London Derby: Arsenal vs Chelsea Rivalry – History and Events



In a late 2009 survey conducted by the Football Fans Census, Arsenal fans described  Chelsea FC as the  football club they disliked the most.


While Arsenal and Chelsea have not been traditional rivals, of late, the rivalry between these two London teams has only increased with fans upping the ante in the recent years. Ask any Chelsea fan, and chances are you won’t hear him murmuring sweet nothings about Arsenal.

The last clash between the two on 21 Sep ended in a goalless draw, and fans on either side of the fence are waiting for a more decisive contest in the derby on 29th September. While we await that mouth-watering duel at the Emirates Stadium this weekend, let’s take a look at the history of this key London Derby.

History: Arsenal vs Chelsea – London Derby

The very first time the two teams met, on 9 November 1907, at Stamford Bridge, the budding rivalry could already be felt. As many as 65,000 spectators thronged the stadium to see the two London sides fight it out for the first time on the football field. That broke the then attendance  record for any First Division Football League between two London teams.

The 1935 Arsenal – Chelsea Derby broke that record and how! This time the number swelled to 82,905 – more than 75 years later, that is still the 2nd highest ever attendance for any English League match.

In the 1950s, Arsenal enjoyed the edge as the two teams met twice in FA Cup Semi-Finals with the boys from Holloway prevailing on both occasions.

The 60s belonged to Chelsea though. In twenty head to head contests, the Fulham team won as many as 14 times, while losing only twice. The 1964-65 season was a particularly good one for Chelsea as they won they triumphed in the League Cup and only narrow missed out in the League and FA Cup.

Rivalry between the two faded during the later decades of the last century, but that was only the lull before the storm.

The 2002 FA Cup saw the two London giants fighting for the top honors in the final. Arsenal won 2-0.

It was sweet revenge for the men from Chelsea as they prevailed over their sworn enemy when the two teams met in the Football League Cup Final in 2007. 2-1 for Chelsea this time.

Ashley Cole’s transfer in 2006 inflamed the rivalry. Cole had been seen meeting up with Chelsea officials much before the actual transfer took place, raising much suspicion and sneer around Holloway. It was one of the most controversial transfers of the Premier League, that also saw William Galas transferring the other way. Gallas would be appointed the captain next year, but his stay at the top was only marked by friction and would not be long.

Snarling Cup Final:

The 2007 Carling Cup Final was what probably made the Arsenal v Chelsea Derby what it is today. If fans across the two sides hate the other team so much today, much of this hatred had its origin in this controversial final. Firstly, John Terry had to be stretchered off the ground after when Diaby knocked him out while trying to clear an attempted header. A record seven minutes of injury time were added.

During the dying minutes of the game, mayhem broke out in the centre after a scuffle in the middle ballooned into a big fight involving several players from either side. Arsenal captain Kolo Toure and striker Emmanuel Adebayor  and Chelsea mid-fielder Jon Obi Mikel were sent off for violent conduct on the field. Frank Lampard and Cesc Fabregas were shown yellow cards for unsporting behaviour.

When the final whistle was blown, it was the 103rd minute of the match.

Since then, the two teams have met in several close contests. In 2010, Chelsea won five consecutive derbies against Arsenal, though the overall record is still in favour of Arsenal.

Overall Arsenal vs Chelsea Head to Head Record: 

Arsenal (Home) Chelsea (Home) Neutral Venue Overall Record
Total Matches Played 85 83 9 177
Arsenal Won 45 29 3 77
Chelsea Won 21 26 4 51
Draw 22 28 2 52

Next Match:

Arsenal vs Chelsea – Saturday, 29 September 2012

  • Venue: Emirates Stadium (Arsenal), London
  • Note: The kick-off time for the derby has been moved back to 1715 hours instead of the originally schedule time of 1930 hours.
  • Come back here for the match preview, probable starting line-up and highlights of the match.

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