Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Rivalry, History & All-Time Record

min read
Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta, right, takes the ball forward as Arsenal's Francis Coquelin falls to the ground.
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
Laura Paterson @ Oct 21, 2022, 5:20 AM
  • This is a rivalry that only really ramped up in the 2000s.
  • Money and personalities are the main driving forces behind the rivalry.
  • It’s a less vehement rivalry than those found elsewhere in the EPL.

Arsenal and Chelsea are arguably London’s two biggest clubs, although Tottenham is giving them a run for their money. The rivalry between the two is renowned, yet not at the same vehement levels as the North West or North London Derby.

Of course, proximity always plays a  role in the biggest Premier League rivalries, and bragging rights in London are one of the factors that have driven this one. 

Let’s take a look at the history between the two clubs and how the 2000s shaped the unpredictability of the soccer odds when they go head-to-head today.

Arsenal vs. Chelsea Rivalry & History

The rivalry between these two clubs lacks the historical context most other big Premier League rivalries have. This is simply because the two seldom competed for honors early on in the Premier League, with the Gunners undoubtedly the most dominant force in the 1900s.

Yet, there has always been a distaste between the clubs. Still, it wasn’t until the new millennium that the two started to share similar EPL title odds and come up against each other in the latter stages of cup competitions.

The increase in intensity between them (other than location) comes down to two factors: Money and personalities.

Money

The arrival of Roman Abramovich and his fortune in 2003 changed the course of Chelsea’s history completely. With the injection of cash, the club was able to sign players like Didier Drogba, Branislav Ivanovic, Ricardo Carvalho, and many more.

The influx of expensive, world-class players gave Arsenal fans the ammunition to dub their neighbors as nothing more than new money show ponies lacking in history and tradition. 

Although Chelsea fans certainly weren’t too put out over these insults.

Abramovich’s takeover made Chelsea London’s most successful club in the last two decades, and their trophy haul has dwarfed Arsenal’s since then.

Personalities

In 2004, one of soccer’s biggest and most arrogant personalities took the helm at Chelsea: Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager arrived from Porto and was one of the best in the world.

He was also dubbed “The Special One” due to comments he made about himself when he took the job at Chelsea. Mourinho led Chelsea to their first League title in 50 years in 2004, but his arrogance and prickly personality rubbed Arsenal fans up the wrong way

Arsenal’s manager, Arsene Wenger, and Mourinho had a particularly fraught relationship. 

“He’s out of order, disconnected with reality, and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent,” Wegner once told the press.

The continued war of words between the two managers stoked the fires and created a vicious atmosphere between the two clubs that remains to this day.

Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Major Club Titles

*As of October 2022

CompetitionsArsenalChelsea
UEFA Champions League02
UEFA Europa League02
UEFA Winners' Cup12
UEFA Super Cup02
Inter-Cities Fair Cup10
FIFA Club World Cup01
First Division/Premier League136
FA Cup148
League Cup25
FA Community Shield164
Total:4732

Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Head-to-Head Record

*As of October 2022

CompetitionPlayedArsenalDrawChelsea
League170665054
FA Cup211065
EFL Cup8314
UEFA Champions League2011
UEFA Europa League1001
FA Community Shield3111
Total:205805966

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About the Author

Laura Paterson

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Laura is a dedicated in-house writer for The Media Image. An avid sports fan and field hockey player, she gets her fix through writing on a variety of sports for BetMGM.

Laura is a dedicated in-house writer for The Media Image. An avid sports fan and field hockey player, she gets her fix through writing on a variety of sports for BetMGM.