Premier League vs FA Cup

Premier League vs FA Cup: Detailed Differences

Premier League vs FA Cup – these two pillars of English football command attention and ignite fervour among fans around the world. To truly appreciate the significance of these prestigious competitions, it is crucial to understand the distinct differences that set them apart.

While the Premier League showcases the intense battle among top-flight clubs for domestic glory, the FA Cup offers a platform for teams from various divisions to compete for an illustrious cup title.

The Premier League and the FA Cup are two of the most important competitions in which English teams compete. So, how do they differ?

Premier League vs FA Cup: Brief Overview

The Premier League is a two-round-robin competition in which the best 20 English teams compete. Meanwhile, the FA Cup has approximately 700 English teams from across the country. It is a knockout style of play in which teams are eliminated if they lose a match.

Below is a detailed breakdown of the differences between the two competitions.

Differences Between Premier League vs FA Cup

The number of teams involved

The Premier League consists of the top 20 teams.

In truth, the Premier League originally consisted of 22 clubs before being reduced to 20!

Meanwhile, the FA Cup features teams from all tiers of English football, all the way down to tier 10! As a result,124 teams participate in the FA Cup season.

Some Welsh teams compete in England as well. If they are eligible, these teams can compete in both the FA Cup and the Premier League.

Frequency and duration of the competition

Both competitions are held as part of the English football season each year.

The FA Cup and Premier League begin in August as well. This is traditionally the beginning of the new football season.

However, you should start paying attention to the FA Cup in January. This is because that is when Premier League teams will begin to compete in the FA Cup’s Third Round.

If some of these clubs make it to the Third Round of 32 teams, they may face teams from the Premier League or Championship.

Number of matches played

If you play in the Premier League, you will have 38 games. This is because you will face the other 19 clubs in the league both at home and away.

Meanwhile, the number of FA Cup matches you play varies greatly. If you are a tier 9 or 10 club and reach the final, you will play a total of 14 matches.

A Premier League squad that advances to the finals will play a total of six games.

Format of competition

The Premier League uses a double round-robin league structure. Each team will compete against the league’s other 19 clubs.

The FA Cup, on the other hand, is a knockout competition. This means that the winner of each match advances to the next round. The loser is out of the competition!

As a result, you will only get one shot at the FA Cup. If you lose just one match, you will be unable to participate in the competition.

Manchester City’s path to the 2022/23 FA Cup final required them to win all of their games:

This contrasts with the Premier League. Even if you don’t win all of your games at first, you can still win the Premier League.

Manchester City in the 2022/2023 season is one such case. They did not fare well at the start of the season. Nonetheless, they won the Premier League title in the end!

As a result, the FA Cup is a sprint, but the Premier League is a marathon. You will be champions after 38 games if you are the most consistent side in the Premier League.

Only the FA Cup has a final

Because of the FA Cup’s knockout round format, only two teams will remain in the competition. They will face off in the FA Cup final.

These are the top two teams, who have won every match up until the final!

Meanwhile, the Premier League does not feature a championship game. It only has one final matchday (matchday 38) in which all teams play at the same time.

There is a slim chance that there will be a ‘final’ in the Premier League. This is because a playoff match is the last resort for determining the Premier League champion.

This is possible if all other tiebreakers have been exhausted, such as:

  • Goal difference
  • Number of goals scored
  • Head-to-head records
  • Number of away goals scored in a head-to-head match
  • Playoff

If both teams have the same record in the first four tiebreakers, a playoff will be required to determine the winner!


For matches that end in a draw up till the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, a replay will be held at the stadium of the away team.

There are no replays for matches from the Fifth Round until the Final. Instead, the extra time and penalties will determine the winner.

The Premier League conducts things a little differently. If the game is a tie, both sides will receive one point. Each Premier League match does not have to produce a winner.

This is because the Premier League employs a league table to determine each club’s position based on their performance in each match.

The following are the points that the team will receive based on the outcome of each match:

No of Points310

Squad Size

Each Premier League club can only have 25 players. Premier League teams can have up to nine substitutions in their match squad.

Meanwhile, each FA Cup squad can only include 18 players. This comprises the starting eleven as well as seven substitutions.

As a result, the number of substitutes in FA Cup rosters is slightly smaller than in Premier League squads.

Prizes for winning competition

RewardPremier League FA Cup 
Prize Money Higher Lower 
Europe QualificationChampions League Europa League 
Community Shield Qualifies Qualifies 

When comparing the prize money for the 2022/23 Premier League and FA Cup winners, the Premier League victors received a greater sum (£153.9 million vs £3.4 million).

You may be able to obtain additional incentives if you win the Premier League. This is because:

  • You are eligible to compete in the Champions League.
  • You will win a significantly larger prize.

The Premier League and FA Cup winners will meet in the FA Community Shield the following season. This is normally the prelude to the start of the football season.

Which is more prestigious: the FA Cup or the Premier League?

The FA Cup has a significantly longer history, dating back to the 1871/72 season. However, because the Premier League is more popular and offers more incentives for winning, most teams may regard it as more prestigious.

The FA Cup qualifies you for the Europa League, but the Premier League qualifies you for the Champions League. Because the Champions League is considered more prestigious, most players would rather win the Premier League.

Some may even argue that the Champions League is more prestigious than the World Cup!

The FA Cup has also become ‘less important’ for the majority of top clubs. They can be seen fielding backup squads in the early stages while resting their key players for other important fixtures.

As a result, the Premier League is considered more prestigious than the FA Cup.


In reality, the major difference between the Premier League vs FA Cup is the format in which the competitions take place.

All in all, the Premier League and the FA Cup are two of the most important football competitions in England. They both have distinct features that make them fascinating to watch.

Further Reading:

1 thought on “Premier League vs FA Cup: Detailed Differences”

  1. I can’t wait for the upcoming football league season! I’ve been a die-hard fan for years, and getting my hands on those coveted tickets is always a thrilling experience. The atmosphere in the stadium is electric, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

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