This is the list of Manchester City’s biggest rivals, and it includes local rivalries too. The city has become a side to beat ever since Pep Guardiola became the coach in 2016. But didn’t just begin like that;
Let me take you back to the late 1800s when Manchester City F.C. was just starting. Manchester City won their first honors in 1899, winning the Second Division, which earned them a promotion to the First Division.
On April 23, 1904, City won their first major title, the FA Cup, defeating Bolton Wanderers 1–0 at Crystal Palace, but narrowly missed a League and Cup double by coming in second in the league that season.
Still, they were the first Manchester team to clinch a major honor. As the years passed, the team faced some tough times. In the 1930s, they reached two FA Cup finals but lost one to Everton in 1933.
However, they won the Cup in 1934, defeating Portsmouth, and during the Cup run, they recorded the highest home attendance in English football history, 84,569 fans watched them play Stoke City.
City also won their first First Division title in 1937, but unfortunately, they got relegated the next season despite scoring the most goals in the division.
Twenty years later, in the 1950s, they tasted success again with an FA Cup win and a European Cup Winners’ Cup triumph, where their goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann, heroically played on despite breaking his neck.
The city faced financial struggles in the 1980s and 1990s, changing managers often, and even experiencing relegation. They also had their moments of success, reaching the FA Cup final and returning to the Premier League, but overall, it was a period of ups and downs.
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Down to the Pep Guardiola era which was a massive turning point for the club. The 2022-23 season became Manchester City’s most outstanding season under Pep. They not only secured their third consecutive Premier League title but also won the FA Cup, defeating their rivals Manchester United.
And their historic Champions League win, a dream they had long chased. In between this success, they have established great with other English teams, and it has proven to be an intense one with both local rivals.
Without formality, here are their greatest rivals in the club’s history.
List Of Manchester City Biggest Rivals
- Manchester United
- Liverpool FC
- Tottenham Hotspur
Let’s dive right in.
1. Manchester Derby
The Manchester Derby is one of the most intense clashes in football, and fans just can’t get enough of it. For many fans, Manchester United is like the big, older brother that City wants to outshine.
While the City fans agree that the Manchester Derby is their main rivalry. And over the years, the rivalry got hotter. Manchester City came back strong as one of England’s top teams, having had a brief break from the spotlight in the late 20th century but bounced back with a bang.
In 2008, there was a takeover that brought a whole new level of excitement to the City. They emerged as a major club again, making the team, and fans turn their heads.
And in terms of revenue, both Manchester teams are top dogs. Somehow, Manchester has transformed into a football city like Madrid or Milan, you know, a place where the game is everything.
City’s fans often point fingers at United, calling them arrogant and claiming they’re trying to make the Premier League a playground for the big clubs.
And they say the United States manipulates the rules and media. On the other side, United supporters accuse City of using money to buy their way to success.
Both sets of fans even argue about who represents the city better. City fans say United doesn’t even play in their Old Trafford.
Funny enough, City supporters even have a nickname for United “Rags” which goes back to a time when United played at City’s stadium and wore kits that looked like old rags.
They also make fun of each other’s stadiums. United fans have a cheeky name for City’s stadium “The Swamp.” while City fans got their playful jibe “Emptyhad.”
It’s a twist on the sponsored name “Etihad” and pokes fun at the idea that City’s stadium is often empty.
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2. Manchester City – Liverpool Rivalry
The Manchester City – Liverpool rivalry might not have historical roots, but let me tell you, it’s become one of the fiercest battles in the Premier League.
It’s about intense competition, ugly clashes, and some toxic stuff. For the last decade, Manchester City and Liverpool have been locking horns on the pitch, fighting tooth and nail for the same prizes.
But things haven’t been pretty off the field either, supporter’s violence and nasty chants have tainted their encounters. In December during a Carabao Cup fourth-round match that took place at the Etihad Stadium, bottles were thrown from the visiting section into the home stand.
A City fan got arrested and kicked out of the stadium, there were even allegations of racial abuse against disabled Liverpool supporters. This rivalry has been brewing for most of the last decade.
The first signs of tension between City and Liverpool were around 2014 when they battled for the Premier League title. The clash led to a pretty intense moment, Manchester City fans leaving the stadium had their minibus attacked and the window smashed.
They blamed people in Liverpool shirts. Also in the 2017/18 season when they met in the Champions League quarter-finals. The Manchester City players and staff arrived at Anfield to a hostile reception.
Fans threw things at their bus, causing a lot of damage and earning a fine from UEFA. The atmosphere was intense, and the emotional toll was heavy. And then there’s the Hillsborough disaster.
Ahead of an FA Cup semi-final, City fans were asked to observe a minute’s silence to remember the tragedy’s victims. But instead of respect, offensive chants interrupted the moment.
Even during matches, there have been instances of fans referencing the disaster, causing outrage. As if that weren’t enough, the matches themselves have been incredibly heated.
In one match, Klopp was shown a red card for losing his cool. Guardiola was also accused of riling up the home supporters, claiming coins were thrown at him.
The rivalry has been so intense that comments made before a game were even labeled as ‘racist.’ However, efforts have been made to improve relations between fans, with both clubs sending out a joint letter asking for better behavior.
Unfortunately, these attempts haven’t entirely succeeded, as witnessed in the December game spoiled by crowd trouble, including a girl getting hit by an object.
Both clubs have released joint statements condemning the incidents and committing to working together to eliminate such behavior. But the intensity of the rivalry continues to generate controversy.
Klopp and Guardiola have spoken up too. Klopp expressed his disappointment with songs mocking the Hillsborough disaster, calling for respect and compassion.
He emphasized that football shouldn’t be a platform for such insensitivity.
3. Manchester City – Tottenham Hotspur Rivalry
When you think of football rivalries, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur might not be the first names that come to mind. They aren’t neighbors, but their encounters have brought some of the most memorable moments to the pitch.
One thing that sticks out in this rivalry is Tottenham’s ability to come out on top when it counts the most. It’s almost like they have City’s number in crucial moments.
In 1981 when Tottenham and City clashed in the FA Cup final, It was the 100th final of the tournament, and it ended in a 1-1 draw. The replay of that final was one of emotions.
Both teams fought right, and the match ended in a 3-2 victory for Tottenham, due to a late goal scored by Ricky Villa. In May 2010, Tottenham defeated City at the Etihad Stadium.
This victory was massive because it secured Tottenham’s spot in the Champions League for the first time as a late Peter Crouch headed goal sealed the game.
And then came the dramatic Champions League encounters In 2019, Tottenham faced City in a tense quarter-final match. Tottenham knocked City out of the competition, and that victory was just one step on their journey to the final.
So, even though Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur might not be traditional rivals, their encounters have certainly created a storyline of their own.
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4. Manchester City – Arsenal Rivalry
We all know about the big games like Liverpool vs. Manchester City, but there’s a new rivalry quietly forming between Manchester City and Arsenal.
Back when Arsenal’s coach Arsène Wenger was in charge and their home stadium was Highbury, Manchester City wasn’t doing so well. They were in the middle of the table and not very strong. But things changed when Sheikh Mansour took over City in 2008.
They got better and started winning titles under their coach Pep Guardiola. At the same time, Arsenal went through a tough period after Wenger left. They weren’t doing well, and City was beating them by a lot of points every season.
In the past, City wasn’t very good against Arsenal, but now they are winning most of the matches. However, Arsenal has been getting better recently. Arsenal had a great start to the 2022/2023 season, getting a lot of points from their games.
It’s exciting because they have young and talented players like Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, and Gabriel Martinelli. These players are still young, so in a few years, they could become even better.
That’s why people are excited to see how Arteta’s Arsenal team does against Guardiola’s Manchester City. Usually, rivalries are about teams not liking each other, but City and Arsenal seem to be getting along pretty well.
There haven’t been many big fights between them, but there was a time when a player celebrated in a way that made Arsenal fans angry, but that’s about it.
But things may change soon, especially since City sold some of their players to Arsenal this year. These players, like Zinchenko and Jesus, were not the biggest stars at City, but they’re doing well at Arsenal.
This might also make City’s coach, Guardiola, think differently about his decisions. It’s interesting because Guardiola used to work with Arsenal’s coach Arteta before, so they know each other well.
Both teams play in a way that Guardiola likes, with lots of movement and creative play.Even goalkeepers are good at passing the ball.
As Manchester City and Arsenal meet more often, we are going to be seen as a new rivalry that is not about hatred or anger; but two great teams trying to outsmart each other on the field.
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5. Manchester City – Chelsea Rivalry
In the last ten years, no other teams in England have been as successful as Manchester City and Chelsea. This success has been a driving force behind the intensity of their rivalry as both teams want to win trophies and be the best.
One of the most memorable moments in this rivalry happened in the 2020-21 season. Chelsea managed to defeat Manchester City in the final of the Champions League, adding a new exciting chapter to their rivalry.
This victory was great for Chelsea at that time because Manchester City was playing far better even in the final. I remembered during Conte’s reign as Chelsea coach, they won the league title while Pep Guardiola was in his first season as Manchester City’s coach.
In the next five years, City won the league four times, showing everyone that they meant business.
Kenny is an experienced blogger and sports writer who majors in soccer articles amongst other trending niches. Do well to stay updated with his updates and that of his team of editors on Readsoccer.