Top 5 Arsenal Biggest Rivals

Manchester City F.C.

Arsenal F.C. boasts an impressive record in football history. With 13 League Championships, they rank third in England, trailing behind Manchester United and Liverpool.

Arsenal holds the highest number of FA Cup trophies, totaling 14 wins. They’ve secured the FA Cup twice in a row on two occasions.

Arsenal’s achievements include three League and FA Cup “Doubles” and being the first English club to clinch the FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993.

They were the first London club to reach the UEFA Champions League final in 2006. Arsenal holds the record for the longest unbeaten League match streak and the longest top-flight win streak.

Additionally, they set a Champions League record for consecutive matches without conceding a goal during the 2005–06 season.

Their consistency is apparent in their high average league finishing position and their remarkable 98 consecutive seasons in the top flight as of 2023–24.

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Who Are Arsenal F.C.’s Greatest Rivals?

1. Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

Arsenal Football Club’s greatest rivals are widely believed to be Tottenham Hotspur F.C. This intense rivalry arises from the North London derby, which is the meeting between the two clubs.

Both Arsenal and Tottenham are based in North London, England. Fans from both sides consider each other as their main rivals, making the derby one of the fiercest in the world.

The rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham dates back to 1913 when Arsenal moved their ground to North London from Woolwich, south of the River Thames.

Since then, the two teams have competed fiercely, with a total of 194 games played between them as of September 24, 2023.

Arsenal has won 81 of these matches, Tottenham 61, and 52 games have ended in draws. Notable matches in the North London derby include Arsenal winning the league at White Hart Lane in 1971 and their invincible campaign in 2004.

Tottenham also had memorable victories, beating Arsenal 5–0 at home in 1983. The highest-scoring game was Arsenal’s 5–4 win at White Hart Lane in November 2004.

Harry Kane holds the record for the most goals scored in the derby, with fourteen goals to his name. The rivalry intensified in 1919 when Arsenal was elected to the First Division over Tottenham, sparking controversy and animosity.

Since 1950, there has only been one season where the two clubs were not in the same division to ensure regular fixtures between them and maintain the rivalry over the years.

The passion between the two fans often spills over onto the field, with players who transfer between the clubs receiving a hostile reception from their former fans.

Aside from the football game, Arsenal fans celebrated “St. Totteringham’s Day,” the day when Tottenham cannot mathematically finish above Arsenal in the league table.

2. Manchester United

Manchester United

One of Arsenal Football Club’s greatest rivals in English football is Manchester United Football Club. Despite being in the same division since 1919, the rivalry intensified in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

This period saw fierce competition between the two clubs for titles like the Premier League and FA Cup. The rivalry was not just on the field but also between managers Arsène Wenger of Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United, as well as club captains Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane.

Their matches were often seen by intense confrontations, with seven red cards shown between February 1997 and February 2005.

One famous incident called the “Battle of Old Trafford” in September 2003, was sparked by a controversial red card for Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira.

Another significant clash occurred when Manchester United ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run, leading to disorder in the tunnel.

Despite the heated exchanges, by 2008, the rivalry began to decrease, partly due to the dominance of other clubs like Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester City. However, matches between Arsenal and Manchester United remained highly anticipated events in English football.

Their rivalry has a rich history, including memorable encounters like the 1958 league fixture, which was United’s last game before the tragic Munich air disaster, and the 1979 FA Cup final, won by Arsenal.

Tensions rose further in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with incidents like a brawl in 1990 resulting in both clubs being docked points.

The rivalry peaked during Wenger and Ferguson’s tenures, with both managers exchanging verbal spats and tactical battles. However, their relationship became more cordial in later years despite the hate.

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3. Chelsea F.C.

Chelsea F.C.

The Arsenal F.C.–Chelsea F.C. rivalry is a longstanding clash between two famous football clubs based in London. Arsenal, playing their home games at the Emirates Stadium, and Chelsea, hosting matches at Stamford Bridge, have a history dating back to the early 1900s.

Over the years, Arsenal has claimed more victories in this rivalry, winning 82 times compared to Chelsea’s 66, with 60 draws as of October 2023.

Memorable matches include the 1930 First Division encounter where Arsenal secured a 5–1 win at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea’s 6–0 Premier League triumph in 2014, marking their largest victory margin against Arsenal.

Both clubs have battled in important finals, such as the FA Cup and the Europa League. Unforgettable encounters include Arsenal’s 2–0 victory in the 2002 FA Cup final and Chelsea’s 4–1 win in the 2019 Europa League final.

However, the rivalry intensified in the 2000s as Chelsea rose to prominence in the Premier League, competing closely with Arsenal for top honors.

While historically Arsenal’s main rivals were Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea’s were Arsenal, Tottenham, and Fulham, their clashes have become increasingly significant.

Some of the moments fueling the rivalry include Ashley Cole’s controversial transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea in 2006 and intense matches like the 2007 League Cup final, called the “Snarling Cup final” due to on-field altercations.

In recent years, both teams have traded victories, with Arsenal securing wins like the 5–3 triumph at Stamford Bridge in 2011 and the 2–1 FA Cup final victories in 2017 and 2020.

The rivalry increased during the 2020–21 Premier League season when Arsenal achieved their first league “double” over Chelsea since 2003–04.

4. Manchester City F.C.

Manchester City F.C.

Arsenal F.C.’s greatest rivals are often considered to be Manchester City F.C. This rivalry originates from the late 2000s when Manchester City’s increased spending on players began to challenge Arsenal’s dominance in English football.

The rivalry strengthened as key Arsenal players like Emmanuel Adebayor and Samir Nasri made controversial moves to City, leading to heated encounters between the two clubs.

Arsène Wenger, then Arsenal’s manager, criticized City’s transfer policy and financial strategy, also fueling the rivalry.

A noted incident occurred during the 2009-2010 season when Adebayor celebrated provocatively in front of Arsenal fans after scoring against his former club.

City’s rise to dominance in English football improved the rivalry. Despite occasional Arsenal victories, City’s consistent success in domestic competitions firmed their position as the dominant force.

However, the rivalry experienced a rest until the 2022-23 season when Arsenal, under Mikel Arteta’s management, challenged City for the Premier League title.

Arteta, a former assistant coach at City, added a personal dimension to the rivalry, as he maintained a close friendship with City’s manager, Pep Guardiola.

Arteta and Guardiola regard each other as close friends due to their shared history at FC Barcelona and City despite the competitive nature of the rivalry on the field.

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5. West Ham United F.C.

West Ham United F.C.

Recent events suggest that West Ham United F.C. could emerge as significant rivals to Arsenal in the future. Traditionally, football rivalries are fueled by competition for division titles and cup trophies, which is why Arsenal and Manchester United have had a longstanding rivalry.

But other factors, such as location and player transfers, can also contribute to intense rivalries. The recent transfer of Declan Rice from West Ham to Arsenal has intensified tensions between the two clubs.

West Ham’s reluctance to sell Rice to Arsenal, or any other club, has fueled hatred among their fan base. While the Arsenal-West Ham rivalry may not be as well-known as the Arsenal-Tottenham rivalry, the transfer of a key player like Rice has the potential to advance it to new levels of significance.

Arsenal’s historically superior domestic status has often overshadowed their rivalry with West Ham. However, the departure of Rice to Arsenal has deeply affected the West Ham fan base, sparking renewed animosity between the two clubs.

  • March 19, 2024