The Biggest Cross-City Rivalries In English Football

Passion, intensity, and a rich history – these are the hallmarks of English football’s most heated football rivalries.

From the roaring terraces, coloured pyro and fierce competition, these matches ignite emotions like no other. While these are often friendly games in spirit, the big tackles and bragging rights make Premier League odds so unpredictable on Derby weekends, and with so many influencing the title race, they make for sheer spectacle.

In this article, we take a look at some of the biggest cross-city rivalries in the English game. These matches divide households, pit neighbours, family and friends against each other, and for 90 long minutes, become the most important game in the club’s history.

Read on, as we look at some of these key games on the football calendar.

Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur – North London Derby

For over a century, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have faced off in the North London Derby. Located just a few miles apart, their rivalry is explosive. The battle for supremacy in north London ignites passions, with fans on both sides fiercely loyal.

The rivalry has changed tides once again in recent years. Spurs enjoyed a period of dominance at White Hart Lane under Mauricio Pochettino, but the Argentine’s dismissal, a move to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the arrival of Mikel Arteta, swung the pendulum in the direction of the Gunners again – with Arsenal now challenging for the Premier League title.

Manchester City vs Manchester United – Manchester Derby

The recent FA Cup was the second consecutive year in which England’s oldest football tournament had two teams in a derby competing in the final.

Manchester United had always been the dominant side in this rivalry, with City being minnows in the second division for most of the 20th century. However, their financial takeover in 2008 by the Etihad Group granted a financial war chest to the Sky Blues, who have now won eight Premier League titles in the last 15 years. That’s not to mean it has all been one-sided though, with United getting the better of their noisy neighbours at Wembley to lift this year’s FA Cup.

Liverpool vs Everton – Merseyside Derby

Liverpool and Everton share a city, but their rivalry runs deep. The Merseyside Derby is a clash of blue and red, with Anfield and Goodison Park as the battlegrounds, and Stanley Park, the area that separates the two grounds, is less than a mile apart. The bragging rights are fiercely contested, and the history between the two clubs is rich. From Dixie Dean to Steven Gerrard, this fixture has produced iconic moments, and will be interesting to follow when Everton move to the Bramley Moore Dock Stadium next year.

Sheffield United vs Sheffield Wednesday –Steel City Derby

Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday – two historic clubs from the same city and from the same industry in Yorkshire – lock horns in the Steel City Derby. Steeped in tradition, this rivalry spans over three centuries. The Blades and the Owls battle for supremacy, albeit United’s Premier League runs and Wednesday’s struggles in League One over recent years have meant we haven’t seen a derby since a goalless draw in March 2019.