With Arsenal set to face Manchester United on Saturday, we look at some of the Gunners’ greatest rivalries.
There is no need to have a pop quiz on Arsenal’s greatest rivals, even though some fans would argue that anyone who isn’t rooting for the Gooners is a sure adversary. Without going to such lengths, we can easily identify the Tottenham Hotspurs and Chelsea FC in this category. There have been significant disagreements with Manchester United as well, but these seem to be subsiding in recent times. Still, in the words of the old saying, Gooners are better off keeping their friends close and enemies closer, so there is hardly any harm in learning something about the stories behind these epic clashes in lieu of this year’s battle for the title.
1. Arsenal v Tottenham
The fact that their matches have a name, the North London Derby, says a lot about the depth of this rivalry. Its official beginnings can be dated back to a contestant game in 1909 which saw Arsenal win 1-0 against the Spurs. Since then, the mere geographical location of the two London clubs has been reason enough for fiery battles on and off the pitch. Among the most memorable North London Derby are the distant Arsenal victory on May 3, 1971 and the recent bitterness of Tottenham’s 5-1 during the League Cup semi-final game. Still, there is one thing that allows Arsenal to overpower – St. Totteringham’s Day – the day RedBet’s odds are confirming every Gooner’s dream. Even if betting on Arsenal’s victory means lower payout, a true Arsenal fan will feel rewarded for having his team rank higher on the league table than ‘tottering’ Tottenham.
Arsenal v Chelsea
It is actually quite funny how Arsenal came to see Chelsea as a direct rival to their cause. Of course, there is the archetypal image of the red and the blue fighting until the end, which looks even better set against the greenness of the pitch, but the main reason Chelsea chose to pick a fight with the Gooners is because there was no one else. Namely, Chelsea has not been able to develop geographical rivals with Fulham due to division differences, so they went with proximity and opposed Arsenal. Plus, the Blues tendency until the late 90s mainly focused on approaching Arsenal, but since Abramovich took over, there has been an evening-out that created a steady rivalry between the teams.