English Premier League: Top 10 Derby Matches to Watch This Season

Matthew Celentano@@Gunner_NYCFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2011

English Premier League: Top 10 Derby Matches to Watch This Season

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    There's nothing more exciting than a classic Premier League derby match.

    The shouting of fans, the intense rivalries and the consistent controversies are always memorable moments from the best derbies.

    This season should have some fiery matches between neighbours, and the ones that have already been played have brought tons of excitement.

    Remember, these are derby matches—games between two local teams. That means epic matchups such as Arsenal vs. Manchester United or Chelsea vs. Manchester United won't be included in this list. 

    So here are the top ten derby matches you have to watch this Premier League season.

10. Any of the Lancashire Derbies

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    A Lancashire derby is any match where Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan play each other. Of course, there are other clubs in the Lancashire region that have their feisty derbies as well, but the only Premier League clubs from this area of England are the ones mentioned above.

    These matches should be quite interesting, and not only because of the rivalries. Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan are all potential relegation contenders, so these fixtures could easily be crucial ones in the relegation battle.

    Expect things to get messy.

9. West Midlands Derby

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    Believe me, if Birmingham were still in the Premiership, then their West Midlands derby against Aston Villa would undoubtedly be on this slide—but for now it's just Wolves, West Brom and Aston Villa.

    This one is specifically Wolves vs. West Brom. They had their first Premier League clash last season, and, if I remember correctly, things got pretty violent. Hopefully that passion will be expressed through football this time, as a blood-free match would be preferable.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't watch Aston Villa's clashes with their two West Midlands rivals in the Premier League. There should be some entertaining mid table/relegation battles, so make sure you see all the excitement from these fixtures.

8. West London Derby: Chelsea vs QPR

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    The last time these two sides faced off was in the 2009 Carling Cup—and you can probably tell from the oldish looking picture.

    Considering the venue was Stamford Bridge, the scoreline was remarkably close—just 1-0 in Chelsea's favour.

    QPR will be looking to take away some unlikely points from this match, but I've still got my money on Chelsea.

7. West London Derby: Chelsea vs Fulham

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    Craven Cottage and Stamford Bridge are right around the corner from each other, so when these two sides square off, it's something to watch.

    Sure, it may not be one of the most exciting London derbies, but they've come surprisingly close. The last time Chelsea and Fulham played was recently in the Carling Cup third round, when it went into penalties and eventually the Blues came out on top.

    Fulham may not be viewed as Chelsea's main rivals, but Chelsea sure are Fulham's, and the Cottagers view this derby as one of the most important matches of the season.

6. Tyne-Wear Derby

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    Sunderland and Newcastle are bitter rivals. It's as simple as that. 

    Both from the Tyne-Wear region of England (up north), these two sides have had an intense rivalry for years. Each team views this derby as the most important match of the season, so whenever they face off, pride is on the line.

    They've already met once this season, and it was a close match-up that ended at 1-0 in Newcastle's favour. The win for the Toons was at the Stadium of Light, so in the next Tyne-Wear derby, Sunderland will be looking for revenge at St. James' Park.

5. Merseyside Derby

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    Yes, the Merseyside derby has come early this season, so the pressure is on this Sunday.

    This is a classic English rivalry between two sides that just can't stand each other, and when the two clubs from Liverpool face off, you know that drama will ensue.

    Both clubs have a rich history in the Premier League: Liverpool have the second most titles, while Everton have stayed in the top flight longer than any other club.

    Liverpool tends to get better Premiership finishes these days, but it's virtually impossible to successfully predict the outcome of a Merseyside derby.

4. London Derby

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    Arsenal vs. Chelsea is always a battle of epic proportions.

    Last season, home advantage decided both encounters, with Chelsea winning at Stamford Bridge and Arsenal winning at the Emirates. The Blues' win saw a clever early Drogba goal followed by an absolutely stunning freekick from Alex.

    But Arsenal had revenge in their sights the next time around, picking apart their London rivals with a whopping 3-1 victory.

    This is a match about more than just the three points—it's about which club is the pride of London.

3. North West Derby

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    We all know this match simply as Manchester United vs. Liverpool.

    Technically this is a derby between two North Western clubs—a Lancashire derby, but nobody really thinks of it as that. It's a clash between the two most successful clubs in the history of English football, a side with 18 crowns against a side with 19 crowns.

    This is a derby that every one should be keeping an eye on—things always get heated in these matches.

2. North London Derby

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    The North London derby is as exciting as it gets.

    Last season, both North London derbies saw some intense drama on the pitch, heartbreak for some fans and pure happiness for others.

    The first time they faced off in 2010-11, at the Emirates, was an incredible match. With the score 2-0 in Arsenal's favour at the half, it seemed as if the Gunners had it in the bag—but three second half goals from Tottenham meant that Spurs came back away from home ensuring their first ever win at the Emirates Stadium.

    The second time these two sides squared off, at White Hart Lane, an extremely close 3-3 draw was played out in one of the most fast-paced matches of the season. Ultimately, this game was considered to be one of the best from the 2010-11 season.

    Arsenal and Tottenham face off at White Hart Lane this Sunday, so who knows what will happen.

1. Manchester Derby

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    This is undoubtedly the No. 1 derby you have to watch this season.

    Although this rivalry doesn't have much history—and only became heated last season after City became a title contender—the Manchester derby is an absolute must-watch this season.

    With City and United neck-and-neck at the top of the table, the fans are saying that this match will be the title decider. Both sides have dominated their opening fixtures, scoring a whopping 41 goals between them in just six matches.

    In 2010-11, this fixture produced the goal of the season, so make sure you witness the 2011-12 Manchester derby—no matter what.