The Premier League is widely regarded as the richest football league in the world and, as a result, is often perceived as the most competitive.
Due to a combination of worldwide television revenue and sponsorship and advertising deals, the elite English clubs have the transfer funds available to attract the game’s best players.
But while this, in theory, should ensure multiple teams are capable of becoming champions, the list of Premier League title winners is short and has largely been dominated by four clubs since the league’s inception in 1992.
Leicester: a title-winning outlier
When Leicester City, who had never previously been champions of England, became the sixth different team to win the Premier League in 2016, they were very much an outlier, as their pre-season odds of 5000/1 to become champions suggested. The EPL betting is, generally, dominated by a small band of clubs with title-winning pedigree, demonstrated by Manchester City again being favourites to be champions this season.
If City do win the title this season, it will be the eighth time that they have been Premier League champions, and they will also become the first team to be champions four seasons in a row. As it stands, City have won seven of the last 12 Premier League titles since Sergio Aguero’s famous, dramatic late goal secured the club the trophy for the first time at the expense of local rivals Manchester United in 2012.
United are the team that set the benchmark for multiple Premier League titles, the club have been champions 13 times since 1992, and their overall total of 20 league titles puts them one ahead of Liverpool.
They were the first team to win back-to-back titles after being champions in the first two seasons of the Premier League and they were also the first team to win the Premier League three years in a row, from 1999 to 2001. On top of that, to date, United are also the only club to have won the Premier League three years in a row twice, after also being champions from 2007 to 2009.
However, United have only ever won the Premier League under Sir Alex Ferguson and they have not been champions since 2013.
London rivals also multiple winners
The only other clubs to have been Premier League champions more than once are London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. Arsenal have won the Premier League three times but have not been champions since their ‘Invincibles’ season in 2004 and have only won it with Arsene Wenger as manager.
In contrast, Chelsea have won the Premier League five times under three different managers, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte. Chelsea can also match City and United in having won the title in back-to-back seasons after doing so in 2005 and 2006.
Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool are the only other teams to have won the Premier League but, like Leicester, have done so just once, meaning that, of the 31 seasons to date, 28 titles have been won by just four clubs.
With City favourites to be champions again, and with history in their sights, it might be some time before another club becomes a multiple Premier League winner.