender, as shown above. If the player in possession were to pass to the player in the offside position, the player in the offside position would not be allowed to touch or play the ball. Any player in the offside position who plays the ball has committed an offside offence, which is then subject to the referee’s interpretation, and any goals scored from this position would not be counted.
Of course this is only a glimpse of the fountain of knowledge that you could probably acquire from simply watching a few games and reading a few sports pages. Hopefully though, it’s enough to have even the most clueless of you keen to head down to your local and start watching, discussing, and impressing.
No need to thank us.