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10 Biggest Rivalries In London Football

5. Tottenham vs Chelsea

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While they never considered each other primary rivals, the rivalry dates back to the 1967 FA Cup final, which was the competition’s first final to be contested between two teams from London. Tottenham won it 2–1. For Chelsea fans, it was a major blow to see two of their former players, Jimmy Greaves and Terry Venables, win the FA Cup with Tottenham

Since then, matches between them would often attract large attendances and would sometimes end up in violent clashes between supporters. This boiled once again in the 2015-16 season when Chelsea put an end to the Spurs’ title challenge just a few games from the end of the season, which opened the door for Leicester City’s remarkable title triumph.

4. Arsenal vs Chelsea

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While they never considered each other primary rivals, as two of the biggest and most successful clubs in London there has always been a strong needle between the fans dating back to the 1930s. Matches between them would often attract large attendances.

The Arsenal and Chelsea rivalry has been more recently considered an important derby, after Chelsea’s rise to the top class of the Premier League in the 2000s, when the two started to compete constantly for the Premier League title. Both fancy themselves as the biggest and most successful: Arsenal have won 13 league titles and 14 FA Cups, while Chelsea are the only British club to have bagged all three European trophies as well as being the defending UCL champions. It’s swings and roundabouts. As such, they don’t get on very well.

3. West Ham vs Tottenham

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While many Irons and Spurs supporters would consider Millwall and Arsenal respectively to be their arch-enemies, this derby has also proven to be pretty fierce for a number of decades. Without a doubt, this rivalry earns a place in this list of ‘biggest rivalries in London football’.

The Tottenham supporters’ condescension feeds the Hammers fans’ disdain and the bubbling animosity exists not so much for football or geographic reasons, but for how each side views the other. Spurs belittle the Irons, West Ham fight to prove their relevance. But the rivalry has nevertheless proven to be a reliable source of entertaining plot points and intriguing narratives.

2. West Ham vs Millwall

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The rivalry between Millwall and West Ham United, originating in the late 19th century, is one of the most bitter in English football. Formed by dockworkers, their first clash in the 1899-1900 FA Cup was dubbed the “Dockers derby.” Although both teams have since relocated, they remain geographically close, maintaining their historic tension. This proximity, combined with their shared origins, keeps the rivalry alive despite changes over the years.

Their rivalry is infamous in British hooliganism, with violent incidents like the 2009 Upton Park riot marking their encounters. Despite meeting infrequently now, these matches reignite intense animosity, reflecting deep-rooted historical and cultural tensions. When they do clash, the pent-up hostility between the fans surfaces, making for highly charged and often volatile games that echo their long-standing enmity.

1. Arsenal vs Tottenham

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The rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur has all that anyone could want: uncomfortably close home grounds, season-defining clashes and a long list of traitors and heroes to play with the emotions of both sets of fans. As a spectacle, the north London derby is as good an advert as you could get for English football, with high-intensity football on the pitch and an infectiously loud atmosphere in the stands every time the two sides meet.

Although the two teams first played each other in 1887, the rivalry did not begin until 1913 when Arsenal moved their ground to north London. Fans of both clubs like to claim that they are the true “pride of north London”, but it is only after each derby that this claim can be vindicated.

This fixture has produced many memorable events, like Paul Gascoigne’s free-kick in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, Arsenal clinching the league title at White Hart Lane in 1971 and 2004 and some pretty poisonous abuse directed at Sol Campbell following his move from Spurs to Arsenal in 2001. It is generally the biggest game of the season for both clubs and their fans.

Checkout: Top 25 Football Rivalries In the UK

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2 thoughts on “10 Biggest Rivalries In London Football

  • What a nonsense article and clearly the writer did not do much research. QPR didn’t never tried to buy Brentford.

    It’s hardly even a rivalry. Embarrassing.

  • 1. Millwall West ham. 2. Spurs Arsenal 3. Spurs Chelsea 4. West ham spurs 5. Palace Millwall, in that order, then the rest of them. pretty bog standard really. Dunno who you are trying to fool pal.

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