Chelsea play London rivals Arsenal in this early kick off at Stamford Bridge looking to bounce back from their 9 man defeat at QPR last week. They will have to manage without the suspended Didier Drogba, although Fernando Torres returns form suspension.
The Premier League is the world's most lucrative football league in terms of revenue, with combined club revenues of over £2 billion in 2008-09. It is ranked first in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years, ahead of Spain's La Liga and Germany's Bundesliga. Since 1888, a total of 23 clubs have been crowned champions of the English football system. Of the 45 clubs to have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, four have won the title: Manchester United (12 titles) Arsenal (3), Chelsea (3) and Blackburn Rovers (1). The current champions are Manchester United, who won the title in the 2010–11 season.
Despite significant European success during the 1970s and early 1980s, the late '80s had marked a low point for English football. Stadia were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, and English clubs were banned from European competition for five years following the events at Heysel in 1985. The Football League First Division, which had been the top level of English football since 1888, was well behind leagues such as Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga in attendances and revenues, and several top English players had moved abroad. However, by the turn of the 1990s the downward trend was starting to reverse; England had been successful in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, reaching the semi-finals. UEFA, European football's governing body, lifted the five-year ban on English clubs playing in European competitions in 1990 (resulting in Manchester United lifting the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1991) and the Taylor Report on stadium safety standards, which proposed expensive upgrades to create all-seater stadia in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, was published in January of that year