English football and rivalries have existed since the sport’s inception. Locations harbouring various clubs throughout England and Wales have long-held grudges, and larger provinces that present inter-city feuds, known as derby games, have created some of the most famous battles in football history.

Arsenal are no exception to English football rivalries, and as one of seven clubs located in London, they’ve never been short of antagonists to clash with on the pitch.

The deep-rooted history of ‘The Gunners’ involves this club competing at the highest level and establishing countless rivalries along the way. Today we’re looking at Arsenal’s most noteworthy on-pitch adversaries, from London-based derbies to their Premier League-challenging rivals from up north.

The North London Derby: Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur

When discussing the most hostile relationships between two football clubs in England, Arsenal, and Tottenham are always thrown into the conversation.

It all began when Arsenal moved to Highbury in 1913, an area that was just kilometers from Tottenham’s White Hart Lane stadium, which had long stood in North London since 1899. Both stadiums have since been demolished, but the North London rivalry lives on and is the longest-running and most tension-filled rivalry in the Premier League today.

It stems from two clubs attempting to represent the highest level of football in the country while both represent the North region of London.

Unfortunately for Spurs fans, the rivalry is far easier for Arsenal fans, that boast multiple Premier League title wins, FA Cups, and League Cups far beyond their rivals. The Gunners are usually the most bet-on team during these clashes, whether it’s at an on-site sportsbook at their respective grounds or through PayPal betting sites; with 86 games won, 54 drawn, and 67 lost, Arsenal is the superior team in the head-to-head records versus Tottenham.

But Tottenham isn’t the only London derby heavily wagered on at the sportsbooks.

A West vs. North London Rivalry: Arsenal and West Ham United

A one-hundred-year rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham isn’t easy to top. Still, as we’re just a month away from the 2023/24 Premier League season, the hatred West Ham fans have garnered for Arsenal during the 2023 EPL transfer window could certainly make some headlines in the future.

Division titles and cup trophies are usually the key factors of a football rivalry, which is why Arsenal and Manchester United have long disliked one another; more on this later. However, other elements can create fierce rivals, including locations and significant signings.

Most recently, West Ham announced the departure of Declan Rice to Arsenal. And it hasn’t gone unnoticed because West Ham didn’t want to sell Rice to Gunners or anyone else.

The Hammers/Gunners derby isn’t the most recognised within London simply because Arsenal’s superior domestic status doesn’t provide much controversy. But as Arsenal fans have taken much delight in stealing West Ham’s golden boy, the Hammers fan base has been cut deep, and this rivalry could become more significant than it ever has.

A Premier League Rivalry: Arsenal and Manchester United

Although Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham, Fulham, Crystal Palace, and Brentford are viable London rivals for Arsenal, past and present. But regarding the history of the Premier League elite, and two that rank as one of the EPL’s biggest rivalries of all time, The Gunners and The Red Devils could claim the top spot.

The rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United started in the 1990s and 2000s when these sides regularly battled for the EPL title and FA Cup supremacy. The respective success of Alex Ferguson at United and Arsene Wenger at Arsenal created a bitter feud that transitioned onto the pitch and in the stands.

Despite tensions quietening in recent years, it’s still the defining rivalry of the Premier League era – the battles between Ian Wright and Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane and Patrick Viera, and Sir Alex’s disdain for Wenger, the list goes on.

The meetings between these sides produced drama and controversy but also involved significant importance to the outcome of a season, often deciding who’d win the EPL title and other competitions.

With Arsenal challenging for the title and finishing second during the 2022/23 term and Manchester United’s success slowly rising again, perhaps the best rivalry in EPL history will be reignited in the coming seasons.