This Saturday sees two of the key players in the title race meet for the lunchtime kick off. Arsenal thrashed Chelsea 3-0 at the Emirates back in September, with Sanchez, Walcott and Ozil netting for the Gunners, but it’s safe to say that the two club’s respective fortunes have changed somewhat since then…
Chelsea finally clicked back in October, and have gone on a breathtaking run which sees them nine points clear at the top of the table. Arsenal, meanwhile, are being Arsenal. Having beaten Southampton 5-0 away from home in the FA Cup last weekend, with practically their reserve side, Wenger’s men conspired to lose at home to Watford, one of the most out of form sides in the division, thereby missing out on the chance to make ground on the Blues. The Gunners will be looking to kick start their season at Stamford Bridge, and close the gap to six points.
Saturday’s game is just one of fifty London derbies taking place in the Premier League this season. As well as Arsenal and Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham and Palace are also competing in the top division. Spurs’ season has been excellent so far, and they sit in second place, above their rivals at the Emirates. West Ham have failed to kick on from an impressive 2015/2016, and find themselves slap bang in the middle of the table. Palace are fairing the worst out of all of the London clubs. Despite swapping Pardew for Big Sam at Christmas, the Eagles currently sit inside the relegation zone.
But who has the best record when it comes to London derbies? Which of the capital clubs has taken the most points off its city rivals. Here we count down, from best to worse, the derby record of every London club since the league’s inception in 1992.
1.) Arsenal: Played 234. Won 124, Drawn 62, Lost 48. Points Per Game: 1.855
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the Gunners have been competing for the title in almost every Premier League season to date, Arsenal have the best record in London derbies, earning just over 1.85 points per match. However, they only pip Saturday’s opponents to first place by 0.04 points! The Gunners have a particularly good record against their arch rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. The 3-0 win back in November 2002 featured that iconic Thierry Henry goal, which is now commemorated with a statue at the Emirates.
2.) Chelsea: Played 234. Won 120, Drawn 65, Lost 49. Points Per Game: 1.816
Had this article only gone as far back as around 2002, Chelsea would have been leading the table easily. After Abramovich took over the West London club, Chelsea became instant title challengers. Once Mourinho was installed as manager, they became instant title winners. However, pre 2003, in the darkest recesses of the Ken Bates era, the Blues never really bothered the upper echelons of the league (though they did win 2 FA Cups and a Cup Winner’s Cup). Back in 1999, the enigma wrapped in a question mark Nwankwo Kanu scored a hatrick as Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-2 at The Bridge.
3.) Spurs: Played 234. Won 80, Drawn 73, Lost 81. Points Per Game: 1.338
Whereas you could barely get a cigarette paper between Arsenal and Chelsea’s records, there’s a quite a drop from them to our third place team, Tottenham Hotspur. Although they are a big player these days, the Lilywhites spent most of the nineties and early noughties in the wilderness, being guided by a string of underwhelming managers, including Christian Gross, George Graham and Jacques Santini. With things looking positive at White Hart Lane, it could well be that Spurs will close the gap on their city rivals over the next decade.
4.): West Ham United. Played 188. Won 63, Drawn 42, Lost 93. Points Per Game: 1.229
The Hammers’ season so far has been a bit hit and miss. Wins against Palace and Middlesbrough have been accompanied by defeats to the likes of Leicester and Everton, and the Irons have struggled to go on any sort of run. This inconsistency is reflected in West Ham’s London derby record. They have lost 93 London derbies, the most of all of the capital’s clubs. But they have won a few key fixtures too, including the 2000 match against Wimbledon, where Paulo di Canio scored what many consider to be the greatest goal of the Premier League era.
5.) Wimbledon FC: Played 80. Won 25, Drew 22, Lost 33. Points Per Game: 1.213
Unlike some of their fellow London sides, the Merton-based – and now defunct – Wimbledon FC were not exactly known for their silky football. The Dons were the epitome of no-nonsense, in-your-face, head-and-kick-everything (and everyone) football, churning out the sort of, let’s say, agricultural fayre that now seems of another era. The side, spearheaded by the ever erratic Joe Kinnear, and featuring some of the fiercest players in the league (Vinnie Jones, anyone?), had a decent record against their London rivals, picking up points in nearly a third of the games they played.
6.) Charlton Athletic: Played 78. Won 23, Drew 17, Lost 28. Points Per Game: 1.103
It might seem odd to think about it now, whilst the Addicks struggle in League One, but Charlton were once a Premier League club who were bothering the upper end of the table. Managed by Alan Curbishley, Charlton were promoted to the Premier League in 1998, following an epic 4-4 draw and shootout in the First Division Playoff Final. The Addicks spent a total of nine seasons in the top division, where they enjoyed 78 London derbies, winning about 1 in 4.
Fun fact: Fan favourite Clive Mendonca fell off the radar after retirement to such an extent that a #FindMendonca campaign began. He was located in Sunderland, where he now works at a Nissan factory.
7.) QPR: Played 70. Won 17, Drew 20, Lost 33. Points Per Game: 1.104
QPR have had two stints in the Premier League. The first was from the inauguration to 1996, when they were managed by Gerry ‘the haircut’ Francis and then Ray Wilkins, and featured players such as Les Ferdinand and Trevor Sinclair. The second spell, between 2011-2013, was post Tony Fernandes buy-out, and involved a succession of inferior managers giving a lot of money to a bunch of uninterested journeymen . As for their record against their London rivals? It’s not particularly good. Of the 70 games they have played, they won just 17.
8.) Fulham FC: Played 120. Won 25, Drew 34, Lost 61. Points Per Game: 0.908
The West London side do not have a particularly good record against their capital rivals. Of 120 derby fixtures, the Cottagers have lost more than half, and won only 20%. The Lilywhites have struggled to get out of the Championship since relegation in 2014. However, in Slaviša Jokanović they have a decent manager, and chairman Shahid Khan is not afraid to put his money in his pocket, so I suspect it shan’t be long before we see Fulham back in the top division.
9.) Crystal Palace: Played 78. Won 17, Drew 19, Lost 42. Points Per Game: 0.897
Drum roll please…
And the award for worst derby record in London goes to… Crystal Palace! The Eagle’s record against its capital cousins is approaching woeful, I’m afraid to say. Despite being managed by such heavyweights as Alan Pardew, Neil Warnock and Attilio Lombardo (I’m still not convinced that actually happened), the Selhurst Park side has only managed wins in a fifth of its matches against London sides. They’ve lost well over half. And with the way this season is going, it could get a lot worse…