The derivation of the term ‘derby’ in the context of a sporting fixture is unclear but when teams from the same city or area meet the match is called a derby. There are three such meetings on Sunday which bring together teams from the same location. Every city around the world would like to think it stages the biggest derby and clubs from London and Liverpool will be clashing this weekend. It could be these encounters are named after the Derby horse race but the word is commonly used when local rivals meet. Home advantage could be key in the three live derby matches.
In terms of hostility the west London derby between Chelsea and Fulham is a relatively tame affair. Both clubs have a loyal following but when the grounds are in one of the most fashionable boroughs of the capital the intensity can be lacking. Chelsea have just suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season and Fulham won the first fixture with Claudio Ranieri in charge. However, one swallow does not make a summer and the teams are at the opposite end of the table for a reason. Season long form suggests Chelsea can win this derby by at least one goal.
The passion level should go up a notch for the second local meeting. Arsenal and Tottenham play in the north of the capital and there is no love lost between the clubs. Pat Jennings and Sol Campbell have never been forgiven for changing their allegiances. It’s so rare for players to represent both clubs that they have not been forgotten. Arsenal fans don’t know whether to love or hate George Graham. He managed the club during their successful spell in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and then managed Tottenham some years later.
Arsenal are unbeaten in all competitions since losing their first two matches in the Premier League. Despite making no significant signings in the summer Tottenham are still in touch at the top of the Premier League. They were much too good for Chelsea at Wembley last weekend but their local rivals could be a tougher nut to crack. Whatever the outcome of this fixture its worth bearing in mind that Arsenal have not led at half-time in all their 13 leagues matches to date this season. That suggests there will be more goals in the second half than the first in the second derby of the day.
The atmosphere and feelings will increase again for the Merseyside derby at Anfield. Going back some time David Johnson scored goals for Everton and Liverpool in the 1970’s and more recently Steve McMahon and Peter Beardsley played for both clubs. Liverpool keep winning without impressing and they have had a relatively easy run of fixtures. Everton are getting their act together under Marco Silva but have not won at Anfield since 1999 and not won this derby for more than eight years. Liverpool can complete the treble of home wins in these three local derbies.
Cardiff host a struggling Wolves in the live Friday night fixture and Manchester United visit Southampton for a Saturday tea-time televised match. Both sets of away fans face some travelling south but on Sunday visiting fans only have to go up the road but the home supporters should have the bragging rights on Monday morning.