The football rivalry between Arsenal and Chelsea is an intercity one, as both clubs are located in London. Chelsea’s home pitch is Stamford Bridge, while Arsenal’s is Emirates Stadium. This is more of a fan-based rivalry than a team induced one. The competitive nature of the fixtures involving the Gunners and the Blues became more intense in the 1930s even though the teams had been meeting for more than 25 years.
The first league fixture involving the two clubs occurred on 9 November 1907 at Stamford Bridge. The home team, Chelsea, beat Arsenal 2-1. The teams have met a total of 187 times. Since 2000, with the rise of Chelsea in the Premier League, the rivalry has taken on more importance.
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Statistics and Records
In matches, Arsenal leads Chelsea 72 to 61 victories. There have been 54 draws. The clubs have met in league play 158 times with Arsenal winning 61, Chelsea 50, and there being 47 ties.
The Gunners have earned the most titles and honor with two international and 40 domestic crowns. Chelsea has a total of 26 such titles. Five of those honors are international and 21 domestic. Internationally, Chelsea has won the UEFA Champions League once, while Arsenal has never garnered that honor. Chelsea also has two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups and the Gunners have one.
In England, Arsenal has won the Premier League title 13 times, while the Blues have captured it five. The FA Cup has gone to the Gunners a dozen times and to Chelsea 7. Also the Blues have taken the Football League Cup five times and the FA Community Shield four. The Gunners possess two Football League Cups and 13 Community Shields.
Over the years, a total of 26 players have either played and/or managed for both teams. Only John Hollins has done the player treble, starting with Chelsea from 1963–1975, then going to Arsenal from 1979–1983 and then back to Chelsea from 1983–1984. He also served Chelsea as manager from 1985–1988.
Important Games, Players and Managers
Arsenal and Chelsea have two of the most colorful and savvy football managers to be found. The legendary Arsène Wenger, a former midfielder, has been managing the Gunners since 1996. His record stands at 613-249-204.
Often this rivalry is about streaks, missed opportunities, and finding a way to simply turn things around. As an example, on 27 December 2010, Chelsea played Arsenal at the Emirates. At that point, the Blues had beaten the Gunners five times straight, and they had done so soundly. The goal differential was 13–2. This time Arsenal managed to work their way through their rival’s defense and score three times. Final score was 3-1.
Arsenal managed another win on 29 October 2011 in a derby played at Stamford Bridge. It was an exciting match, as Robin Van Persie scored a hat trick and André Santos and Theo Walcott each scored one goal for the Gunners. There was plenty of scoring for the Blues, as Frank Lampard, John Terry, and Juan Mat netted goals. But Chelsea fell short this time losing 5-3.
Mourinho return meant a downward trend for Arsenal in their fixtures with Chelsea. On 22 March 2014, Mourinho ruined Wenger’s 1000th game by having his squad destroy the Gunners 6-0. It was the most goals and the biggest margin of victory for the Blues in playing Arsenal. It also marked Wenger’s worst defeat as a manager for the Gunners.
On 5 October 2014, Chelsea beat Arsenal again, 2-0, and in their next meeting at Emirates Stadium the two teams fought to a nil-all draw. That outcome derailed Arsenals’ eight game Premier League winning streak.
Most Hated Fans?
You get a good sense of a rivalry from fan feelings. A 2009 survey by Football Fans Census found that the club that Arsenal fans dislike the most is Chelsea. That dislike it beyond what they feel for their longtime, traditional rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Chelsea fans noted that Arsenal was their second most disliked football club. Liverpool was number one on Chelsea fan’s list.
The Arsenal and Chelsea football rivalry is a major intercity competition powered, at this point, by two magnificent and driven coaches, quality players, and loyal fans. It’s a rivalry that offers a lot of excitement and fantastic play.