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British soccer setting up for thrilling finish

Barclay’s Premier League (BPL), also known as England’s Premier League, is England’s national “football” league. Established on Aug. 15, 1992, BPL has twenty competing teams vying to place in the top four, which would allow them to play in the UEFA championship league, a Europe-wide football tournament. There is a huge incentive to do well apart from placing in the top four; teams that end in the last three places must drop out of the league and are swapped for new teams.

Each season is comprised of 38 busy weeks and lasts from August to May and is the main form of British sports entertainment. With 380 games in a BPL season, the teams each play 38 games and compete against every other team in the league twice: once at home, and once away.

As stated earlier, twenty teams from various regions around the UK compete against each other in the league. A few of the most prominent teams include Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City. In recent times, these teams made up the “Big Four”, dominating the entire league and coming together to finish first multiple times.

An Unexpected Leader

Historically only five out of the twenty teams have been able to win the league: Manchester United, who has won 13 times, Chelsea, with four wins, and then Arsenal, Manchester City, and the Blackburn Rovers, who have won three, two and one times, respectively. Following this pattern, Chelsea walked away last year as the 2015 BPL champion.  It is only week 26 but already it looks like the season will end quite differently. Never-before-winner Leicester City (pronounced “Lester”) has managed to maintain the top position in the rankings, with the Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal close behind.

Mid-Season Recap

This season Chelsea is playing to defend their title as champions, for the fourth time, however this hasn’t been easy for them. As of right now Chelsea is in 12th place, which can be attributed to chemistry issues within the team. AFC Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City are the three teams which have been promoted to the Premier League this season. Out of the three, Watford is doing the best in 9th place,with the other two in 15th and 17th, respectively.

The current league leader, Leicester City has had an incredible comeback from last year, when they finished 14th in the league. 

The current leader, Leicester City has had an incredible comeback from last year, when they finished 14th in the league.  Ironically this is partially due to their hiring of a new coach, Claudio Ranieri, former manager of Chelsea. Ranieri can’t take all the credit, Jamie Vardy, a forward who joined the club in 2012, was awarded Barclays Player of the Month in October and November 2015 for his stellar performance this season.

Vardy also has 19 goals, three ahead of his nearest competitor: Tottenham’s Harry Kane, a forward. Vardy’s teammate Riyad Mahrez is also influential to Leicester’s success recently. Mahrez, a midfielder, is currently number one on Barclays Player Performance Index, scoring 713. The index is a measure of a player’s performance based on winning performance, player’s performance per match, appearances, goals scored, assists and clean sheets.

Looking forward

With the underdog Leicester City in the lead, and Tottenham close behind, sports fans everywhere can only hope that the rest of the season is as thrilling as it has been for these past few weeks. Perhaps a new favorite will be found for some in Leicester City if they manage to hold on to their number one position, or will there be a last minute upset changing everything?

Only time will tell.

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