The Biggest Premier League Rivalries

Some epic derby battles over the years will have seen a rush of football betting and a plethora of football odds given for each game. The matches listed below often dictate the destination of the title, so Premier League odds come into play too. When your fiercest rivals come to town, sports betting is all part of the fun.

Arsenal v Tottenham

Like the other matches listed here, the North London derby pre-dates the Premier League by decades. It’s often forgotten that for the first 26 years that these teams played each other it wasn’t a derby, for the simple fact that Arsenal were a south London side until 1913. In any event, fast forward to the modern day, and things have gone up a level. Since the English football landscape changed for good in 1992, there have been enough epic clashes between the Gunners and Spurs.

April 2004 saw Arsene Wenger’s side earn a 2-2 draw at the home of their local rivals, and more importantly, the point gave them the title in their ‘Invincible’ unbeaten season with four games to spare. Later the same year, in November, a nine-goal thriller at White Hart Lane saw a rampant Arsenal scoring five away from home, but inexplicably letting in four. Incredibly, they shared another eight goals in 2008, this time at the Emirates Stadium, in a game that is mostly remembered for David Bentley’s 40-yard volley and a last-minute equaliser from Spurs’ Aaron Lennon.

Emmanuel Adebayor is one of only two players to score for both sides in the North London derby, with Tottenham breaking a 22-year hoodoo of finishing below the Gunners in 2017. In 2021, both sides are having to endure less successful periods than their fan base would like.

Manchester United v Manchester City

Just four miles separates Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium. One of the fiercest derbies in England, Man United v Man City always throws up drama and tension. Whether it’s Carlos Tevez playing for both clubs, Mario Balotelli making headlines, unusually, for the right reasons, last minute winners… it’s a derby that truly has it all. Perhaps before the Premier League era, one of the only true standout moments was when former United stalwart, Denis Law, relegated his former club whilst playing for City in 1974. He didn’t even celebrate his backheel goal which condemned the Old Trafford outfit to the old Second Division.

More recent highlights include Michael Owen’s late-late winner in a 4-3 epic in 2009/10, that sent the home fans at the Theatre of Dreams into ecstasy. Never the most popular figure being a Liverpool legend, Owen paid back his debt that day with a typical poachers effort in injury time. In 2011, Wayne Rooney scored what he himself said was the best goal of his career, an incredible overhead effort to seal another victory.

Robin van Persie and Paul Scholes have both been match winners in enemy territory for United, but perhaps the ultimate payback came in 2011/12 when the teams weren’t even playing each other. United had already won at Sunderland on the final day of the season and were, at that point, champions again. Twenty seconds later, the title had slipped from their grasp as Sergio Aguero’s winner against QPR gave City their first top-flight title in 44 years, and kick-started a new era at the club. Three of the last four titles under Pep Guardiola show that Manchester has, finally, turned from red to blue.

Liverpool v Everton

Often termed the ‘friendly derby,’ some of the games between Liverpool and Everton have been far from that. No quarter is ever asked or given in these matches, whether played at Anfield or Goodison Park. Almost always watchable for their intensity, goals and the atmosphere surrounding a Merseyside derby match day, there are one or two games between the sides in the Premier League era that really stick in the memory.

On April 16, 2001, the pair played out a five-goal thriller at Goodison Park. With the match heading into injury time and the score at 2-2, Gary McAllister lined up a long-range free-kick. With everyone expecting a cross into the box, the Scot had noted a small gap to aim at to the keeper’s right. Surprising everyone, he found the net and earned all three points for Gerard Houllier’s side.

A 3-3 draw, again at Goodison in November 2013, was another epic goal-fest, Reds substitute, Daniel Sturridge coming up with the goods late on to grab a point for the away side. The most recent Everton win, a 2-0 victory at Anfield in February 2021, was their first in 25 Merseyside derbies, stretching back 11 years to October 2010.

Arsenal v Manchester United

Pizzagate, the Battle of Old Trafford, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira on and off the pitch… when these two giants collide, there are always fireworks. They’ve been playing each other since the early part of the last century, but things only really ramped up when Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson were at the helm of both sides. The intensity in the matches during the late 1990s and early 2000s in particular was something to behold. Arsenal’s ‘Invincible’ run of 49 games unbeaten ended at Old Trafford in one of the fiercest battles between the two sides ever seen, and the action continued in the tunnel afterwards with Sir Alex Ferguson hit by a pizza thrown at him by Cesc Fabregas, even if the Spaniard didn’t admit it until years later. There are plenty of other examples around the same time frame.

In 2003, Ruud van Nistelrooy was at the centre of the action after an over-reaction managed to get Vieira sent off in controversial circumstances. His last-minute penalty miss was a pre-cursor to the infamous images of Martin Keown bringing his arm down on the back of the Dutchman’s head as most of the Arsenal centre-back’s colleagues also piled in on van Nistelrooy, sparking a huge melee at the final whistle. February 2005 at Highbury saw the infamous Roy Keane tunnel rant at Vieira on another occasion when these games were a must watch. Arsenal fans probably won’t want to be reminded of their 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford in 2011, their heaviest defeat in 84 years against any club.

Manchester United v Liverpool

Arguably the biggest rivalry in English football, played since 1894 but only really having any kind of significance once Liverpool’s first period of dominance began in the 1960s. United had Matt Busby at the helm until 1968, and it was thereafter and until Sir Alex Ferguson’s era of dominance began that Liverpool were the team to beat in England. Since the advent of the Premier League, there is simply no question as to who have been the top dogs, even if the fixture was peppered with the odd reverse in Liverpool’s favour.

Think Steven Gerrard running to kiss the camera at Old Trafford, Andrea Dossena’s looping finish in front of the Stretford End, Fernando Torres out running Nemanja Vidic etc. The most recent fixture, when Liverpool were rampant and ran out 5-0 winners at the home of their rivals, thanks in part to a Mo Salah hat-trick, will live long in the memory. United just edge the head to head record with 43 wins to Liverpool’s 41, with Paul Ince and Michael Owen the only two players to have played for both clubs in the Premier League era – something that fans of both teams will never let them forget.

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