The Premier League’s Three Biggest Derbies
To celebrate the solar eclipse-like occasion of both the Merseyside and North London derbies taking place on the same day, we take a look at English football’s three biggest derbies.
Liverpool and Everton – The Merseyside Derby
Both clubs are based within Liverpool, and this clash is often referred to as the ‘friendly derby’, owing to the large crossover in allegiances between friends and family within the city. Their two stadiums, Anfield and Goodison Park, are even within a mile of one another.
On the field is a different story, with this fixture producing more red cards than in any other in Premier League history. They eighties were arguably the heyday for this tie, as both clubs were in direct for league and cup honours. Their stars’ may have faded slightly since, but they are both consistently within the division’s top six.
Arsenal and Tottenham – The North London Derby
These two clubs first played each other in 1887, though it was far less of a heated affair back then. Relations became frosty when Arsenal moved across city, from their original home of Woolwich to Highbury, around five miles away from Tottenham. Their rivalry was solidified when the Gunners were controversially voted into the original First Division at the expense of Spurs, and relations haven’t cooled since.
Under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal looked to have made Spurs an insignificance, with their fans even inventing ‘St Totteringham’s Day’ – the point in a season where it is mathematically impossible for Spurs to finish above Arsenal – to goad their success. However, during the Gunners’ trophy drought from 2005 to 2014, the gap was closed and the two regularly lock horns over Champions League spots.
Manchester United and Manchester City – The Manchester Derby
The first contest took place in 1881, but the rivalry didn’t really begin to surface until the fifties. Originally the support for the two was divided between the South (City) and North East (United) areas of Manchester, but the divide has become less clear. As a rule of thumb, City claim to be from within the city of Manchester itself, whereas United claim to have support from the wider Greater Manchester area.
United would enjoy more than two decades of success under Sir Alex Ferguson while City’s stature shrunk, with United fans dismissing them as mere ‘noisy neighbours’. This all changed with the arrival of City’s new owners, which saw the blue half of Manchester catapulted into direct title contention, infamously snatching the title away from United on the final day of the 2010-11 season, ensuring the bad blood will continue a long while yet.
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