Top Five Most Iconic Rivalries in The Premier League

LONDON, UK - May 2021: Premier league football logo on a smartphone screen.

Rivalry is an integral part of sports, especially football. It fuels passion among fans, drives players to perform their best, and adds an extra layer of excitement, intensity, and competitiveness to the sport.

The English Premier League has a reputation for being one of the most competitive football leagues in the world. This intense competition has birthed some of the iconic football rivalries, not only in the league but also in the footballing world. These contests are usually packed with passion and action, providing top-notch entertainment for fans. They are known for drama and aggression and often involve intense moments between players, managers, and even fans.

That said, this article covers the top five most iconic rivalries in the English Premier League. Let’s dive in!

Liverpool vs. Manchester United (Northwest Derby)

While the intensity may have softened over time, Liverpool vs Manchester United is still the biggest rivalry in the Premier League. The two teams are the most successful and historic in the premier league, each dominating the league in different eras. 

Specifically, Liverpool dominated the league for 20 years during the 1970s and 1980s, winning 11 of their total 19 EPL titles. On the other hand, United, propelled by Ferguson’s leadership, seized control in the 1990s, 2000s, and early 2010s to win 13 of their total 20 Premier League titles. 

Despite one team being dominant at a particular time, both clubs consistently challenged each other, creating memorable clashes on the pitch. And both fans and bettors are always at the edge of their seats during encounters between two sides. Speaking of betting, you can click here to wager on your favorite sports events and games.

Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur (North London Derby)

There’s every case to be made that the North London Derby is the most entertaining rivalry, especially in recent years. The reason is that, compared to most other rivals, they’ve been closer in quality in recent years. Even though both teams haven’t won the league in a very long time, the intensity of their encounter hasn’t dimmed a bit when they go head-to-head.

Historically, Tottenham used to be the better side of the two teams. However, the arrival of Arsene Wenger in 1996 turned things around for Arsenal. Under Wenger, Arsenal went on to win three EPL titles, including their Golden Premier League trophy in the 2003/04 season. Overall, Arsenal has been the most successful of the two sides, with 48 trophies, compared to Tottenham’s 24. 

Matches between these two teams are always highly charged, with both sets of fans desperate for bragging rights. The rivalry has produced some memorable moments, including dramatic comebacks, last-minute winners, and controversial incidents.

Liverpool vs Everton (Merseyside Derby)

Liverpool’s home stadium, Anfield, is literally less than a mile from Everton’s Goodison Park. As a result of the proximity, a large number of families in Merseyside have both Everton and Liverpool supporters. It is why the encounter between the two sides was dubbed the “friendly derby” in the 1980s.

However, in contrast to that moniker, there’s nothing friendly between these two sides. A Liverpool-Everton match-up is always characterized by passionate and intense gameplay. In fact, the rivalry has seen more red cards given (23) than any other game in the history of the Premier League.

Everton was initially the most successful of the two sides. However, the tide turned in Liverpool’s favor when Bill Shankly took up the Manager role at the club in the 1960s. Today, the two teams are quite different in quality, with Liverpool being the superior side. However, it becomes hardly noticeable when they meet, as Everton consistently puts up a formidable challenge against their superior rivals.

Manchester United vs Arsenal

Although it is not a derby, Manchester United vs Arsenal is one of the top EPL rivalries. The rivalry became noticed around the 1990s and early 2000s when both teams frequently locked horns for the EPL and FA Cup titles. One of the main factors that further deepened it was the clash between the managers of both teams at that time. For years, legendary manager Arsene Wenger and the great Sir Alex Ferguson went at it, on and off the pitch. 

However, beyond just press conference digs and touchline dramas, the rivalry between these legends was more of a tussle for footballing dominance. Specifically, Sir Alex’s United side dominated the league in the 1990s. However, the arrival of Le Professeur, Monsieur Wenger at Arsenal in 1996 challenged Fergie’s dominance. For seven years, from 1998 to 2004, the two sides competed voraciously for the title, Arsenal winning three and United four. In the words of Gary Neville, It was blood, thunder, quality, and everything you would want in a rivalry.

Liverpool vs. Manchester City

Although the Liverpool-City rivalry is modern, it will be remembered for many years. This rivalry is rooted in the fierce competition and quest of Klopp‘s Liverpool for premier league glory amidst Pep’s unbridled ambition for continued dominance. 

If you judge from the number of titles won by each team within the supposed period of intense power tussle, you won’t get the real picture. This is because City has been quite dominant, winning five of the last six titles. However, this is not to say that Liverpool have also not been outstandingly brilliant.

In the 2021/22 season, Klopp’s Liverpool side amassed an impressive 92 points yet fell just short of overtaking City, who edged ahead by a single point. In the 2018/19 season, they also accrued an outstanding 97 points, losing only one match, yet still finished behind City, who secured 98 points. When they finally won in the 2019/20 season, they had to amass a near-club record point of 99 because the maniacal victory-addicted Pep-led City would just not lose.

Conclusion

The Premier League is home to some of the most iconic rivalries in football, with clubs competing not just for points but also for pride and bragging rights. From the age-long derbies to recent quests for EPL glory, these iconic rivalries have delivered several unforgettable moments in football. As fans, we can’t wait to witness more intense clashes, memorable performances, passion, and drama in the coming seasons.