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MOTD Top 10: Premier League derbies, past and present

Erik Lamela scores for Spurs, Crystal Palace fans celebrate, Man Utd 0-5 Liverpool scoreboard
Is the north London derby, Palace v Brighton or the North West rivalry your favourite?

Derby day, there’s nothing quite like it.

Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Micah Richards will return in the spring with their latest series of the BBC Sounds hit, ranking their top 10s from an assortment of topics across the Premier League era.

One of those subjects will be derbies and we’re giving you an early chance to get involved, by letting you pick your top three, with the trio seeing your choices before they record the pod.

“These games will always matter more to supporters than other games do but it is amazing how much the occasion affects players too, and how quickly you get sucked into the rivalry even if you haven’t grown up with it. You feel the same way the fans do,” said host Lineker.

“Between us, we featured in quite a few.

“Alan has played in several Tyne-Wear derbies and Micah plenty of Manchester ones. When he was at Aston Villa, he had a taste of the Birmingham, or Second City derby, in a League Cup tie too.

“I played in the north London and Merseyside derbies and El Clasico.”

1. Tyne-Wear derby

Newcastle v Sunderland is always a huge event in the North East.

Sunderland are unbeaten in the past nine meetings, all in the Premier League, but the last one was in 2016 because of the Black Cats’ slide down to the third tier.

“Here if you make a good tackle you’re applauded almost as if you’ve scored a goal. It’s almost like playing a game on the street,” said ex-Sunderland and Inter Milan midfielder Yann M’Vila, who reckoned the fixture had a better atmosphere than the Milan derby.

An indication of how big the rivalry remains is that 16,654 went to the Stadium of Light to see Sunderland beat Newcastle’s under-21 side in the EFL Trophy in 2019.

2. North London derby

Ex-Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin says the first thing players are told when they join the Gunners is “just hate Tottenham”.

It is a fixture that goes back to the 1800s and became a true local derby in 1913 when Arsenal moved to north London.

Harry Kane is the top scorer in Premier League meetings with 11, ahead of Emmanuel Adebayor – who played for both sides – on 10.

Arsenal fans used to celebrate St Totteringham’s Day, the day they were guaranteed to finish above Spurs in the table, but the last time that happened was 2016.

3. East Midlands derby

There are several East Midlands derbies, but the one the podcast will be focusing on is Nottingham Forest v Leicester City.

The sides meet in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday, 6 February (16:00 GMT) in a game that will be shown live on BBC One.

“When I played for Leicester we used to have three derbies, against Coventry, Nottingham Forest and Derby County,” said Foxes fan Lineker.

“In a couple of weeks we will get to taste that again when Leicester play Forest in the FA Cup, the first time we have met them for eight years.

“It is nice to play against these lower league clubs occasionally and the BBC are covering it so I am really looking forward to going to the City Ground. It should be a cracking tie – as long as Leicester win.”

Nottingham Forest v Derby is perhaps the best known East Midlands derby, with the legendary Brian Clough having managed both sides to unprecedented success.

4. Chelsea-Spurs derby

It is not the main derby for Spurs – but Chelsea v Spurs always carries a bit of an edge.

Their most famous meeting in recent years was in 2016, a game dubbed the Battle of the Bridge – the game that ended Spurs’ title hopes and gave Leicester the title.

Spurs, who let a 2-0 lead slip to draw 2-2, had nine players booked – a Premier League record. There were a few melees, with Mousa Dembele later banned for six games for eye-gouging Diego Costa.

5. North West derby

Man Utd v Liverpool: Why the rivalry runs deep

The two most successful English sides, separated by only 32 miles, Manchester United v Liverpool was always destined to be a big rivalry.

Both sides have rivals from the same city in the Premier League, but for many – and not just fans of either team – this is the big one.

Liverpool are unbeaten in seven Premier League meetings going back almost four years.

6. Chelsea-Fulham derby

One of the closest rivalries on this list, Chelsea and Fulham’s stadiums are only two miles apart, walkable in about half an hour.

It is a fairly one-sided rivalry though, with Fulham having beaten Chelsea once since the 1970s.

7. Manchester derby

For years it was Manchester United winning everything in sight and City looking on enviously just hoping for any trophy.

Now it is the opposite.

Legendary United boss Sir Alex Ferguson once called their rivals “noisy neighbours” but City have won eight trophies since United’s last success in 2017.

8. West Midlands derby

Aston Villa v Birmingham, aka the West Midlands derby or the Second City derby.

It is a fixture that goes all the way back to 1879 between the two clubs from the opposite sides of Birmingham.

The past six derbies, however, have been in the Championship – with Jack Grealish attacked by a Blues fan the last time they met, in 2019.

9. A23 derby

Brighton v Crystal Palace is one of the least likely rivalries in the Premier League, with the teams 45 miles apart.

It dates from when they played each other five times in 1976 and managers Terry Venables (Palace) and Alan Mullery (Brighton) did not get on.

Mullery said he had hot coffee poured on him by Palace fans after a game so threw some change on the floor and shouted: “That’s all you’re worth, Crystal Palace.”

By some accounts, Brighton changed their nickname from Dolphins to Seagulls because it rhymed with Palace’s nickname Eagles.

10. Merseyside derby

Liverpool were formed in 1892 after splitting from Everton and the teams have played each other regularly since.

It has been a one-sided derby in recent times with Everton not winning at Anfield between 1999 and 2021.

Several Liverpool legends, including Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler, grew up as Everton fans.

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