4 greatest club rivalries in the Premier League in the last 20 years
The English Premier League is one of the best and most competitive football leagues in the world. It attracts the finest footballers from all over the globe, and also happen to be the most lucrative league financially. Spain’s LaLiga also has big clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, but the Premier League is better in terms of overall competition.
Five different clubs have won the Premier League in the last 20 years and two others have come very close to doing so on a few occasions. Even a smaller club like Leicester City won the Premier League in the 2015-16 season.
Quite understandably, there have been some great rivalries among the Premier League clubs in the last 20 years. Let's have a look at these rivalries.
#4 Manchester United vs Arsenal
United dominated the Premier League under the peerless Sir Alex Ferguson in the early and mid-1990s. They won the league six times during that decade and virtually had a monopoly in English football. However, Arsene Wenger’s appointment as the Arsenal manager in 1996 turned the tide somewhat, and Arsenal became United’s arch-rival in the early to mid-2000s.
Arsenal and United shared the league title among themselves in 7 years from 1998 to 2004. They managed to win the title thrice during that period and challenged United’s dominance to a great extent.
Both the teams had some world-class players in their respective squads. United had the likes of Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, whereas Arsenal boasted of the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Ashley Cole, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg.
The infamous tunnel fight between Keane and Vieira and Martin Keown’s shouting at Ruud Van Nistelrooy, after the latter had missed a penalty, were only some of the components of the United-Arsenal rivalry, which captured the imagination of football lovers worldwide. The Gunners broke the Red Devils' hegemony by winning the league title in 1997-98.
However, United won four successive Premier League titles from 1998-99 to 2002-03 and seemed to have decisively won the battle, but the Londoners came back strongly in 2003-04 to win the title without losing a single match.
But, Arsenal’s decline started in the late 2000s, and their rivalry with United lost its sheen as a result. Ironically, those teams never met in the UEFA Champions League and their rivalry remained within domestic competitions only.